I have received a number of questions concerning this month's Eclipses. They have prompted me to write an article answering some key questions about analyzing an Eclipse from the perspective of the Natal Chart.
What Is an Eclipse?
There are two kinds of Eclipses, the Solar and the Lunar. The Solar Eclipse is when the Moon appears to blot out the Sun. At this time the Sun and Moon are conjunct as in a New Moon. The Lunar Eclipse occurs when it seems as though the Moon is blotted out - this time by the Earth - and this is similar to a Full Moon in that the Sun and Moon are opposite each other. I will not go into the technicalities of why a Full Moon and New Moon are not always an Eclipse. Suffice now to say that the dates and times of the Lunar and Solar Eclipse can be found in the Ephemeris and is usually noted in GMT time. Therefore, when making a chart for the Eclipse, the method used is to note the date and time for GMT but use your own current location and a 0 time Zone.
What is theDifference between a Solar and Lunar Eclipse?
The difference between a Lunar and Solar Eclipse as far as delineation is concerned appears to be that a Lunar Eclipse is much more subliminal and subtle in nature, while the Solar Eclipse is more overt and seems to have more obvious results.
Does an Eclipse Affect the whole Earth?
While most of the globe is subject to the effects of an Eclipse, it is likely that the area which is within the path of the umbra (or shadow) are the geographic locations where the Eclipse will be most strongly felt.
How Long Do the Eclipse Effects Last?
Different astrologers hold differing opinions about this, and the ancients had several rules for determining the effective period, such as when Mars or Saturn hit the Eclipse point, or for a period of time in years equaling the duration of the Eclipse in minutes. However, I have not found them to be useful or particularly reliable. What seems to be a more useful rule of thumb is to assume that the effect of an Eclipse will last until the next Eclipse (Solar to Solar, Lunar to Lunar). But this, like all theories can be tested with your own research, and I must admit that occasionally I have come across a chart which appears to have a sensitive point that I did not understand, only to discover that this was an earlier Eclipse point. This however has only occurred in my limited experience when dealing with mundane charts.
What Are the Saros Cycles?
Records of Eclipses have been kept since about 700 BC ,and so later astrologers were able to perceive that they appeared to be cyclic in nature. The Chaldeans named the cycles Saros (meaning repetition) and were able to predict Eclipses far into the future. It was also discovered that an Eclipse returns to the same place in the heavens after every 223 lunations. Thus the length of the Saros cycle was determined to be a little more than 18 years with the first Eclipse in the Series starting as a tiny Solar Eclipse at either the North or South pole, and moving further from the pole as the Series progresses. Astronomers have identified thirty-eight Solar Eclipse Series and thirty-eight Lunar Eclipse Series.
Why Should I Care About the Saros Cycles?
In a nutshell - it is because each succeeding Eclipse in a particular Saros Series takes on the nature of the SIGN in which the first Eclipse in the Series took place. So, if the first Eclipse in a Series was in the sign of Libra, then all others in that Series would be of a Libran nature. You can find the complete Saros Series dates in a number of books such as "The Eagle and The Lark" by Bernadette Brady. and its worth paying attention to which Series the Eclipse under discussion was from.
So What Else Do I Need To Know?
Because the HOUSE polarity in which the Lunar and Solar Eclipse falls in your chart is so important, it is wise to have a basic understanding of three things: Hemispheres, Positive/Negative Houses, Polarity Issues and to factor these into your delineation of an Eclipse.
You probably remember from your astrological kindergarten reading about Hemispheres and what they symbolize, but to refresh your memory I will outline the generalities. Houses which are BELOW the Horizon (Houses 1-6) symbolize those areas of our life which are closely held, subjective and personal. These are the talents which we are developing and have to offer to the world. Houses which are ABOVE the Horizon (Houses 7-12) are concerned with what you have to offer the world in your interpersonal relationships. The emphasis is on the more public self.
2. Positive/Negative Houses
You may have learned to call these Masculine or Feminine rather than Positive or Negative. Whatever we name them, what is meant is that the Positive or Masculine Houses are those in which we more aggressively seek out the symbolism of the House, while the Feminine or Negative Houses are those which are more receptive in nature..we allow things to occur there. The Positive and Negative Houses alternate beginning with the 1st House which is Positive, moving to the 2nd which is Negative and so on.
3. Polarity Issues
It is to be hoped that you understand the "complementary principle" wherein opposing Houses are linked in their Opposition by what I call the see-saw factor. See-saws are useless unless one side goes up and one side goes down. The two opposing Houses and the Signs on their cusps are basically dealing with the same life issue from different perspectives - Yin-Yang. No House or Sign or Planet exists by itself, each has a polar opposite. For example the pleasures of Venus cannot be completely understood without the pain of Mars while the 1st House has to do with My self and the 7th with Our selves.
All three issues that we have just discussed will help us to understand that our charts can help us reveal the search for what we want in life, what we are willing to pay for it, and whether we are willing to take any risks to get it.
OK - But What Does All This Have To Do With Eclipses?
The position of the Eclipse in your chart by HOUSE will indicate an area of life which is about to be highlighted. Issues surrounding the House and any planets involved will certainly come to the forefront as crisis situations. Now not all crises are bad. All the word crisis means is that the issues will be emphasized and you will need to spend some time working on them. Here are some very brief suggestions, but don't forget that the House symbolisms contain very much more than I am outlining here.
If the House polarity involved is the 1st/7th you will be dealing with issues concerning your personal identity and your relationships with other people. You need to maintain your own identity yet give up enough to engage in a relationship.. so the needs for both will be to recognize that the other also needs to maintain personal integrity.
2nd/8th will be dealing with issues having to do with personal possessions and sharing of resources or personal space such as in sex.
3rd/9th This polarity has to do with ideas and what we know, how we communicate them, and how we use them to gain greater personal freedom and knowledge in order to expand.
4th/10th With this polarity you will be dealing with issues concerning your personal security needs and what you have learned in order to use them outside in the greater world to advance yourself or gain a reputation.
5th/11th This polarity deals with issues such as the love which is given and the love which is received. What will bring happiness and pride and romance? What risks do we need to take in order to further our goals in life?
6th/12th This polarity is not an easy one to determine. This may deal with our everyday busy lives and what we need to regenerate and get back to basics. It may also have to do with materiality vs spirituality.
What Else Do I Need to Know?
1. Having determined which House polarity the Eclipse is located in, you need to see whether it comes within orb (+/- 5 degrees) of a conjunction or opposition of a Natal Planet. If it does, then the Eclipse effects are likely to be of much more significance than if there were no Planets involved, and the nature of the Planet itself will be very telling indeed. This past February my husband had the Eclipse conjoin his second house Saturn which also ruled that House. Even though the nature of the Eclipse was generally said to be favorable according to the Saros Series, Saturn is Saturn, and so we experienced serious financial difficulties., in particular, a a large check which we had been expecting (2nd House), was seriously delayed (Saturn).
2. When you run a chart for the Eclipse at your location, you will be able to determine two things. The first will be the House polarity which it is in locally. This will be an indicator of the type of news which you are likely to be seeing in your neighborhood.
The second thing is that you will be able to take note of whether there is a Planet or Fixed Star within orb of the Eclipse. Both are important. If a Planet is conjunct the Eclipse (within 5 degrees) it is called the Eclipse Ruler and like a Chart Ruler it will add its symbolism to the mix. A Fixed Star conjoining the Eclipse will likewise affect the nature of the Eclipse as will any Fixed Star which is Rising in the chart.
So now its time to practice. Check out your chart and the charts of loved ones and friends and take a look at the February 16th Eclipse at 27 Aquarius 08. The next biggie will be the Solar Eclipse of August 11th 1999 which willl be at 18 Leo 21. This one is likely to be very difficult because it contains a Fixed Grand Cross of Saturn/Mars/Uranus and the Sun-Moon conjunction.
Note that this Eclipse located for Cuba will place the Grand Cross precisely on the angles, and the Eclipse conjoins Fidel Castro's Sun. It remains to be seen but I doubt that Castro will survive this.