Tuesday, June 14, 2011
It's fairly common to hear that people act crazy on a full moon. Some might say the same thing about an eclipse. I would say it doesn't take the moon to make you crazy- it just takes Belgian abbey ale. But regardless of how crazy any of these events make us, eclipses and lunations (full moon, new moon, etc) have a great deal of further significance in astrology. A solar eclipse coincides with a new moon, in which the moon happens to pass directly in front of the sun in its path around earth. A lunar eclipse coincides with a full moon, in which the sun and moon match up in the same location, but on opposite sides of earth, causing the moon to fall within earth's shadow.
What bugged me for years was why this didn't happen every new and full moon- as eclipses are relatively uncommon. I didn't get a concrete answer, as it happens, until I began to study astrology and learned about declination. If the orbits of all the planets in the solar system were rings, declination is the tilt off of center that these rings possess. It has a somewhat less studied but still important significance in astrological study, but that's a topic for another post. Anyway, here's a picture of the difference between the orbit of the sun and the moon (obviously the earth revolves around the sun, but our graphical understanding of the planets is all from our earthly perspective):
The two rings are slightly off kilter, but intersect at either side of a line as if fastened along it. This "axis" is the lunar nodal axis. The point in which the moon path crosses above the path of the sun is the north node, and the point at which it descends below the path of the sun is the south node. Both points are significant in astrology around the world, and you may have seen or read about them in your chart. Symbolically, they are the point at which moon and sun, yin and yang, meet along their orbital journeys. So, while both moon and sun pass these points, they rarely do it at the same time. When they do, you get an eclipse.
The symbolism of the solar eclipse is the moon passing directly in front of the sun, and blocking our usually direct line with the sun's energy. This is like an open door to new possibilities, unforeseen events, and change, similar themes to the monthly new moon but with greater potential for the unexpected. As for the lunar eclipse, the moon passes directly through the shadow of earth. While in this shadow, we have the potential to be awakened to parts of ourselves, memories, etc, that have been unexplored or that require attention. Likewise, the monthly full moon calls us to examine and pay greater attention to our endeavors- when it coincides with an eclipse, though, the information we must examine may be all the more intense. Whew. Thank goodness for off-kilter orbits, or we would have eclipses every full and new moon- that could get exhausting.
The lunar eclipse today on June 15th places the moon in Sagittarius and the sun in Gemini, with mercury just a few degrees away. Mercury is the ruler of Gemini, and as such rules the sun in the chart of the eclipse. The theme of communication is the overwhelming theme of this eclipse. The opposition between Gemini and Sagittarius reflects the tension between impartiality and variety in thought and ideas (Gemini), and idealism, faith and commitment to truth (Sagittarius).
From a mundane astrological perspective, the moon tends to represent the public, the masses, or popular emotions; the sun, on the other hand, represents government and those in power. This eclipse coincides with a great tension between the public at large and those who hold political power- more or less the world over, but especially in the countries of the Middle East facing political upheaval.
Our last total lunar eclipse occurred in December of 2010, which was also the beginning of uprising in Tunisia that would eventually spread across the Middle East and be called the "Arab Spring". Tension between the populace and the government is at an ever-increasing high, a theme reflected by the approaching square between pluto in Capricorn (power struggles and changes in the sign of government and structure) and uranus in Aries (rebellion and awakening in the sign of cardinal initiative). As tensions mount in general, eclipses can be temporary nitro bursts of change and insight.
As a final consideration, here's a look at the U.S. Sibly chart (one of the more generally accepted "birth charts" for the United States) with the eclipse today around it (click the image for a bigger view):
You can see the eclipse axis in the 1st and 7th houses- the moon conjunct the north node in the 1st, sun conjunct south node and mercury in the 7th. Also in the 7th house in the inner ring (the U.S. chart) is the country's natal mars in Gemini- conjunct the sun and mercury in the eclipse chart. This eclipse is definitely having an effect on the U.S. in some way. Astrologically, there mars represents the initiative, drive, and energy of an entity, how the entity takes action and for what purpose. The varied opinions and duality of Gemini (the "twins"!) reflects the duality of policy and action in the United States. We are famous for our two-party system, our legacy of intense debate and examination of issues, and the ability to have a variety of interests simultaneously (at home and abroad...). What new insights about how the U.S. is taking action might this eclipse reveal? Keep your eyes peeled, and watch the news!
Get your mercury on and use your brain! What are your thoughts on this eclipse day? What needs to come to light and be examined? Can we expect the unexpected in the following days and weeks? Let's discuss!
Some links and resources: