Tuesday Toolbox

Eclipse Season

Eclipse season is with us again:

13/7/18 New Moon 20 Cancer 41′ Eclipse

28/7/18 Full Moon 4 Aquarius 45′ Eclipse

11/8/18 New Moon 18 Leo 42′ Eclipse

Note, these dates are for Australia – if you’re in the northern hemisphere it could be the day before, so keep an eye on the blog for times – if you’re into time, that is.

Solar eclipses occur at a New Moon. During a solar eclipse, the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth, blocking out the Sun for just a few short, dramatic moments. During a solar eclipse, you may feel like something is about to happen…and maybe it will.

Lunar eclipses occur at a Full Moon. The Moon passes behind the Earth and into its shadow. During a lunar eclipse, it could feel as though there’s something- an awareness maybe – taking place inside you that could be portentous.

The thing with eclipses is that often that the things that happen to, around or within you could have the ability to change the course of your life – although you may not recognise it as such at the time.

Regular readers will know that I tend to be a tad ambivalent around eclipses.

When I was first learning astrology, I saw eclipses as these mysterious and explosive events that could blow my personal universe off its self-important axis. That was until the first time I had a direct hit – well, close to it… that I was aware of, anyway.

It was March 2007 and the solar eclipse was at 28 Pisces – just 1 degree from my Moon. What happened? Nothing, not really.

Later that year the lunar eclipse fell just 1 degree shy of my Mercury, and another solar eclipse missed my descendant by, yes, you guessed it, 1 degree.

Since then, I’ve had eclipses very closely aspect key planets and chart points- mainly MC, ASC and DC – yet…nothing.

Looking back, plenty happened – plenty was happening – I just didn’t know it at the time. These were years when important issues were faced or changes occurred. Hindsight is a truly wonderful thing.

The thing is, eclipses are not necessarily something to be scared of. They can be invigorating, they can be momentous, they can be electrifying and unpredictable – a little like Uranus in nature, a little like Pluto in nature.

How do you interpret an eclipse?

In short, the eclipse takes on the theme of the planet being aspected and creates a crisis of sorts – and when I say crisis, please don’t think about this literally. Think about keywords associated with those planets to determine the nature of the “crisis”.

For example, eclipses in aspect to Venus will have something to do with relationship and values or your relationship to what you value or even how you are valued in the relationship. Eclipses in aspect to the Moon will be about your defences and emotional security – the whole breakdown and breakthrough theory. You know the thing – your walls come down in some way so that you can get closer to another. When the eclipse aspects Jupiter, the theme is one of faith and growth – where you need to grow and need to dream and need to take risks in order to do so. Likewise, any eclipse aspecting the Sun will raise issues of ego and self-expression.

The houses receiving the eclipse will give you an understanding of the area of life being affected, and the type of aspect can give an indication of the speed of “ease” with which the impact occurs – and when I say “ease”, I don’t mean “nice”, I mean, instead, speed or relative speed.

It’s also good to remember that eclipses are often not about immediate action, but something that does spark within a period of time after the eclipse occurs.

Finally, the more total the eclipse, the stronger the effects.

What could happen?

What will happen? Good news or bad? Not so easy to predict – in fact damn near impossible. Eclipses are wild cards, the jokers in the pack, and most astrologers have eclipse war stories. As Bernadette Brady writes in The Eagle and the Lark, “armed with (this) information, astrologers then delineate the effect of the eclipse as some type of random, possibly, but not necessarily stressful, event occurring in a particular area of the client’s life.”

Sometimes the stress seems like extraordinary busyness, sometimes chaos comes out of the blue, sometimes it’s good news from nowhere, and sometimes it seems like a whole lot of not much at all.

Sometimes the effects are subtle – sometimes they’re explosive. The eclipse that occurred a couple of days before my birthday in 2016 fell on my ASC, next to my Sun and opposite Pluto. I spent my birthday in bed with a massive dose of salmonella – talk about a Pluto purge. Plenty of other stuff happened – like really happened – and continued to happen. In one short month, every single previously stable structure in my life was rattled. Every. Single. One. Health, relationships, work, home, faith, friends, money.  It was a CRISIS in capital letters. I won’t bore you with the details, but in hindsight, it was all quite textbook in the way the transits built, were sparked, and continued to unfold. There were some big transits behind this including Pluto, Uranus and Saturn that were triggered into action. It really was the perfect storm, and because of that perfect storm, opportunities opened up that previously weren’t there. It was the events that began at that set of eclipses that resulted in us selling up and moving 1000kms north to the Sunshine Coast of Queensland.

2016 was a seriously crappy year, but because of that for the first time in I have no idea how long, I can say that I feel that we’re where we need to be. If the crises that occurred didn’t occur, we wouldn’t be here now – and that would be a tragedy.

Eclipses are Plutonian in nature – the structures that collapse are those where the foundations are no longer strong or have decayed, or where space needs to be made for you to grow and expand. Following the breakdown comes the breakthrough and the rebuild.

Knowing this and understanding it does not, however, make light of or dismiss any pain that accompanies the events. It truly is only in hindsight that the meaning becomes clear – and even then, sometimes, even when there is growth there may be no meaning.

Saros Series

Eclipses run in cycles or family groups, called Saros Cycles. Each Saros Cycle has a beginning, an end and a middle- and can last for over a thousand years. Each cycle will repeat every 18 or so years- as will the themes associated with that cycle.

The series of eclipses (Saros Series 18South- SS18 South) that so knocked me around in March is associated with endings and partings. Indeed, each of the active years in this cycle of eclipses has been associated with partings for me – although the angst and pain of that separation have, as Bernadette Brady writes in The Eagle and the Lark been tempered by exciting new opportunities opening up. And open up they have – and will, I assume, continue to do so. At each eclipse, I’ll let you know what Saros Series is being triggered.

Now, some of these read in a frightening way. The key is to look at the part of the chart being triggered and apply the words to that part of your life. As an example, SS 2 New North talks about a breakdown in structures. If the eclipse is happening in the 11th, perhaps it’s a friendship that has run its course, a friend moving away, the collapse of a network.

Don’t forget, the effects of eclipses can be subtle as well as overt – sometimes you don’t even notice the collapse of whatever has gone – like when you walk past a vacant lot and can’t picture what used to be there. Please bear that in mind when interpreting what a particular eclipse could mean for you.

Saros Series for 2018 eclipses

With credit to The Eagle and the Lark

13/7/18 20 Cancer 41′

28/7/18 Full Moon 4 Aquarius 45′

SS 2 Old North

“This is a difficult eclipse family, as its members bring unfortunate news concerning friendships or relationships. You will be dealing with ideas of separation or the ending of a union. However, although the picture may look glum as the eclipse takes effect, the actual results are quite positive. You will quickly grasp what has to be done and fast action can bring good results. The theme of this eclipse is action concerning personal relationships.”

Last cycle of this series: July 2000

11/8/18 New Moon 18 Leo 42′

SS 2 New North

“If this family of eclipses affects a chart, the person will experience the sudden collapse of plans or lifestyles. Confusion may reign but the long-term effects are those of rebuilding and transformation. After the dust has settled, the rebuilding starts and the consequences of this reshaping will have far-reaching effects. This eclipse family changes a person’s direction through the sudden collapse of an existing structure.

Last cycle of this series: July 2000

What’s next?

You can look at each eclipse as it comes up as a new or full moon (albeit one on steroids) in isolation. To begin to understand them, though, you need to look at the pattern, the upcoming cycle, the ones that have gone before and even the ones that occurred before you were born. And that’s where Big Sky Astrology’s report comes in. The Moonshadow report is personalised to you, and will talk about the aspects being made by eclipses this year and next, the eclipses that have been and the planets that are being aspected – and what it all means for you…as well as some other bits and pieces about eclipses.

If you’re interested, click on the link in the sidebar* on the website. I purchase one every two years and refer to them each eclipse season and again at the start of the year when I’m mapping my transits

More information, please…

Bernadette Brady’s book The Eagle and the Lark is a brilliant resource. It’s where I go for information on each Saros Series. It’s the only place I’ve found that lists each and the meanings. If you know of other resources, please share!

Check out April Elliot Kent’s Big Sky Astrology for some really cool information around timing eclipses and aspects to personal planets.

What might the eclipse mean by house and sign? Check out this post by Jessica from Moonkissd.

Also by Jessica, this fabulous post about timing and what could potentially happen. Love it.

If you’re really technically minded, you could also find this link interesting…

This article, originally posted in The Mountain Astrologer, is also worth a read.

*In the interests of full disclosure, I get a small cut from sales of the report stemming from this website…