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What Are Solar Eclipses and Why Are They Feared?

What Are Solar Eclipses and Why Are They Feared?

We have eclipses coming soon! Throughout history, Solar and Lunar eclipses have been looked at with fear, suspicion, and dread, because they were considered to be harbingers of disaster, chaos, doom and gloom.

For as long as they’ve been recorded, Solar eclipses especially were thought to accompany the death of important leaders, the fall of nations, and the end of old societies. In our modern approach to astrology, we understand that eclipses are “cosmic recyclers,” and whatever is taken away in their wake opens us to newer and more appropriate planetary expressions in our lives.

Solar and Lunar eclipses are frequent events and have been predicted for thousands of years. I find they are fortunate events when we get to let go of lesser things and embrace greater things more appropriate to how we’ve grown since we learned those behaviors and attachments. In eclipse lore, Solar eclipse effects are said to last a few years, and Lunar eclipse effects are said to last for a few months, depending on the length of the eclipse. The magnitude determines its strength.

Each year there are (usually) two Solar Eclipses and two Lunar eclipses, but every so often we have three or even four Solar and/or Lunar eclipses. Between December 2019 and December 2020 we had an abnormal number of Eclipses, including three Solar eclipses (one on Christmas Day 2019 and the 2 in 2020). We also had FOUR Lunar eclipses in 2020, which is very unusual! The Christmas 2019 eclipse at 5 Capricorn and Solstice 2020 eclipse at 1 Cancer were Annular eclipses, and the December Solar Eclipse at 24 Sagittarius was a Total eclipse. Seven eclipses in 12 months is a very rare occurrence!

Between December 2020 and December 2021 we had the usual number of 4 or 5 eclipses in a year. December 2020 gave us the Total Solar eclipse at 24 Sagittarius. We had a Total Lunar eclipse at 6 Sagittarius/6 Gemini on May 26, and an Annular Solar eclipse at 20 Gemini on June 10. We just had a Partial Lunar eclipse at 28 Taurus/28 Scorpio on November 19, and a Total Solar eclipse at 13 Sagittarius on December 4, 2021.

We returned to the usual four in one year in 2022. April gave us a Partial Solar eclipse at 11 Taurus, and May gave us a Total Lunar eclipse at 26 Taurus/Scorpio. October’s Partial Solar eclipse fell at 2 Scorpio, and November’s Total Lunar eclipse fell at 17 Taurus.

This year we also have 4 eclipses. We have a Hybrid Solar eclipse in April at 30 Aries, a Penumbral Lunar eclipse in May at 15 Taurus/Scorpio, an Annular Solar eclipse in October at 22 Libra, and a Partial Lunar eclipse in October at 6 Scorpio/Taurus. In 2024, we’ll have a Penumbral Lunar eclipse in March at 6 Aries/Libra, a Total Solar eclipse in April at 20 Aries, a Partial Lunar Eclipse in September at 26 Virgo/Pisces, and an Annular Solar eclipse in October at 11 Libra.

What Makes an Eclipse and How They Work

A Solar eclipse is a New Moon conjunct the Lunar Nodal axis, while a Lunar eclipse is a Full Moon conjunct the Lunar Nodal axis. All eclipses operate with the Nodal influence, showing something which will be taken in as other things are released. Depending on how the Nodes are activated, it indicates the line of evolutionary development (North Node emphasis) and/or a line of demonstrating what we already know (South Node emphasis.)

All eclipses work like other lunations, where the New Moon brings new seed forms which are fulfilled by the next Full Moon. Lunar eclipses also fulfill what was indicated by the previous New Moon, but they are considered more influential over a period of months rather than just the 2 weeks after the Full Moon.

Of importance is whether a Solar eclipse precedes the Lunar eclipse or vice versa. Sometimes we begin with a regular New Moon, followed by a Lunar eclipse, followed by a Solar eclipse, followed by a regular Full Moon. Other times we begin with a regular Full Moon, followed by a Solar Eclipse, followed by a Lunar eclipse, followed by a regular New Moon. You can see how these would have a much different “operations sequence” than our normal New Moon/Full Moon succession.

This Hybrid Solar eclipse at 30 Aries happens at 9:13 pm PDT on April 19. This precedes the Penumbral Lunar eclipse at 15 Taurus/Scorpio happening 10:34 am PDT on May 5. So this pair of eclipses are somewhat divergent in their influences, because even though both have North Node in Taurus and South Node in Scorpio, the Solar eclipse Sun is in Aries and the Lunar eclipse Sun is in Taurus. That means the Lunar eclipse at 15 Taurus/Scorpio will fulfill the previous Solar eclipse “seed form” of 30 Aries. So the Lunar eclipse Sun is in a different sign than the previous Solar eclipse Sun. I’ll explain more about the unique qualities of the coming Solar eclipse in a few days. Today we’ll discuss Solar eclipses in general.

So Why Are Eclipses So Important?

Tables of various eclipse cycles have been kept since antiquity in several cultures, and I once read the ancient Babylonians had eclipse tables over a 500,000 year period. In traditional astrology, it is said when the shadow of an eclipse falls on a nation or people, it is assumed to have dire consequences for the future of that nation.

There are many cycles of eclipses, some recurring relatively frequently, some taking decades, even centuries to recur. The ancients felt that its shadow signified the passing from power of a ruling family or dynasty, the invasion of the nation by hostile foreign powers, the death of an era, even famine, drought, or pestilence.

Historically, more than not this is accurate. From that we infer the Total Solar eclipse of August 2017 at 29 Leo which tracked across the entire US indicated the places in the eclipse path, as well as the states, towns, and people in power with anything near 29 Leo, have been and continue to be affected! Think of all that has been shut down and/or ended in the US since August 2017 to get a sense of the process.

Without this becoming a boring recitation of different empires crashing under the weight of their own excesses rather than an astronomical phenomenon, I will remind you that an astrological event does not make anything happen, correlations notwithstanding. That being said...

Eclipses, Afflictions, and the End of Empires

Solar eclipses indicate the shadowing of the "great light" by another object that obscures that light, if only momentarily. So an eclipse partially or totally blocks the light of the Sun for a period of time, from a few minutes to a few hours, and in places where total eclipses are most visible, the skies somewhat dim or go dark and we can see other, fainter light coming from stars we wouldn't ordinarily see.

This is certainly true of a total Solar eclipse and to a lesser degree during partial eclipses. The ancients also thought that the number of hours a Solar eclipse lasts over a nation shows the number of years it would suffer affliction, and the number of hours a Lunar eclipse lasts shows the number of months it will suffer.

Looking at the 2017 American Eclipse, the Umbral (most intense) phase of that eclipse lasted 3 hours and 15 minutes. That translates into 3 years and 3 months. That span of time is the exact period between the eclipse and the 2020 Presidential election! The 2017 Solar eclipse Penumbral phase lasted about 5 hours and 17 minutes, showing the general effect will be through the 2022 election.

Of major importance is the very long Total Solar eclipse cutting across the US coming in April 2024! That one moves from southwest to northeast, tracks part of the New Madrid fault line, and makes an “X” with the 2017 eclipse line! Given the activation of “the Ring of Fire” around the Pacific rim these past few years, the coming “X” Total Solar eclipse could very well portend a shifting of the tectonic plates affecting the US, Canada, and Mexico as a region. In any case, it seems the US is being forced to deal with letting go of a lot.

Leaving aside any argument of causality, on a personal level I have found that where an eclipse falls in a birth chart corresponds with something ending in that part of the life. Whatever house it occurs in is where something is about to end in a significant way. Again, as we can never lose what really belongs to us, it’s useful to see eclipses are “Cosmic Recyclers,” taking away what we no longer need, creating space for new things to present themselves.

How Does An Eclipse Affect Me Personally If It Conjuncts A Planet in My Chart?

Their impact on our lives can be seen by their placement in our chart and aspects they make to our planets and angles. If the eclipse conjuncts a planet, we can expect to see endings in that old planetary psychological function in the house (life area) the Eclipse falls in. And of course, it will also affect the houses ruled by any planet it touches.

For example, if an eclipse conjuncts your Venus, you may assume that sooner or later you will confront the end of an old way of enjoying life, an old value, or an old relationship. You will see this work out in the houses ruled by Taurus and Libra as well as planets in those signs.

If it conjuncts Mercury, an old mindset, perception, attitude, or way of interpreting or communicating that was a significant part of your life will pass away through the life areas ruled by Gemini and Virgo, and if you have a planet in Gemini or Virgo then that part of the personality will be affected as well.

If an eclipse conjuncts your Saturn, an old important responsibility, limitation, obligation, hindrance, or fear will leave the life. Old ways of looking at the areas of life (houses) ruled by Capricorn and Aquarius will end, as will how planets in those signs express themselves.

If the eclipse affects the Moon, expect the ending of an old habit or way of experiencing life. Usually there are major personality shifts and endings associated with parts of the life represented by the houses where you have Cancer and Leo, and any planets you have in those signs will experience a loss of old ways of expression.

If Mars is affected, it could mean that an old hassle, aggravation, or quarrel will end, or there will be a hassle or aggravation as a result of an ending in the houses ruled by Aries and Scorpio. It could also accompany the end of an old way of “attacking the problems of life,” or an old way of responding to a call for immediate action. If there are planets in Aries or Scorpio, It would shut down some parts of the ways those planets express themselves.

If a Solar Eclipse impacts our Jupiter, an old vision, philosophical view, or an obsolete moral stance will end, or there will be something taken away that affects the houses with Sagittarius and Pisces on the cusp and any planets we have in those signs. This contacts show an end to a spiritual focus or aspiration, or a line of opportunity ceases and another one opens wherever the Eclipse falls in the chart.

If the eclipse falls on your Sun, you can expect the end of your Light or Life in some way. This shows the passing of an old life order, but of course since Nature abhors a vacuum it also shows that a new life and light will begin. It will most affect the houses with Leo and Cancer on the cusp, any planets we have in those signs, and transform the part of the life represented by the house the Eclipse falls in.

So it primarily shows as three things: a) an ending in the life area represented by the house in which it falls; b) an ending of a psychological function if it conjuncts a planet; and c) these endings work out through the houses and any other planets ruled by the planet an eclipse touches. If it does conjunct a planet which rules other planets as their dispositor, then those planetary functions will have some parts shut down, to be replaced with new expressions of that planetary “department of labor” or internal function.

Endings Allow Us To Begin Anew

Since “planets are people,” with all the planets representing various important people in your life, both past and present, if an eclipse conjuncts one of your planets, it’s likely someone representing that planet in your life with leave, or change dramatically. For example, if an eclipse conjuncts your Jupiter, expect a relationship with a Jupiterian, or someone with strong Sagittarius or Pisces in their charts, to end or go through such a radical change that it will seem like you're relating to an entirely different person.

If it impacts your Sun, expect the passage of someone of power, authority, or significance to your life or who illuminated you in some way. It may be someone with a “sunny disposition,” or someone who behaves like the ruler of a realm. If the Moon, someone from your past, someone who you cared for or cared for you, or someone who you were intimately familiar with will leave or change.

The same with Saturn and the rest of the planets. When an eclipse conjuncts your Saturn, it usually signifies the passing of an elder, someone in a position of power in your life, or someone who kept you under a limitation or fear. It also indicates the ending of an old duty, responsibility, or purpose in our lives so we can redirect the energy of Self-mastery to other ends.

If Saturn is our “Ring Pass Not,” or that part of our Higher Self which binds our lower self to certain limits until we are ready to grow in our awareness, then an eclipse affecting our Saturn, whether directly or indirectly, could indicate a time when old limits fall away, and we can direct our organized efforts to expand our ability to fulfill our life purpose. You can find out more about this by referring to chapter 5 in Saturn: Spiritual Master, Spiritual Friend

Every ending is beneficial because they remove obsolete elements in our lives, or people that no longer symbolize who we really are, or who we have become since we originally met them. Once we’ve fulfilled a potential, then either we use it to find new potential, or leave it to find another potential. In any case, we cannot put new wine into old wineskins, since they will burst open. We need new vehicles of expression from time to time, and eclipses help clear out what is no longer necessary or even useful.

As we grow, picking up some things and putting down others, old ways of doing our Being give way to new expressions, and old illusions give way to greater realizations. When a fulfilled planetary manifestation ends, we are free to recreate a higher and greater manifestation of that planet in our lives in new ways. Lesser Wisdom gives way to greater Wisdom, and lesser forms of love give way to greater Love.

All Eclipses indicate coming endings, obscurations, and the passing of people and things out of our lives, and maybe even deaths, both literal and metaphoric. We always are under the influence of several Solar eclipses from recent years, and there’s always a Lunar eclipse two weeks before or after a Solar eclipse. It’s like the Lunar eclipse shows us what is immediately passing, while Solar eclipses show us what is passing over many months and years.

Summing Up

Solar and Lunar eclipses occur several times a year, and not all eclipses are equally influential. As I offered earlier, the strength of an eclipse is determined by their magnitude (brightness) and longevity. Generally speaking, we’ve been on a run of very bright Solar eclipses for the past 8-9 years, with only their length fluctuating to any great degree. Some have been of VERY long duration, showing effects lasting years, while others have been so short that the influence came and went fairly quickly.

Taking a look at recent years, 2017’s Solar eclipses were relatively bright but only one was of any significant duration, while all of 2018’s Solar eclipses were relatively short and weak. The one in August 2018 was the strongest since Summer 2017, and slightly stronger than the one which occurred in January 2019. After that one, the Solar eclipses for July and Dec 2019 were long and strong, as were the two in 2020.

The June 10, 2021 Annular Solar eclipse was fairly bright and long, promising about 5 years of effects where we have 20 Gemini, with the most intense period lasting about 21 months beginning in late 2022. The Total eclipse of December 4, 2021 was bright but not very long, indicating a powerful effect where we have 13 Sagittarius which will last until early 2026, with the most intense period lasting a little over a year beginning around June 2023.

So the December 2021, the two Solar eclipses of 2022, and the first one in April 2023 are all fairly short, but beginning with the October 2023 Annular Solar eclipse into 2024 they are all very bright and very long. It would seem that late 2023 and all of 2024 is going to heat up in major way, especially since all the eclipses fall over the western hemisphere!

Because Lunar eclipse effects last a few months, and Solar eclipse effects last for years, it could also be said that Lunar eclipses distill essential elements which must be shut down in the weeks it is in play, in some way related to the larger changes portended by the Solar eclipse which always comes just before it or just after it. We can learn a lot about the timing on these endings by observing the transits happening before and after the Eclipses.

Often eclipse effects are not very obvious until a significant transit happens, triggering the previous eclipse related to that transit. That’s why an Eclipse can still be triggered years down the road by the outer planet transits, and demonstrates the importance of what houses and planets have been impacted by past eclipses. And as I mentioned, we always have several from the past that are still at work moving things out of our lives so we can attract other things more appropriate to who we are now.

See you soon with more about Solar Eclipses! In a few days we’ll begin our multi-part analysis of the coming Solar Eclipse at 30 Aries.

Reprinted on with written permission from Robert Wilkinson. Copying this article to other blogs is strictly prohibited. It is copyright protected. 

© Copyright 2023 Robert Wilkinson


© Copyright 2023 Robert Wilkinson -

About the author:

Robert wilkinson An internationally-known astrologer, author, public speaker, metaphysician, and futurist, with over 25 years experience as a counselor and educator. He has presented hundreds of public talks on all aspects of Astrology, the Eastern Wisdom tradition, the Western Wisdom tradition and promoted many mass gatherings and cultural events. Some of his specific areas of interest and expertise include personality profiles, degree patterns, integrative astrology, various aspect harmonics, among others.
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Reprinted on crystalwind.cawith written persmission from Robert Wilkinson.

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