Christmas present awaits us this year, although it’s in the sky over
our tree, rather than under it. At 12:35 pm EST, a partial solar eclipse
will occur at 4 degrees Capricorn. The idea of an impending eclipse
provokes an uncomfortable response in the public imagination, a response
perhaps rooted in our ancestors’ fear of this cyclical darkening of
the light. After all, watching the Sun or the Moon burn out like an
old bulb, even if it’s only temporary, just doesn’t seem to bode very
well. Perhaps a better understanding of what is really taking place
in eclipses can help us to see the promise and potential in them.
changed in astrology and astronomy over the millennia, but perhaps nothing
was more earthshaking among sky watchers than the Copernican revolution.
In advancing the same notions that got Gallileo arrested, Copernicus
knocked us Earthlings and our presumption off our throne at the center
of the solar system and put the Sun back in its rightful place. Still,
modern astrology continues to operate within the old geocentric, or
Earth-centered, framework. For example, we still measure planetary positions
from a geocentric, rather than a heliocentric (Sun-centered), perspective,
hence the retrograde, or backward, planetary motion that some planets
appear to indulge in from time to time. Planets do not move backward
around the Sun, but they certainly appear to do so from our perspective.
astrologers are well aware that the Sun is the center of the solar system,
but as most of our work, to date, takes place on planet Earth, we are
more concerned with how the movements of the solar system affect us
here, rather than on the Sun. So the geocentric system remains quite
useful, although many astrologers also use heliocentric positions in
their work. This is precisely what makes eclipses so special—they are
a strictly geocentric event. Eclipses are all about us, here on spaceship
Earth, and our relationship with the Sun and Moon.
of eclipses follows a regular pattern, one that even “stone-age” astronomers
were capable of tracking. A simple stone circle is all you really need,
but the tri-lithons of Stonehenge, rising from the Salisbury plain,
look so much more impressive. The basic problem is the same one that
causes the seasons: the tilt of the Earth on its axis. The Moon, because
she orbits the Earth, appears to wander back and forth across the path
of the Sun, or the ecliptic. If she just stayed on the ecliptic, it
would be so simple. We would have two total eclipses every month.
Sun is steady, moving one degree a day on his old straight track, the
Moon weaves her way north and south, crossing the Sun’s path twice a
month; once on her way north, and once again on her way south. We call
these junctures of the two paths the Moon’s North Node and South Node,
and regularly include them in astrological charts. They mark the points
of the Moon’s current orientation to the path of the Sun.
New Moon or the Full Moon occur close to the Moon’s Nodes, we experience
an eclipse, for that is the only time the Sun and Moon are in any position
to block each other’s light. At the New Moon (Moon conjunct Sun), the
Moon is between the Earth and the Sun. If she is close to the ecliptic,
she blocks the Sun’s light and we experience a solar eclipse. At the
Full Moon (Moon opposite Sun), the Earth is between the Sun and Moon,
and it is our shadow that blocks the light between them, causing a lunar
eclipse. The closer the Moon and Sun are to the Moon’s Nodes, the more
total the eclipse.
It is ironic
that our planet’s lone satellite is at just the right distance from
the Earth’s surface to appear exactly the same size as the Sun. Think
about it—with a slight change in size or position, we might not have
eclipses at all, certainly not total ones. Frankly, there are a number
of concerns about the size and orbit of our Moon that seem to defy the
notion of a natural origin, but this is hardly the place to go into
What Does It Mean?
it is clear from the above that an eclipse is not so much about losing
light as gaining focus. It marks a very tight alignment between the
Sun, Moon and our planet, and as such, highlights or bookmarks that
specific area of the zodiac where it occurs. In fact, business astrologers,
like Jeanne Long and Bill Meridian, regularly rely on eclipses when
examining charts for companies and their stocks. An eclipse that
aspects a company’s chart in a positive way is an indication of both public
approval and the fulfillment of goals.
Christmas eclipse unites not only the Sun and Moon, but Mercury too,
at 4 degrees Capricorn. This emphasis will particularly affect those
with planets in that degree area, although it will affect others in
the area associated with the house in which the eclipse falls in their
charts. The presence of Mercury encourages us all to think through and
communicate about the practical issues facing us. Our sense of Capricorn
authority and leadership has been shaken, and while there is great relief
that the election is over, there are many painful issues that must be
addressed in its aftermath. In the meantime, the economy has been lagging
and Capricorn has a way of making us all responsible. We need to marshal
our resources and prepare for winter, ensuring our family’s security.
what is practical and necessary, this Capricorn eclipse promises success
and achievement to those who are willing to take responsibility. Sometimes
you have to turn out the light in order to see!
information on eclipses see Nancy McMoneagle's "Eclipse
Alert—December 2000" or Kevin Burk's article
on the astrological effects of solar and lunar eclipses. From NASA,
Eclipse" and a U.S.
map showing what time you can see the event in your area.