Impact of Eclipses Michelle Asks: “I was wondering about the effects of an eclipse. I understand that a Solar Eclipse will effect you for 1 year and a lunar eclipse up to 6 months. What happens if the eclipse occurs conjunct one of your natal planets? I have the solar eclipse coming up conjunct my Venus in the 7th house. I’m confused about how these energies play out. What about a lunar eclipse opposite Pluto? Is this a sure sign of trouble to come?” Kevin Answers: Michelle, Thanks for your very timely question! I’m going to start out with a little background information on eclipses, and then talk a bit about how we can interpret them. Eclipses are very important events astrologically, and yet they are also very misunderstood (much like the Moon’s Nodes, which just happen to be the transiting eclipse points...). Most people think that eclipses are very rare events, but actually we have two sets of eclipses every year, or one set of eclipses every five and a half months or so. What is rare are eclipses that can actually be observed. Solar Eclipses can only be seen across a relatively narrow path. Lunar Eclipses on the other hand can be seen from just about everywhere that happens to be experiencing night at the time of the eclipse. Solar Eclipses can only occur at the moment of the New Moon; Lunar Eclipses can only occur at the moment of the Full Moon. You can see eclipses in a chart by simply looking at the Moon’s Nodes. Whenever there is a Full Moon or a New Moon within 18°31’ of one of the Nodes, it is an eclipse. The Moon’s Nodes represent the points where the orbit of the Moon crosses the ecliptic (the apparent orbit of the Sun around the Earth, but actually the orbital plane of the Earth around the Sun). Whenever there is a lunation (New or Full Moon) within 18°31’ of the Nodes, the Sun, Moon and Earth are not only lining up by longitude (sign) but also by declination, and the Moon’s shadow will at least partially block the Sun (in a Solar Eclipse) or the Earth’s Shadow will block the Sun’s light from reaching the Moon (in a Lunar Eclipse). Let’s talk about interpreting eclipses in general first, and then move on to the specifics. Eclipses are the single most significant astrological events, and their effects can be felt for up to six months at a time (or from one eclipse cycle until the next eclipse cycle). Even when an eclipse does not contact personal planets in our charts, eclipses are always significant. Robert Jansky says that eclipses represent areas of crisis; the houses in which the eclipses fall in our charts represent areas of life that will receive the most focus over the next few months, and that will frequently undergo some sort of a change. Eclipses usually occur in pairs, although it is possible to have three eclipses in a cycle (either Solar-Lunar-Solar or Lunar-Solar-Lunar). The degrees of the eclipses will be sensitive degrees for the next six months or so, both on a personal level and on a mundane level. For example, the Lunar Eclipse last April occurred at 3 degrees of Aries/Libra and this was very close to the same degree that Mars stationed Retrograde (3 degrees Libra) in February, and also at the same degree as the Cardinal Grand Cross the previous Summer (6 - 10 Degrees of Cardinal) which involved Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and Chiron. In a Solar Eclipse, the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth, temporarily blocking out the light of the Sun. On an interpretive level, a Solar Eclipse represents the past, our unconscious nature (the Moon) overtaking and overshadowing our conscious expression of self (the Sun). More than this, what we “see” is the dark, hidden side of the Moon. In a Solar Eclipse we are forced to look at our shadow self, to acknowledge it and recognize it or else it will consume us. Solar Eclipses tend to relate to sudden events that disrupt our normal conscious functioning; they are the crisis that seems to come out of nowhere and that suddenly demands all of our conscious attention and focus. We must learn to accept that the source of these crises, however external it may appear, is actually our own unconscious and subconscious. Whatever situations that arise as a result of a Solar Eclipse, in addition to their manifest reality, are truly projections of our shadow self, of our fears, of our secrets, and of our demons. By acknowledging and accepting these parts of ourselves, we can help to keep them from disrupting our lives periodically. (The important lesson is that we must accept and acknowledge our shadow self rather than deny and ignore it.) In a Lunar Eclipse, on the other hand, the Earth moves between the Sun and the Moon at the Full Moon, casting a shadow on the Moon at the moment of the Full Moon and blocking the Sun’s Light from reflecting on the Moon. Lunar Eclipses are a significant disruption of the lunar cycle. Normally, what we have started during the New Moon will grow and change until the Full Moon when it reaches fruition and is illuminated and we are able to understand and work with it on a conscious level; after the Full Moon, the light is distributed and we make use of our new knowledge and prepare for the next cycle. During a Lunar Eclipse, however, that moment of illumination is suddenly gone. In many ways, it’s like having the rug suddenly pulled out from under your feet. Individuals who are very sensitive to the lunar cycles often find lunar eclipses to be very disorienting. My personal sense of Lunar Eclipses is that they represent opportunities to break out of our current cycles and move on to a different level. The window of opportunity here is rather brief, and we have to act on it consciously, but Lunar Eclipses provide an opportunity to make a kind of evolutionary leap, to demonstrate a certain degree of insight and proficiency in whatever our current lesson may be, and to be allowed to move on to the next phase without having to take the long way around as it were. Please remember that we are not in a race and that taking advantage of these opportunities does not make one a better person or “more spiritual” or “more highly evolved”. In any event, a Lunar Eclipse can make us more aware of our cycles and patterns, as well as of our unconscious motivations. When the cycle isn’t allowed to complete, when the Earth’s Shadow blocks out the light of the Sun, we experience the same type of disorientation as we do when we’re doing something routine and not thinking about it and are suddenly interrupted in the middle of it. We can either catch ourselves and decide to take a different course of action, or else we can try and continue what it was that we were doing; but if we try and complete the cycle, it is with a new awareness: suddenly we have to think about what we’re doing a bit more. Now, what happens when an Eclipse makes an aspect to a personal planet? First of all, the general rule that Eclipses represent crisis, focus and change applies. If an eclipse makes a close aspect to a planet in your chart, that planet is going to be involved in the changes and activities of the eclipses. In particular if an eclipse is conjunct a planet in your chart, then the function of that planet will be tied in with your personal experience of the eclipse. Again, Solar Eclipses tend to stir things up on a physical and conscious level much more than Lunar Eclipses do (although the Lunar Eclipse can make us acutely aware of our emotional cycles!). A Solar Eclipse conjuncting your Venus, for example, might indicate that your unconscious relationship issues and needs will be coming to the forefront in the next few months, and will require some conscious and immediate attention. A Lunar Eclipse conjunct Venus might have more to do with relationship patterns and cycles. The last thing to remember about eclipses is that their effects do last for up to six months. The key events may occur within the first month, and our lives may get stirred up quite a bit, but we do have the next four or five months to understand and integrate the lessons.