"Using" Lunar Eclipses Thomas Asks: “How will the total lunar eclipse affect us? What is the difference between a total and partial eclipse astrologically? We do not see them very often—does this have a special effect?” Zodi Asks: “What is the best way to ‘use’ a lunar eclipse in a solar return chart (and how rare is this occurrence)? The Moon is also the most aspected planet in the chart.” Kevin Answers: Thomas and Zodi, Lunar eclipses aren’t very rare—we get at least two lunar eclipses every year. Lunar eclipses are also much easier to observe than Solar Eclipses are. A Solar Eclipse is only visible in a very small, specific area, while a Lunar Eclipse is visible from anywhere on Earth where it happens to be night. While there’s certainly a difference astronomically between a total and a partial lunar eclipse, there’s no difference astrologically between them. Lunar Eclipses tend to be far less important than Solar Eclipses. Lunar Eclipses that closely aspect planets in the natal chart may prompt emotional and psychological changes, but the big changes are more closely tied to the Solar Eclipses. The main reason for this is that while Lunar Eclipses occur at a Full Moon (the half-way point of a cycle), Solar Eclipses are at the New Moon—the beginning of a new cycle. Once a cycle is underway, all we can do is ride it out; we can’t really instigate any significant changes until the old cycle ends and the new one begins. This is why Lunar Eclipses tend to highlight what’s already there, rather than to bring entirely new challenges and lessons to the picture. As far as the Lunar eclipse in the Solar Return chart goes, it really depends on the house placement of the Sun and Moon, and the planets aspecting the Moon. In a Solar Return chart, the only houses to look at are the angular houses (1, 4, 7, 10). Any planet not in an angular house is not going to have any impact, no matter what it aspects. The Sun and Moon are the only exceptions to this rule—they’re always important. They’re the strongest in angular houses, and the weakest in cadent houses (3, 6, 9, 12). A weak Sun and Moon, particularly a 6th/12th house emphasis can sometimes be an indication of illness. The only aspects to the Sun and Moon that you need to pay attention to are aspects made from planets in angular houses—these are going to be very prominent (“foreground”) energies for the period of the return. While having a Lunar Eclipse in a Solar Return chart is somewhat unusual, it’s bound to happen eventually (especially if you’re working with quarti- and demi-returns). In and of itself, I wouldn’t consider it to be a terribly important factor.