Clients most often find me when they’re at a critical turning point, a “crisis” in their life. Using eclipses, it’s pretty easy to pinpoint the source of the crisis. I map out the solar and lunar eclipses for the year and note where those points fall in the birth chart by house placement and hard aspect to natal planets. Then I backtrack 19 years, at 4-5 year intervals. These will show me years where the client was receiving conjunctions, squares, and oppositions from eclipses to roughly these same areas of their chart. These are potent reference points for exploring difficult issues in greater depth.
When I calculate secondary and solar arc progressions, transits, and the solar return chart for the year, the configurations in the chart receiving the most emphasis from eclipses will invariably show up in those charts as well. Fairly quickly, the main themes for the year emerge, providing a solid framework for a reading.
This is a standard approach to working with any kind of astrological cycle, whether it’s cycles of Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, progressed lunar phases, anything. For me, what makes eclipses especially appealing as a cyclical tool is:
- They’re really easy to use. If a client comes to me and says, “When will I find a relationship?” It’s a fairly simple matter to say, “Well, when were you last in an important relationship?” – find where the eclipses were, and work with 4.5 year periods from there. The 9 1/2 year opposition part of the cycle seems especially strong.
- Of all the tools we use in prediction, eclipses are the least subtle! People notice their effects. They have a kind of bare bones, brass knuckles sort of immediacy about them.
- Finally, eclipses show where crisis is occurring and how it’s related to past events, in a way that can reveal the progress someone has made in dealing with a particular issue. That can be extremely helpful and validating.
Eclipses move clockwise through the chart, unlike progressions and transits, which move counter-clockwise. And because solar eclipses usually occur in opposite signs in a given year, they will very often fall in houses of the chart that directly oppose one another. So in interpreting eclipses in the houses, I’m working not with twelve individual houses so much as six teams of houses, or house axes, directly opposite one another.
The size of the houses in your chart vary, of course, depending on where you were born. If you were born extremely north or south of the equator, generally one or two of these house axes will be quite large while the rest are quite small. So naturally, progressions, transits, and—yes—eclipses spend more time transiting the large houses than the small ones. On average, though, you can count on eclipses falling in a particular axis of your chart for about 1 ½ years at a time.
This article tells a story that illustrates the cycle of eclipses moving through the houses of the chart. It’s most helpful if you begin at the beginning…
© 1999 April Elliott Kent
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