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Musings on Eclipses


Eclipses make people nervous. They're associated with the births and deaths of kings, with evil gods consuming the sun or attacking the moon, and with other ill omens. The celestial serpent consuming its tail, the Ouroboros, which is a symbol of rebirth and destruction, is also associated with eclipses, as eclipses are said to occur when the serpent eats its tail. And who can blame our forefathers for believing these things? To our ancestors, the sight of the moon darkening the daytime sun or the moon turning blood red in the night must have been terrifying signs from the gods!


Eclipses have also fascinated us--rightfully so, as Earth is the only place in the solar system from which we can enjoy the sight of a total solar eclipse. Mercury and Venus have no moons of their own, Mars and the gas planets planets all have moons that are too small to produce a total solar eclipse, and while the moon Charon can produce a solar eclipse on Pluto, they always face the same way as each other and so only eclipses can only be seen on one side of Charon and Pluto. Earth is the only place where eclipses can be seen all around the planet.


Our moon is able to cover the sun exactly because it's the same apparent size as the sun from our perspective. In fact, the only time we can clearly view the sun's corona is during a total solar eclipse, when the moon shields us from the sun's full brightness and allows us to see the majestic halo of the corona for a few brief minutes.


The fact that the moon is the same size as the sun is astrologically significant. The sun represents our conscious ego identity and the moon represents our lunar self--the side of us that operates from our subconscious and deals with our feels and our emotional needs. The sun is the conscious, and the moon is the primal. The fact that they're both the same size from our point of view means that both are of equal importance and are equally valid. We cannot ignore one without consequences, and we need to attend to both to be healthy and balanced.


Eclipses are a time when the heavens and cosmic forces align and calibrate to send the planet (along with us) into its next stage of evolution. As my mentor Rebecca Gordon says, eclipses are times when we cross from one cliffside to another, and once the crossing is done, the bridge collapses behind us, and with it goes the option of going back the way we came. The only way is forward. In another word: Evolution.


Many astrologers will be going through what the eclipses this year means for each sign, and while I do this for my clients, I would prefer to focus on the poetry and symbolism of eclipses in general here. Eclipses activate the points of destiny, they signal growth on both micro and macro levels, and I would prefer to focus on the theme of alignment. Eclipses only occur when the sun and moon align with the lunar nodes--the points where the ecliptic, the path of the sun, lines up with the Earth's equator. In other words, the sun, moon, and the planet Earth must align in a specific way to produce an eclipse. Instead of thinking of eclipses in terms of "How will this eclipse affect me specifically?," I encourage everybody to think, instead, in terms of, "How can I find alignment during this time when the cosmos is aiding me?"


Wherever the eclipse falls in your chart*, that is where the possibility for alignment is the strongest. An eclipse is always followed by the opposite type of eclipse in the opposing sign two weeks later. The April 30th solar eclipse in Taurus is followed tonight by a lunar eclipse in Scorpio, the opposite sign to Taurus. These pairs of opposing eclipses promise to realign issues on the Taurus/Scorpio axis, as well as in the opposing houses in your own birth chart. In my chart, for example, it is a realignment of my 10th and 4th houses, my houses of career and home. (And, yes, I am very much thinking of making changes to those areas of my life right now.)


Don't be afraid of eclipses. Be afraid of imbalance. Look at eclipses as an opportunity to balance and align.


*To find what eclipses fall in your chart, plug in your birth details into astro.com to get a complimentary birth chart and find where 10º Taurus and 25º Scorpio are in your chart. Those are the areas being activated by the April 30th solar eclipse and the May 16th lunar eclipse, respectively.

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