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JULY/AUGUST 2018 ECLIPSES –
Changing Perceptions

 

The term lunation refers to a lunar month – the time it takes the Moon to go through the phases of New Moon, Waxing Moon, Full Moon, Waning Moon, and then the following New Moon, which starts the next lunation. Eclipses are special lunations. Solar Eclipses occur on New Moons when the Moon’s shadow falls over the Sun. Lunar Eclipses occur on Full Moons when the Earth’s shadow falls on the Moon. A set of eclipses, one Solar and one Lunar, occur every six months, and more rarely, three Eclipses occur in a row. Sets of eclipses can begin with either a Lunar or Solar Eclipse, but one type of eclipse will always be followed by a different type (meaning you’ll never get two Lunar Eclipses or Solar Eclipses in a row). Lunar Eclipses last longer and can be seen from more of the Earth’s surface area than Solar Eclipses because the Earth’s shadow is bigger than the Moon’s shadow. In astrology, eclipses add extra weight and significance to lunations, ending one cycle of (roughly) six months and starting a new one. Since the significations of the lunar cycles drive and frame all the other symbolic occurrences in the heavens, an eclipse cycle features major beginnings (Solar Eclipses) and major endings (Lunar Eclipses), the effects of which will be stronger or weaker in one’s life depending on one’s own astrology and the elements of a chart that are being transited by the eclipse. For example, if a Solar Eclipse happens on someone’s birthday, the Moon and/or the Sun are very close to the natal Sun position, marking an especially important year in which undertakings which are vitally important to the native will begin and/or will bear fruit.

The latest set of eclipses features a partial and barely visible Solar Eclipse on 7/12/2018 (7/13/2018 UTC), a total Lunar Eclipse visible to much of the world on 7/27/2018, and then another partial Solar Eclipse on 8/11/2018, this one more visible than the first.

Factors to remain aware of during this eclipse cycle are:

1) The Mars retrograde cycle is currently underway, having begun before the 7/13/2018 Solar Eclipse and completing after the 8/11/2018 Solar Eclipse

2) Jupiter stations to begin direct motion on 7/11/2018, two days before the 7/13/2018 Solar Eclipse

3) Mercury will station to begin retrograde motion on 7/26/2018, the day before the 7/27/2018 Lunar Eclipse

4) Uranus stations to begin retrograde motion on 8/8/2018, three days before the 8/11/2018 Solar Eclipse

 

Solar Eclipse (Partial) – Thursday 7/12/2018 7:47:46pm Pacific Time (20d 41m Cancer)

 

Although it will be the least visually spectacular of the eclipses, the first Solar Eclipse has a lot to be said for its astrology. The joining of Sun and Moon at 20 degrees 41 minutes Cancer is less than a degree opposite Pluto, which itself is at exactly 20 Capricorn. It is significant that Pluto is still on this degree as of the eclipse because it is the same degree it has been on since 5/28/2018, and since that time, Mercury and Venus have both formed an opposition to Pluto at the opposite degree of Cancer where the Sun will be eclipsed.

There is mixed symbolism for 21 Cancer. For one thing, it is currently occupied by Castor, a bright fixed star in the constellation of Gemini. The twins of Gemini, Castor and Pollux, were formidable warriors in Greek mythology and were worshipped as heroes and demigods throughout the Greek and Roman world. In its significations, the star Castor can indicate Mercurial things like mental quickness, travel, and too much mental energy resulting in nervousness or even instability. There is also a martial quality to the star, which is the side of it we can probably expect to see the most of with this eclipse. Since Castor died as the result of a family feud and the star is in tropical Cancer, it may be that this eclipse cycle, and the six months that follow it, will bring up issues with family and the need to heal or address issues in relationships within our families. With Pluto opposing the Sun and Moon over Castor, the dichotomy of mortality and immortality, ephemeral and eternal is also present, so this cycle may highlight the themes of death and mortality, bringing us to consider what these realities and the concepts behind them mean to us and how best to prepare for inevitable future events in our lives. In the meantime, Pluto is over another fixed star, Deneb (Zeta Aquila), the southern star in the tail of the constellation Aquila (the Eagle), which also has martial leanings due to the eagle’s function of retrieving the thunderbolts that Jupiter has thrown (remember that Jupiter stationed not long before this eclipse). Remembering Pluto’s modern association with the sign of Scorpio, which in turn is linked symbolically to Aquila, the combination with Pluto suggests to me that we are presented with a choice between our higher and lower natures, specifically regarding how we handle the subjects of death and dying, as well as anything in our lives that is both temporary and valuable to us. We can count on the fact that another thunderbolt is always on the way, so rather than reeling endlessly in reaction after reaction, how can we begin to use the cycles of war and peace to our advantage?

I take notice of Black Moon Lilith and Pallas Athene as well. Black Moon Lilith in Capricorn is in a moderately close conjunction with Pluto and therefore is also in opposition with the Sun and the Moon. Here, we might expect a particularly dark reflection from this placement, with the use of veiled and perhaps dubious strategies to fulfill one’s worldly desire for sense experience, power or recognition. Pallas Athene in very early Leo is opposite Pluto and Black Moon Lilith (not in a true opposition due to being out of sign, but nonetheless significantly positioned), signifying intelligence and creativity expressed confidently and uniquely, and again, the use of strategy to secure power (in this case, the dramatic power to sway people’s emotions). Leo and Capricorn are the two signs most concerned with the question of power expressed publicly and outwardly. Therefore, we may be called to ponder our social and psychological relationships with power – what makes us feel “powerful,” and is that sense of power real or imaginary? How do we use and deal with power when we have it, and what does is mean to us to feel powerless and/or have power taken away from us, or to share power or give power away? How much of this is substantive, and how much of it is simply an idea, emotion or sensation that is more pomp or show than anything else? Does it help or hinder us? Is there a need for change to our inner relationship with the concept of power?

Aspects also occurring or soon to occur in the eclipse chart can reveal movement and patterns that are relevant for the eclipse period. In turn, those themes may have increased relevance during the period between the end of this set of eclipses and the beginning of the next set.

There is a square between Mercury and Jupiter, and we can count this as a T-Square if we add Mars, which is nearly out of range of a square with Mercury. This Mercury-Jupiter-Mars relationship further reinforces the question of right use of power and adds another dimension to it, which is using the right amount of power at the right time. Jupiter is the middle planet in the T-Square and is in Scorpio, signifying the relationship between growth and decay – the need for a serpent to shed its skin because it has outgrown it. How can we express ourselves powerfully in a positive, helpful way, making way for further growth without harming ourselves or others? Do we allow self-expression we consider “powerful” only under certain circumstances? What causes us to withdraw back into ourselves and limit expression of our power?

Venus is in a Grand Trine with Saturn and Uranus when the Solar Eclipse perfects, having just been trine with Uranus and moving ahead to the trine with Saturn. Here we have a harmonious (or, perhaps, merely a temporarily cooperative) relationship between our ability to assemble things, the tools and rules we use to do that, and the random and unexpected elements that either help or hinder us in the process. So, amidst the tumult of a great deal of inner and/or outer transformation and all the mental fireworks that go along with that, we can tap into a part of ourselves that is highly constructive and visionary; we can really see how to build things better and make them last longer.

 

Lunar Eclipse (Total) - Friday 7/27/2018 1:20:16pm Pacific Time (4d 45m Leo/Aquarius)

 

As we move to a review of the Lunar Eclipse, I emphasize the continued movement and the changing relationships of the other bodies to derive understanding of the eclipse cycle as a continuous whole.

The Lunar Eclipse (the longest Lunar Eclipse of this entire century) continues the Mars/Pluto theme of the 7/13 Solar Eclipse. The Moon is close to retrograde Mars at the time of the Lunar Eclipse. The T-Square between the Sun, Uranus, and the Moon/Mars is a tense dynamic, making it likely that this eclipse – visible throughout most of the world – will shake us up in places in life where we feel settled and secure (note the emphasis on fixed signs). It may come to light that factors we thought we could count on, “done deals” as it were, aren’t as solid or reliable as we had come to believe, and we are challenged to handle the aftermath as gracefully as possible. This is actually made explicit in the Kozminsky interpretation of the Sun’s degree position – “A lawyer placing a document before a client, who signs it. His eyes are bandaged.” Mercury stations to move retrograde very close to this eclipse too, of course, so definitely double and triple check any/all financial agreements and contracts throughout the rest of the eclipse cycle. The upside, of course, is that we have a great chance to see someone or something in our lives as they really are with this eclipse, symbolized by the Moon’s close proximity to the fixed stars Oculus and Bos in the constellation of Capricorn. Oculus is the eye of the goat (hence, “seeing”), and both stars indicate a strengthened intellect (presumably because they are in the head of the constellation). We will be able to see through the games that we and others are running and stop playing the ones that are doing us no good.

Black Moon Lilith is still not far off and now sits on the last degree of Capricorn, while the Sun has moved closer to Pallas Athene. This further accentuates themes discussed earlier regarding the proper use of power and the opportunity to learn to express power as helpful, positive creativity. Since the Lunar Eclipse represents supreme culmination, there will be an opportunity to perfect our characters and allow the best of ourselves to pour forth through our endeavors – a balanced, wise, and aware expression of self.

Venus makes several aspects in this chart. The bisextile with Jupiter and Pluto brings some lighter and more beneficial energy into this chart and the whole cycle, offering an opportunity to unpack our woes and burdens and transform them into something useful, long lasting, and maybe even beautiful. Since Lunar Eclipses emphasize completion, this Earth and Water combination provides the fuel to get something solid and practical done. Venus’s opposition with Neptune adds the possibility of inspiration through reflection as well as the distractions and fuzzy headed thinking that can cause us to fail to meet deadlines or expectations.

 

Solar Eclipse (Partial) - Saturday 8/11/2018 2:57:39am Pacific Time (18d 42m Leo)

 

The second Solar Eclipse of the cycle again emphasizes Pallas Athene, now within two degrees of the Sun-Moon conjunction. Mercury is also conjoined with the Sun and the Moon, reflecting a burst of creative power and the raw energy of a renewal that occurs primarily on the intellectual level, illuminating and refreshing the entire mental faculty. This will find us conceptualizing new and exciting ways of developing our talents and proudly, enthusiastically showcasing them. By the time of the eclipse, only minutes will have passed since the second of three Mercury-Jupiter squares has perfected. The days leading up to the third and final Mercury-Jupiter square (from 8/11/2018 to 8/28/2018) will provide a chance to really get our thoughts in line whatever our greatest opportunity for personal growth is, and to run with it! Use these days to meditate on what you can do to set the patterns and good habits into motion that will put you in the best possible mental position to take a huge leap forward over the next six months.

It is noteworthy that the Sun and Moon are in a close quincunx with Pluto with this eclipse, suggesting that internal struggles with properly expressing power continue. Pluto has been prominent since the last set of eclipses in January/February 2018 and continues to remain prominent in several lunations following this one, but the degree of separation between Pluto and the luminaries increases with each lunation following the 8/11/2018 Solar Eclipse. This eclipse cycle and the six months following it therefore represent the most prominent window for harnessing Pluto’s transformational power as consciously and therefore as effectively as possible. There may be much we are called to lay to rest during this liminal time, becoming “a giant holding a number of bleeding hearts pierced on his sword” as Kozminsky’s symbol says regarding the degree where the eclipse occurs. The degree to which we can evolve is always directly proportional to the dead weight of outmoded habits and patterns that we can release and/or reconfigure.

With this second Solar Eclipse, Venus has moved into a square with Saturn, representing a challenge with combining these two energies. Aesthetics (Venus in Libra) come into conflict with the cold, hard reality (Saturn in Capricorn) of getting gritty, unpleasant tasks done. As we experience the vigor and rejuvenation of this Solar Eclipse, it will be helpful to be willing to experience discomfort and disharmony at a critical juncture to come, knowing that it is temporary and ultimately beneficial in the grand scheme of things.

The theme that builds and develops over the course of this eclipse cycle is the challenge of fully, confidently expressing one’s creative intelligence in a healthy, life affirming way. Such a process will reap the best results when approached with a combination of honest introspection, willingness to make errors, and enjoyment of the process of becoming.