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The April 2005 Annular Total Solar Eclipse

It must have been obvious to all at the time of the Aries Annular Total Solar Eclipse on 8/9 April this year that it was impacting Britain, as well as being implicated in the death of Pope John Paul II after a long period of illness. Hadn’t the Pope’s funeral caused the last minute cancellation of the wedding of the Prince of Wales and his long time mistress, Mrs. Camilla Parker Bowles, originally scheduled for the day before the eclipse? The heir to the throne (symbolized by the Sun in the Fifth House of celebrations in the eclipse chart for London) had been eclipsed by the death of a foreign religious leader (the eclipse square to Saturn in the Ninth House). The famous 17 th c. English astrologer, resident in the City of London, William Lilly, once wrote that "An Eclipse in an Aequinoctial Sign (i.e., Aries or Libra – L.S.), hath dominion, or shall signifie, or shall operate on such matters as concern the state and condition of....Ceremonies…. Popery, or things concerning the Papacy or Prelacy…." So, in fact, instead of the royal wedding taking place on the day prior to the eclipse, it was replaced by the Pope’s funeral in Rome and forcibly rescheduled for the following day—the actual day of the eclipse. A royal wedding taking place on a new but waxing New Moon eclipse seems much more appropriate and propitious than that the wedding chart would have contained a waning moon—more suitable for a funeral. It would appear that sometimes fate is stronger than free will.

19 Aries: The Sun's Exaltation

The eclipse took place at 19◦06’ Aries, which is the degree of the Sun’s exaltation in that sign, and in terms of Essential Dignity it is in "the Face of the Sun," or the decanate of Leo. Aries is the sign ruling England, and intriguingly, it is also the exact degree of the Total Solar Eclipse of 29 March 1652 (9:56 am, London), which was visible in England at the time, and which was given so much attention by Lilly in his seminal work Annus Tenebrosus. Lilly wrote, "Aries we know hath been acknowledged by all Astrologers to be the ascendant sign of England, and the English in their manners subject to the Condition of that Signe, and Mars who is Lord of the signe," and "The English nation have Aries the Ascendant of England; therefore let us observe that as often as...any memorable Eclips doth therein happen...... and we shall find cause to wonder at the wise ordering of the Almighty, who thereby acquaints us what he intends towards us near upon those times, either for our good or evill, and this assuredly and grounded upon the experience of at least twenty generations of men’. Also: ‘Of all the planets the Sun is the greatest fortune, nor is any planet so beneficiall or bountiful unto Mankind; therefore he being in the degree of his Exaltation and possessing England’s Horoscopicall signe is friend unto our Nation, and will make our Renowne to flourish all over the world." That eclipse of 1652 being total and falling in the Tenth House, he elsewhere referred to it as "this so Famous Eclips of the Sun" and "this great Eclips." (The probable reason that the sign Aries is said to rule England is because the chart for William the Conqueror's coronation in 1066 is thought to have been a noon one, therefore having an Aries Ascendant.)

The 2005 eclipse was not total, nor was it visible in England, but nevertheless it appears to have had quite a strong effect on that country. It is perhaps worth noting that it was conjunct Venus (2◦14’ orb), the ruler of the Seventh House of partners and open enemies in the London chart. As aware astrologers would note, the transiting North Node has presently been activating the eclipse within a degree. The nodal axis is a known trigger of eclipse energies, and added to this, transiting Mars—another powerful trigger, and ruler of the eclipse to boot—is also approaching an exact conjunction to the eclipse degree.

New Moon Conjunct MC in London

Bearing this in mind, if we then look at the chart for the 14◦31’ Cancer New Moon of 6 July 2005 for London, we can see that it fell right on the 13◦57’ MC (34’ orb), thus making it a highly significant lunation for that location. It was square to transiting Mars and the North Node, fairly close to the cusp of the Seventh House, and therefore also in a square position to the Aries Eclipse (4◦35’ orb) while, as I mentioned above, the Node was only 27’ separating from the eclipse position. In fact, there were no less than five planets in the Tenth House, which relates to both the existing government and the country’s public image. In the bi-wheel with the eclipse chart, the New Moon is seen to fall in the Ninth House of foreigners and foreign countries. The chart contained a yod, involving five planets and points at 10 degrees of signs, highlighting both the Tenth House and the Ascendant, and with Uranus in Pisces in the Fifth House of sporting competition at the apex. Chiron and Saturn were once again heading towards an exact opposition for the Fourth and final time of the current series, with Saturn in the Tenth House and Chiron in the Fourth House of the homeland, roots and patriotism.

So, after the euphoria of the previous weekend’s Wimbledon tennis final and the 10 hour free Live 8 Concert in London’s Hyde Park attended by up to 200,000 people and watched on television in Britain by approximately 10 million (Fifth House matters), on Wednesday, 6 July we then witnessed yet more elation as it was announced in Singapore by the International Olympic Committee that London had defeated its competitors, including New York, Moscow, Madrid, and the earlier favorite, Paris, to win the right to host the 2012 Olympic Games (obviously another Fifth House matter). It was intimated that Madrid had been passed over due to security fears generated by the March 2004 railway station bombing, a concern which proved somewhat ironic in the light of events to come. Astrologers would no doubt find it highly interesting that the dramatic announcement came at 12:49 BST, which was precisely 14 minutes before the exact New Moon! Surely this is more than just coincidence.

An exultant Prime Minister Tony Blair waxed lyrical, calling the win "a momentousday for London," and saying, "many people do reckon that London is the greatest city in the whole world at the moment." The Queen sent a message of congratulation to former Olympian, Lord Coe, chairman of the committee handling the British bid. Thousands of people in London’s Trafalgar Square cheered as they watched the announcement on the giant television screens, and champagne celebrations were launched elsewhere across the British capital. The Chairman of the I.O.C, Jacques Rogge, announced, "We are very, very pleased with the victory of London. People we trust, people we know will give us superb Games." This will be the third time that London will have hosted the Games, the only city to do so, so far—the previous times were in 1908 and 1948. London appeared to be center of the world stage, and why not? We have only to take into account all those Cancer and Leo planets in the Tenth House, including the Venus-Mercury conjunction in a partile sextile with Jupiter right on the Libra Ascendant (21’ orb) at the time of the New Moon, and as previously mentioned, the Annular Total Eclipse having fallen in the Fifth House, and with its ruler, Mars, being in a partile trine to Jupiter in Libra in the Eleventh House of groups of people. Likewise, around the time of the Sydney Olympics the Fifth House was highlighted in local charts for various eclipses and lunations. In this connection, Lord Coe was heard to comment, "This is just the most fantastic opportunity to do everything we ever dreamt of in British sport."

Ah, but we would be foolish to forget that Mars in rulership conjunct the North Node squaring the New Moon from the Seventh House. It might be seen to signify the losing competitors for the right to host the Games, and perhaps even the various countries’ representatives in the current week long Group of Eight "G 8" summit conference at Gleneagles in Scotland. (Scotland is ruled by the sign of Cancer, and we know that Saturn is about to leave that sign after two and a half years there). Perhaps, however, it might also signify enemies of a more serious nature.

Such would now appear to be the case. As the world soon discovered, precisely 20 hours after the New Moon and the dramatic announcement about the 2012 Games venue, at 8:51 am on Thursday, 7 July 2005 a bomb blast went off in the underground tube railway system, followed within a matter of seconds by two more blasts at other underground railway locations, and then about an hour later another was detonated on the top level of a double decker bus. It now appears that up to 50 people were killed in the explosions and hundreds more injured. Many of those injured appeared to have sustained severe head and facial injuries, presumably caused by flying glass and debris as well as in some cases burns, and this would seem to be linked to the eclipse in the sign of Aries, which rules the head and face. The city’s public transport system was sent into complete chaos for at least a 24 hour period. In the aftermath the following Friday morning, at the opening of trading the London Stock Exchange initially lost considerable ground, eventually however making it up at the end of the day. The official welcome home ceremonies for the Olympic bid personnel scheduled to take place at Heathrow was cancelled, citing the current circumstances. In the days following the catastrophe the dissident Islamic organization Al Qaeda was one of several which claimed responsibility for the terrorist attacks, indicating that it was retribution for England’s involvement in Iraq. It also might be wise to remember that the Solar Eclipse in the Fifth House of sporting competition had closely squared Saturn in Cancer (the sign of patriotism and security issues) in the Ninth House of foreigners.

So, had the Universe once again delivered another blow, based on the activation of a significant solar eclipse by the transiting Nodal axis and Mars (the latter ruling the eclipse, as mentioned), and directed at a country which was energetically aligned with the sign in which that eclipse had occurred? Had Fate once again showed its formidable potential for superiority over Free Will?

Should we nod our heads in agreement with William Lilly when he wrote that Eclipse, without question, the world being troubled by the defect of the Luminaries (viz. Sun or Moon) is ever attended, as we know by experience, with diseases, sad accidents, or concomitants of it. Or his further opinion that ‘The Sun at no time is in vain eclipsed, or hides his face by interposition of the Moon, without some prejudice at hand.

And yet Lilly quotes Marsilio Ficino as writing that "many things are foretold by means of the Heavenly bodies, as it were by signe, not by causes," and also elsewhere insists that the influence of the planets is "Non Cogunt" or "Not Fate."

Astro Data:

  • Annular Total Solar Eclipse 8 April 2005, 8:32 pm GMT, London.
  • New Moon 6 July 2005. 1:03 pm BST, London.
  • Bombing 7 July 2005, 8:51 am BST, London.


  • Lilly, William. Annus Tenebrosus. London. 1652.
  • Various on-line, electronic and printed media news reports of these events


Lisa Stephens began formal classes in astrology in March 1994, in Sydney, Australia, achieved her FAA Practitioners Certificate in 1998, and became a Foundation Member of the Association of Professional Astrologers (APA). In recent years she has turned her attention to writing and original research and has had a number of articles published.

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