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Why Are Solar Eclipses Special?

What Are Solar Eclipses and Why Are They Feared?

Eclipses have been considered major events for hundreds of thousands of years around the world, if not longer.

When the Sun and Moon occasionally darkened or disappeared except for a dim glow around them, people freaked out. Today we take a look at what eclipses are, and some eclipse lore related to what they supposedly bring.

Because the dimming of the Day Light and the Night Light were rare events, due to the superstitious nature of humanity, Solar and Lunar eclipses were regarded with fear, suspicion, and dread. As civilizations and their rulers came and went, ancient astrologers came to associate eclipses with the deaths of rulers, the fall of nations, and the end of old societies.

While I have seen eclipse effects which do bring endings and loss, I regard them as “cosmic recyclers” taking away what we no longer need because we’ve used up or fulfilled that potential. And because life abhors a vacuum, the voids created by our losses always bring us newer ways of “doing our Being,” replacing an old set of planetary patterns with new ones. This way we naturally release what we’ve outgrown since we originally adopted those behaviors and perceptions.

Solar and Lunar eclipses are frequent events which happen several times a year. I view them as fortunate events which initiate a time of letting go of lesser things and embrace greater things related to the house(s) the eclipses fall in. Eclipses are said to operate for a longer period of time than the usual New and Full Moons. We are told from antiquity that 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.

Recent Eclipses and Where They Fell

Each year there are (usually) two Solar Eclipses and two Lunar eclipses, but once in a while 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 see a total of 4 eclipses. There was 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. This article begins our exploration of the current October Solar eclipse, with more about the coming Lunar eclipse coming in a few weeks.

What Makes an Eclipse and How They Work

A Solar eclipse is a New Moon conjunct one of the Moon’s Nodes while a Lunar eclipse is a Full Moon conjunct both Lunar Nodes. That’s why they are associated with how the Moon’s nodes work, with the North Node showing what will be taken in as other things are released through the South node. Based in how the Nodes are activated by the Sun and Moon, it indicates effects associated with 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, whether it’s an eclipse or not. 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.

Some years the Solar eclipse happens before the Lunar eclipse, showing that the New Moon themes of the Solar eclipse will find immediate fulfillment in the two-week period after the Full Moon Lunar eclipse themes, and to some extent, the Solar eclipse themes will find fulfillment in the months the subsequent Lunar eclipse is in play. If the Lunar eclipse precedes the Solar eclipse, then the Lunar endings pave the way for the Solar endings which are fulfilled in the next non-eclipse Full Moon.

This Annular Solar eclipse at 22 Libra happens at 10:55 am PDT on October 14. This precedes the Partial Lunar eclipse ay 1:24 pm PDT October 28 at 6 Scorpio/Taurus. So this pair of eclipses, like the Spring eclipses, are divergent in their influences.

In the Spring, both eclipses had North Node in Taurus and South Node in Scorpio, with the difference being the Solar eclipse Sun was in Aries and the Lunar eclipse Sun was in Taurus. That means the Lunar eclipse at 15 Taurus/Scorpio fulfilled the previous Solar eclipse “seed form” of 30 Aries. In this set of eclipses both have North Node in Aries and South Node in Libra, with the Solar eclipse Sun in Libra and the Lunar eclipse Sun in Scorpio. That means the seed forms of 22 Libra will in some way be fulfilled by the Full Moon at 6 Scorpio/Taurus.

So at this time, 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?

There are many different series of eclipse cycles, with some recurring frequently, while other cycles can take decades or even centuries to recur. As I’ve given you before, tables of various eclipse cycles have been kept for thousands of years. I once read the ancient Babylonians had eclipse tables dating back 100,000 years or more.

Traditional astrology dictated that if an eclipse shadow fell on a specific part of the world, it would have dire consequences for the future of that nation. Primitive astrologers believed that an eclipse hitting a nation 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.

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.

Of note is the coming Solar eclipse also tracks across the US from northwest to southeast, with the path moving from southern Oregon through northeast Nevada, southwest Utah, far northeast Arizona, the heart of New Mexico, and through Midland/Odessa down through San Antonio into south Texas. And we have yet another coming in April 2024 with the path from southwest to northeast which will begin near the southern tip of Baja, go right through the heart of Central Texas from Laredo to Dallas up through northwest Arkansas, southeast Missouri, southern Illinois, most of Indiana, northwest Ohio, western Pennsylvania, through New York and up to Canada.

Taken together these three eclipses have a profound effect on the US, since they all cross major swaths of the nation. Like the coming eclipse in Libra, that also will cut through most of Texas, while also exactly bisecting the 2017 eclipse at the New Madrid fault line which is about 200 years overdue for a major earthquake!

Without this becoming a mundane astrology lesson of different empires crashing under the weight of their own excesses associated with 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 happen when “the great light” is obscured by the Moon for a brief period of time. A total obscuration is called a Total eclipse. A partial obscuration is called a Partial eclipse. All eclipses to some degree block the light of the Sun for a period of time, from a few minutes to a few hours, at specific areas on Earth. In places where Total eclipses are most visible, the skies go dim or dark for the number of minutes of greatest eclipse duration.

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.

The most intense phase of an eclipse is the Umbral phase. In the 2017 American Solar Eclipse the Penumbral phase lasted about 5 hours and 17 minutes, showing the general effect lasted from late August 2017 to December 2022. The Umbral phase lasted 3 hours and 15 minutes, which is equivalent to 3 years and 3 months. That indicates the most intense period of those eclipse effects were from September 2018 through December 2021.

While the October 2023 Solar eclipse also cuts across a big part of the US, the very long Total Solar eclipse cutting across the US coming in April 2024 is of extraordinary importance! 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.

In my many years of looking at charts, I’ve seen 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, we’re better off blessing the “Cosmic Recyclers,” saying goodbye the best we can for as long as it takes, and turn toward something new arriving in our lives.

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

By looking at the placement of eclipses in our charts and the aspects they make to our planets, we can see what’s leaving. Especially if an eclipse conjuncts a planet, we can expect an old way that planet expressed itself will end, as well as some activity in the house (life area) the Eclipse falls in. It also will lead to endings in the houses ruled by any planet it touches.

For example, if an eclipse conjuncts your Venus, assume that during the time the eclipse effects are active, you’ll end something related to your Venus, whether old ways of enjoying life, old values, or old relationships. You will see this work out in the house where the eclipse falls, as well as 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 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. It may accompany an end to an old way of doing things, or the end of a relationship with a Mercurial person.

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. You may see the end of a relationship with someone who has a prominent Saturn.

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. As with the other examples, you could lose an Aries, Scorpio, or someone with a prominent Mars.

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 some form of expressing and experiencing 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 each planet represents many people in our lives, with all the planets representing various people with those traits in your life, if an eclipse conjuncts one of your planets, you can expect that someone with that planet or one of the signs it rules will likely leave your life, or change dramatically in some way. 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 an obligation or restricted you in some way. An eclipse on our Saturn may indicate the end 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 into a greater awareness, then an eclipse affecting our Saturn, whether directly or indirectly, could indicate a time when old limits begin to fall away, and we can open our mature spiritual Self to a greater field of service and realization. I speak a lot about how to use our inner Saturn to become our Higher Self in an organized way in chapter 5 of Saturn: Spiritual Master, Spiritual Friend

Endings are beneficial because they remove things, attitudes, and responses we no longer need, as well as people who no longer are in synch with who we are or have become. Once we’ve fulfilled a potential, then either we find new potential, or leave what’s done to find another potential. In any case, we cannot put new wine into old wineskins, since they will burst open. Every time we leave old life chapters and enter new ones we have to find new ways to “do our Being,” and eclipses help clear out what is no longer necessary or even useful.

As we grow we try on new things while setting aside others. Our old ways of interacting and being naturally who we are give way to new expressions, and old illusions give way to greater realizations. When we fulfill all we need to related to how one of our planets expresses itself, by letting go we free ourselves to create a better, more perfect way of expressing that planet in our live. Lesser Wisdom gives way to greater Wisdom, and lesser forms of love give way to greater Love.

All eclipses indicate coming endings, obscuration’s, 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. How strong an eclipse is relates to their magnitude (brightness) and longevity. Generally speaking, we’ve had mostly very bright Solar eclipses for the past 8-9 years, with different lengths. Some have been VERY long, with effects which lasted years, while others were so short the influence came and went fairly quickly.

Taking a look at recent years, the August 2018 eclipse 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 were 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! This week will feature our multi-part analysis of the coming Solar Eclipse at 22 Libra.


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

© Copyright 2023 Robert Wilkinson

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© Copyright 2023 Robert Wilkinson - https://www.aquariuspapers.com

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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