You might have noticed that there was a total Solar Eclipse recently across the USA! It certainly got a lot of attention, not least amongst the online astrology community, where it was the subject of many predictions, most of them related to the US President.
But did you know that there are at least two Solar Eclipses and two Lunar Eclipses each year? This article offers a few ideas and techniques for working with the energy of Eclipses and discovering how they fit into your personal astrological cycles.
You will find that the most potent Eclipses for you personally are those that fall in very close proximity, by sign and degree, to planets and points in your natal horoscope. Personally, I only consider Eclipses which make tight (within 2 ½ degrees or less of orb) Conjunction and Opposition aspects with natal planets and points. You can safely ignore the Trines, Sextiles and the minor aspects but Square aspects from the Eclipse to your natal chart might also be worth considering.
Also bear in mind that astrological measurements tend to symbolize the processes and journeys of our lives and these processes take time to develop. For this reason, life ‘events’ rarely happen on the exact date of an astrological measurement, so when considering the effect of an Eclipse on your natal chart cast your net wide, by perhaps looking several weeks before the Eclipse and several weeks after. You may find that nothing actual ‘happens’ as such, but that the Eclipse reflects an inner emotional or psychological process.
Here are a few keywords for working with Eclipses: endings; new beginnings; new chapters in life; the need to release/let go/cut cords emotionally, or in specific areas of your life; events and feelings coming to a head. It’s also a general rule of thumb that Solar Eclipses, when the Sun and Moon are Conjunct, are more about our personal, subjective experiences and Lunar Eclipses, when the Sun and Moon are in Opposition, are more about relationships.
An Eclipse will also express itself in terms of the sign in which it falls. For example, Aquarius is to do with community, friends, innovation, detachment; Cancer is to do with mothers, nurturing, domestic matters, feeling safe; Capricorn speaks about tradition, authority, ambition, the administration of life and Leo is all about pride, creativity, confidence, being loved and appreciated.
Eclipses will also express themselves in terms of the planet or points they aspect in your natal chart. For example an Eclipse on your Venus may be about your relationships, your assets, your social reach, your self-esteem, how you give and share with others. With Mars it is about where and how you channel your energy; issues around assertiveness or aggression or issues around sexuality. For the Midheaven (MC) it will be about career; vocation; your social standing and status; the authority figures in your life.
However, when looking at the way an Eclipse affects you, don’t get too hung up on making your experiences ‘fit’ the key words, these are just prompts, what really matters most is your own, personal, unique experiences.
Below are three methods of looking at Eclipses that might be helpful and illuminating.
The 19 year Eclipse cycle
An Eclipse falls at the same degree of the Zodiac once every 19 years, giving us the opportunity to review the longer cycles of our lives, to look at the bigger picture.
For example, when a Solar Eclipse fell on P’s IC Angle (therefore opposing his career Angle, the MC), it corresponded with him going out into the world and becoming independent by starting his first job following graduation. 19 years later an Eclipse fell at the same point. Looking back over the years at his career progress he felt disappointed that he didn’t fulfil the dreams he set back then. However, these dreams re-awakened, at first causing stress and upheaval, but ultimately giving him an opportunity to release the dreams of his youth and successfully re-invent them with the benefit of maturity and experience.
To find out what recent and upcoming Eclipses say about the bigger picture of your life, pick those Eclipses that touched planets and points in your chart very closely, then reflect on what was happening in your life 19 years previously to see if there is any connection. Were big changes occurring then? Are they related in any way to what is happening now? If you are young, look at what was happening in your general family life, with your parents or siblings, for clues.
Recent & upcoming Eclipses
Looking at the Eclipses this way, can help you recognise recurring patterns in your life and show you how much progress you have made or where you have fallen off track.
Below is a list of recent and upcoming Eclipses followed by their corresponding Eclipses 19 years earlier:
August 7 2017 LUNAR Eclipse 15 Aquarius 25
August 7 1998 LUNAR Eclipse 15 Aquarius 21
August 21 2017 SOLAR Eclipse 28 Leo 53
August 21 1998 SOLAR Eclipse 28 Leo 48
January 31 2018 LUNAR Eclipse 11 Leo 37
January 31 1999 LUNAR Eclipse 11 Leo 20
February 15 2018 SOLAR Eclipse 27 Aquarius 08
February 16 1999 SOLAR Eclipse 27 Aquarius 08
July 12 2018 SOLAR Eclipse 20 Cancer 41
The corresponding Full Moon 19 years earlier was not eclipsed, but can still be used as a reference point: July 13 1999 New Moon at 20 Cancer 17
July 27 2018 LUNAR Eclipse 4 Aquarius 45
July 28 1999 LUNAR Eclipse 4 Aquarius 57
August 11 2018 SOLAR Eclipse 18 Leo 42
August 11 1999 SOLAR Eclipse 18 Leo 21
Transits to Eclipse Degrees
Tracking Transits to the Eclipse degrees is a method used in Mundane astrology to predict events and changes in the fortunes in the horoscopes of countries and their leaders. This method also works well with natal astrology. If an Eclipse fell on a planet or point in your chart, that planet or point will be supercharged and will be susceptible to the effects of the next planet which transits it.
For example, when a Solar Eclipse fell Conjunct R’s natal Uranus-Pluto conjunction, also Opposing Saturn and Squaring Mercury, (activating a T-Square falling in her 4th House – home/security – 7th House – partnership and marriage – and 10th House – career and vocation), it was a happy time. She had just got engaged and was busy planning her wedding. However, all was not well with her job. She had a new boss who she found it difficult to communicate with and who she felt did not value her contribution, but with so much happiness elsewhere it was easy to put the difficult work situation to one side. Then, three months later, when transiting Saturn made a conjunction to Uranus-Pluto, the first hit of three, she was laid off. It was a difficult and painful process, but by the end of the transit she found a new job in which she was very happy and could see that the change needed to happen.
This story demonstrates the Eclipse themes already described: endings; new beginnings; new chapters in life; the need to release/let go/cut cords emotionally and events and feelings coming to a head in specific areas of life.
An Eclipse as Part of a Moon Family
Astrologer Dietrech J Pessin discovered that all lunations, including Eclipses, form part of a family of related lunations. She found that every New Moon starts a new family cycle, consisting of a New Moon phase, a First Quarter Moon phase, a Full Moon phase and a Last Quarter Moon phase, with each lunation occurring in the same sign and approximate degree, nine months apart, the whole cycle covering a period of 2 ½ years.
A Moon family which aspects your natal horoscope closely by Conjunction or Opposition is worth following, as the Moon phases of the family tend to reflect patterns in your own life development.
See Dietrech Pessin’s website, Lunar Shadows, for more details.
Dietrech’s book Lunar Shadows, available from her website, contains details of all the Moon Family’s as well as details of all Eclipses and comes highly recommended.
Other books on Eclipses that I would recommend are Eclipses by Celeste Teal and Predictive Astrology by Bernadette Brady.
Examples used with permission