Eclipses: Magic in the Dark

Eclipses Magic in the DarkSometimes, momentous events take place without our noticing; it’s only in hindsight that everything seems clear, even preordained. This is often the case with eclipses. We wait with bated breath for something dramatic to happen on the day of an eclipse, or the week before, or (surely) a few days after. And when it appears nothing has happened, we shrug and figure astrology isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

It can be instructive, when looking ahead to an upcoming eclipse, to first look back. Find the last eclipse that fell at the same degree – about 18.5–19 years ago – and remember what was happening then. How did your life feel? What was important to you? And looking back now, can you get a clearer picture of what was really going on? Probably – but at the time, you might have been right where eclipses prefer you to be: in the dark.

The lunar eclipse on December 21, 2010 (just a few hours before the winter solstice) falls at 29 degrees of Gemini. Nineteen years ago, on December 21, 1991, a lunar eclipse fell at this same degree. Almost two weeks before the eclipse (at a degree that falls very close to my natal Venus), I met my future husband when he walked into my office for a reading. We liked each other immediately, but neither of us suspected we were in the presence of the person we’d marry. In fact, if you’d asked me at the time what the eclipse had brought to my life, I’d probably have talked about my financial struggles as a newly self-employed astrologer!

The weird thing is, I had a hunch I’d be getting married sometime soon. I’d started studying eclipses, and I knew that the last time an eclipse had aspected my natal Venus, I’d started my first serious relationship. So I was watching this eclipse very closely, and I was expecting something big. But although I met the man I’d marry, the relationship didn’t become romantic until a full year later!

For many of us, this lunar eclipse will certainly bring tremendous change. But eclipses are odd ducks – tricksters of light, masters of deception. Like a sleight of hand magician, they work their magic by diverting your attention to a distant focal point … just before they pull a rabbit out of your hat.

Often it’s the transit of a fast-moving planet over the eclipse degree that awakens the rabbit. My future husband and I became friends in the months after we met; but it wasn’t until the summer after the eclipse, as transiting Venus moved over the eclipse degree, that I began to have an inkling of how much our friendship meant to me. So if this eclipse point falls close to a planet in your birth chart, watch the transits of that planet in the coming months; when it reaches the 29th degree of Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, or Pisces, look for clues to help you decipher this eclipse’s code.

Betelgeuse and Eclipses of War

Eclipses bring matters to a turning point, whether they’re matters of love, loss, financial changes – or conflict. As astrologer Simone Butler pointed out in a recent blog post, this eclipse degree is conjunct the fixed star Betelgeuse (27 Gemini), a star associated with both war (Mars) and words (Mercury). The holidays are stressful enough without Betelgeuse putting us in a warlike frame of mind! It’s healthy to clear up long-standing conflicts, but make an extra effort to do it in a fair and healthy way, and not with blunt, caustic language and personal attacks.

Eclipses near Betelgeuse (particular this one, with powerful Pluto close to the eclipse point) bring tensions to a crisis point not just between individuals, but occasionally between countries or other groups. Often, it’s a square, opposition, or conjunction from transiting Mars to the eclipse point that brings simmering confrontations to a head – or occasionally, to a conclusion. Here are two recent and notable examples:

  • In 2001, the September 11 attacks and invasion of Afghanistan occurred when transiting Mars reached the points of two solar eclipses the previous summer, on June 21 at 0 deg. Cancer and July 5 at 14 Capricorn (the degree of the fixed star Manubrium, a star of military strategy).
  • On December 21, 1991, a lunar eclipse at 29 Gemini marked the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. Four months after the eclipse, with Mars square the eclipse point at 25 Pisces, wide-scale rioting broke out in Los Angeles following the acquittal of white police officers accused of beating black motorist Rodney King.

For this eclipse, look to late March and early April, as transiting Mars at late Pisces/early Aries (ruled by Mars) squares this eclipse point, for an activation of this eclipse’s warlike flavor. But though we may not recognize it, there could be an instigating event around February 20, when Mercury, Mars, and Neptune come together in late Aquarius, trine the eclipse point.

Eclipses in Gemini and Sagittarius

This is the first of the eclipses that will fall in Gemini and Sagittarius through May 2013, and these are cycles in which emotion and fear may blind us to objective facts and truths. When eclipses last fell in Gemini and Sagittarius, the press, media, and pundits abandoned their responsibility to ask responsible questions, and to report and analyze facts. Consequently, propaganda (Sagittarius’ dark side) ruled the day – and the people of the United States were persuaded to support the costly and destructive war in Iraq, based on what turned out to be false pretenses.

So this eclipse is an important event because to some extent, it suggests the direction things will take over the next two years. Will we see more war, or a new enemy? Will there be rioting in the streets (especially as Uranus moves into warlike Aries)? It may seem that as puny individuals, we’re powerless to affect events that are so large, perpetrated by powerful people. Perhaps. But this eclipse point is trine Neptune, so I’m inclined at this solstice toward a bit of magical thinking.

The world is not something outside of us, after all; each of us is one of millions of individuals who co-create the world. Individuals matter. And that means each of us is responsible for dealing with eclipses, and anything else, the best way we can. We can’t nurture anger or vicious language in our individual hearts and then pretend to be surprised to find that energy reflected around us. If, on the other hand, we nurture truth-telling, perception, and honesty, maybe we’ll find those things reflected in our world as well. So with open minds and our eyes fixed on a vision of truth, let’s encourage the eclipse to work its magic; there’s no telling where the rabbit might come from.

© 2010 April Elliott Kent. All rights reserved.

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