by Boots Hart, CAP

Monday, September 2, 2013

Eclipse Effects Begin

The August 1, 2008 Solar Eclipse as photographed by NASA

Beyond being the most spectacular astronomical event we the People of Earth get to see with our unaided eyes is how solar eclipses mark a moment of vast metaphysical potential.

What we have to gain through this process is huge…even though achieving those gains often forces us to let something go.

Why that would be is simply human nature. We humans are masters of self-compromise. Though we know who we are, what we’re capable of and that person we “should be” (in spite of our foibles, weaknesses and all) deep inside, we do tend to ‘make do.’ We compromise. Society, life, people, economics…there are a variety of reasons why we tend to cut ourselves short.

Some of them even advocate doing just that. We get thousands of messages thrown at us from when we’re small to when we’re old which urge us to do the ‘approved’ thing and to ‘carry on’ some tradition.

Yet we’re not always born to do that. On the purely metaphysical level we are born to be who we are simply created to be. So fortunately or unfortunately for us, the universe has ‘ways’ of pushing us to be that person. And if it takes stripping away whatever it is we’re using to temporize or compromise with – or our excuses or defenses or whatever – that’s what life is going to do.

And the astrological ‘timing device’ which most often clocks this process is the solar eclipse. Yes, there are transits and transits come and go. But that’s the point. If your planets are all clustered (numerically) at one end of the zero-through-thirty degree scale it’s possible to go as much as a decade without encountering a major Pluto ‘get your head out of your…’ transit. Or a squishy smack-down with Neptune’s abilities to disappoint and amaze us because we’ve been believing something which was utter bunk. Or some discovery or disruption which signifies that singular energy which is Uranus.

But we get two ‘solar eclipse’ seasons every year. Those eclipse numbers (the degrees at which eclipses take place) cycle over and over again throughout our life on a 19 year (Metonic) cycle...moving ever, ever so slowly with each successive 19-year turn, representing  (theoretically speaking) the time we need to learn our lessons and thereafter make good on our potential.

Even the eclipse which doesn’t aspect your chart within orb or planet, node or axis is going to be reflected in the life being lived all around you – and thus in your life.

Solar eclipses are an affect of the Sun, and in astrology, the Sun equals life. So in keeping with solar eclipses as nature’s most dramatic display, they’re also the most metaphysically active in our world.

You know, our lives and our sense of life.

It’s also worth considering how eclipse ‘seasons’ (that period of time which as a whole is under the auspices of an impending solar eclipse) are so prevalent in our lives. On the average, we experience two solar eclipses every year – though there are years when we get two solar eclipses during one eclipse season (with a lunar eclipse sandwiched in-between). But it’s the time factor which seems so striking here, as each eclipse season begins with a two-month (8 week) ‘break down’ season which precedes the solar eclipse.

That means we’re spending approximately four months a year – a third of each calendar year – under solar eclipse effects.

And you thought life was supposed to be about a process which is peaceful and calm? Apparently not!

But maybe the most evocative – and illuminating factor with this ongoing solar eclipse cycling is how as transits, solar eclipses evolve over a full period of 36 months (3 years).

And during that time, other eclipses occur.

Through the centuries, astrologers have noticed two interesting (if somewhat peculiar) patterns about how the eclipse transit matures. The first involves that ‘break down’ period which precedes the eclipse. Events which occur during this time are what we tend to remember about that eclipse period, and yes, there is a ‘dotted line’ between those events and the eclipse theme. But to really understand the native process we have to remember that solar eclipses are all about taking away that thing which is preventing us from being the person we are created to be. So while the ‘created to be’ symbolism will be denoted by where the solar eclipse hits in your chart, what or how you’re compromising your ability to BE that person may seem totally unrelated.

The symbolism of the solar eclipse has the Moon (everyday life and our feelings about that life) aligning to ‘block out’ the Sun – which is why whatever we’ve been doing to compromise our Self will get ‘blocked’ or ‘blacked out’ (taken away or eliminated) as life moves to ‘reveal’ to us the need to be or become that special person we were created to be - as symbolized by the solar corona.

The second factor in the solar eclipse pattern is the one far less talked about, even if it’s as important as the first. This second factor has to do with the overall purpose of the eclipse.

Before the eclipse happens, that thing which we are doing which is temporizing, compromising or even avoiding that part of our life which we know (deep down) we should be dealing with but which we’ve put aside in favor of things which are easier, more acceptable (to others, certainly) or whatever else… that ‘thing’ starts to feel very ‘intense’ and often problematic. We tend to project the problem onto others because goodness knows, we’re happy with our temporizing, our blockading our own growth, our “acceptable” (or “accepted”) pattern of personal compromise.

But the problem isn’t ‘them’…the issue is that we are not living a life which is authentically in keeping with who and what we are and we need to deal with being or becoming.

Not surprisingly, there are a lot of relationship and job problems which crop up during eclipse lead-in periods. Financial issues will pop up, health issues will arise. And some of these can be utterly devastating – certainly on the level of our very mortal day-to-day established concept…our built-up ‘habit’ as to how we live our life.

But solar eclipses don’t take anything we really need away from us. That would be counter-productive to life’s process. So no matter what we think our life is “supposed to be” (and how we’re “supposed” to go about living that life) the eclipse takes away whatever we’re temporizing with in order to force us to use those tools or attributes we’ve been ignoring (or covering up).

As we go through life…as eclipse cycles pile up…slowly we begin to recognize who and what we’re really supposed to be. So the eclipse break-down rolls through and another layer of our mask is peeled away and depending what has been hit in our chart we shudder at our utter nakedness before our Self.

But then we start to move through the processing of the eclipse and the coping with what we need to do now that ‘that’ has been taken away. This period lasts a good two-to-and-a-half years, at which point something happens. And that shift, that opening of a new phase of development, that’s the most interesting part of any solar eclipse. Whatever happens then could not have happened (or “gotten to us”) if we hadn’t gone through having some portion of our temporizing or blockading mask stripped away.

Thus is revealed the ultimate “purpose” of that eclipse.

Nineteen years after any major eclipse, life will revisit the issue of whether we have grown. I describe this to my clients as the difference between going around in circles and climbing a helix. If we got the message and learned our lesson the first time around, then life hands us an opportunity to move on and take what we’ve learned to a new and higher level. That may be a little inconvenient, to be sure (who said life was convenient?) …but it will tend to not be as utterly painful or disastrous.

Truth is, it could be rather wonderful…but only if we’ve really learned whatever lesson is associated with the aspected symbolism in our chart.

You know, the what we need to be in life because that’s who we really are underneath all the conditioning and compromise.

But meanwhile, other eclipses have been rolling through, bringing us to the point in our program where we have to discuss a few celestial mechanics. Eclipses are a function of Sun, Moon, Earth and the intersections of the Moon’s path around the Earth (our personal life and inner psyche) and Earth’s path around the Sun – the ecliptic or ‘path of life.’

Where those two ‘paths’ intersect are two points known as the Lunar Nodes.

The symbols of the Lunar Nodes. The emblem which opens at the bottom is the North
Node, representing something which takes a great effort to do and which we probably
don't really want to have to be dealing with. The node with the opening at the top is
the South Node: the thing we find easy to do and which we are all about wanting to
do instead of our North Node work. Many a large life problem can be tracked to our
reluctance to do whatever it is our North Node is asking us to do  - and those
problems are often 'set off' (triggered) by solar eclipses.  

In essence, a solar eclipse is a New Moon (just like we get every month) but because this New Moon happens within fifteen degrees of the Lunar Nodes, what is indicated is a lining up of Earth, Moon and Sun such that we end up having the eclipse.

Because the nodes represent this idea of ‘intersection’ they represent how our life intersects with those around us…and with the world we live in. And that’s why eclipse effects tend to affect everything and anything – relationships, jobs, health, money, family - which has to do with how we go about ‘intersecting’ and ‘operating’ in this world.

The idea which is important here is the fact that the lunar nodes cycle backwards through the zodiac, a directive of motion which I have likened to “bringing things home to us” a couple of times. (A couple of times at least, I’m guessing.)

What that means in the timing of eclipses is that the yearly eclipse seasons also cycle backwards…which gets into that 3-year thing we were talking about.

For ease of discussion’s sake, here’s a chart of the past few year’s worth of eclipses…

To orient you, the solar eclipses are in yellow (noted by degree), lunar eclipses are in blue (ditto) and the colored bars around them indicate the break down periods which precede each eclipse, color coded by the zodiacal element in which the eclipse will occur. Green is earth, indicating a ‘structural’ element of life, the teal color is water, indicating an emotional element of life (or our orientation towards emotionality), blue is air, indicating the ‘idea’ of something as we have been working with it and the orange is fire, representing the method or ‘vision’ we have for our lives.

One other note for accuracy’s sake…we had two mid-year solar eclipses in 2011. Obviously the early August solar eclipse at 9 Cancer would have begun its break down period in the latter part of June, as the first solar eclipse (at 11 Gemini) and the 24 Sagittarius lunar eclipse were rolling through.

Lets just with the fact that charts are useful, but not perfect.

Anyway…a you will notice, the solar eclipse sequence (in yellow) has been slowly rolling back through our calendar months. And that brings us to the magic question of ‘which eclipse is now nearing its end?’

The answer to that question is: the January 2011 solar eclipse at 13 Capricorn is now coming to it’s ‘fruition’ point as we are moving into the break down period preceding the November 2013 solar eclipse which will take place at 11 Scorpio.

This being where the 3-year eclipse timing gets a little spongy, new structures (earth/Capricorn) are now coming into being. So is it about six months prior to January 2014 we should be thinking about as the ‘finalizing’ point of the January 2011 eclipse? Or should we be thinking about six months prior to the November 2013 eclipse since eclipses – even though they operate in independent cycles (known as “Saros cycles”) are also part of the ongoing and eternal unfurling of time and manifestation?

Answer: both. So to put this in more or less calendar terms, six months prior to this November’s eclipse (which would be early, early May 2013) a shift occurred. This shift would have been particularly notable in the lives of anyone whose chart “answers” to 13 Capricorn… which is to say, anyone with a planet/dwarf planet (even Plutino), node or axis point between 8 and 18 of Capricorn, Libra, Aries or Cancer, between 11 and 15 degrees of Sagittarius, Aquarius, Gemini or Leo.

Using this photograph of a relief in Egypt's Temple of Luxor which Hedwig Storch took
in 2009 purely as an illustration, the Sabian Symbol for 13 Capricorn is as follows: AN ANCIENT
which astrologer-philosopher keynoted as "The will to unearth, in our culture as well as in
any culture, what has permanent value , and to let go of non-essentials" which in a greater
scope of thinking asks us to consider the importance of being who we are in a world which
is all too easy to get over-involved in, or molded and seduced by. 

We all will get some effect in our lives. But those whose charts include objects at those degrees? You know who you are and the whack you felt back in late 2010 is now evolving into a whole new thing you wouldn’t have gotten into had that not happened.

How well (or badly) have you coped with that process?

Well, lets just say that if your chart also answers to 11 Scorpio, chances are you either need some modification on your ‘coping strategy’ OR you’re now being given the opportunity to rebuild “that thing” in a new and more genuine (to you) manner.

What degrees are affected by 11 Scorpio, orb-wise? This list includes 6 through 16 of the fixed signs (Scorpio, Taurus, Leo and Aquarius) as well as 9 through 13 degrees of the semi-sextile and inconjuncted signs: Libra, Sagittarius, Gemini and Aries.

The more items/objects in your chart which are affected (cumulatively) by these two eclipses point at where on what we might think of as the human sliding scale of personal earthquakes your life effects will be…and will have been.

Oh yes – and IF your Sun, Moon or natal Lunar Nodes are involved in either list by degree, double that quotient.

If you’re only affected by one eclipse, fine. If you’re effected by both eclipses, get ready for a roller coaster ride.

With that said, we DO have the option of utilizing the eclipse voluntarily. Like all other astrological transits, eclipses operate as something akin to a 100% pie graph.

When any transit comes along, especially if you can spot is as something difficult, your using the energy in a directed manner ‘eats up’ whatever portion of the pie, leaving less of that energy to come back and bite you. Famed astrologer (and all round nice guy) Robert Hand put this best: use the energy wisely, lest it use you unwisely.

Six months prior to the “official” end of the January 2011 solar eclipse cycle rolled through at the start of August, 2013. Did you realize something important was shifting? Did you feel yourself growing or beginning to ‘reopen’ yourself to possibilities with regards to whatever ‘broke down’ in that November-December 2010 period?

With all that in mind, we turn to the two degrees of the solar eclipses involved in this discussion. The first is 13 Capricorn, a degree known to manifest through strength of character and the willingness to take on the difficult challenge…which yes, may be with regards to others but which intrinsically – and especially when we speak of 13 Capricorn as being the degree of a solar eclipse has to do with being challenged to be that Self that you are, and to do so in such a way which ‘owns’ your Self on a true and valid level of integrity while not walling everyone else out.

Not the easiest thing to do, that.

Bringing 11 Scorpio into the mix by solar eclipse brings out questions of childhood and cultural experience and “conditioning” – those ‘messages’ we get which we either accept or reject. And yes, sometimes we reject the message and become the messengers – which is to say, in spite of all our dislike of someone who acted a given way or who foisted their agenda on us, we may tend to do that to others. (Being human just isn’t ever easy!) There’s a tendency noted with 11 Scorpio to get SO involved in minutia that qualities of the ‘bigger picture’ get ignored…and this is also one of those Scorpio degrees which raises those Scorpio issues of jealousy and possessiveness which are really about some fear of loss, abandonment or marginalization.

Called 'Hofball in Wien,' this 1900 painting by Wilhelm Gause (which is housed in Austria's
State Museum at Vienna) suggests one of the many ways to think of the Sabian Symbol
for 11 Scorpio, which reads as follows: AN OFFICIAL EMBASSY BALL. Again drawing from
Dane Rhudyar's writing in 'An Astrological Mandala' we are given the keynote about this
degree as 'Group-consciousness, as it flowers at the highest level in cultural interchanges
between representatives of the elite of the ruling class.' The thing which seems important
here, especially in light of the tying together of these two eclipse symbols is our potential
- as individuals - to be some sort of 'elite representative' of something in our own life, and
how important that is to develop without losing sight of the fact that we learn in order to invest
our learning in a world which rewards us for our efforts to be the better and even best person we
can be, and how in doing that, we shift our sense of 'where I belong' to the company of others
who are "elites" in their own right by virtue of having done their work, and the rewards
we thus achieve through building our world in conjunction with those willing to invest effort in
their humanity and human potential, not merely in the pretense of appearances.

Put the two together and it would seem that this is an important time to work towards ‘owning’ our Self while not blocking others out in spite of the fact that situations – be they centered in career ambitions or relationships or financial security – are not about the job or the career or the money or that one person you may be so close to.

They’re about us. The Sun is the Sun in our life for us and in the life of someone else as they go about being who they are.

What this may open up – especially for those who have access to the charts of other people – are opportunities to share and discuss how we’ve felt about things which have happened to us…and how we feel about what’s going on right now. Scorpio has a strange way of getting us to make ‘presumptions’ about someone else, be it the good or the bad in them or about their life path.

Great alliances can now be forged. But we have to choose to forge them without losing our Self...and without losing what we've learned through whatever happened back in 2010 which forced us to reassess or relearn how to deal with our sense of structure (or how to structure our lives) which happened in the wake of the January 2011 eclipse.

Call it a sharing of pies…which means it may go nicely with ice cream, or maybe just a nice cup of coffee or tea. You go with sharing our lives with others, be that through conversation, emotional (Scorpio) commitment, personal example or chosen deed - all of which are daring in that they ask us to risk what we are afraid of most in the search for inner security and ultimate contentment and satisfaction.


  1. My mother died December 14th 2010

    1. It's a testimony to how often we associate with people whose "chart numbers" (the degrees of their placements) are similar to our own to hear you say this, Kate. Most of us experience the loss of our parents...its a profound passage which evolves - yes - over time. Hopefully now you are getting some perspective on who you are and who you have become in that time, and if this post evoked any pains 'left unsolved,' I'm sorry to have done that yet I would guess it's time to deal with them as well.

      There are any number of people in my life whose charts are about to be 'eclipsed' this November in one way or another. Eclipses are funny beasts in that you can try like all get-out to do the work and use the energy and often life will still throw a curve ball at you. For those who were hit by the January 2011 (13 Capricorn) eclipse (the effects of which would have been felt in November and December of 2010), that this incoming eclipse is in Scorpio - the 11th harmonic to that Capricorn eclipse suggests that we will be experiencing some reverberation...or maybe be ready for some sort of re-entry...or tests, changes or opportunities (depending on how we dealt with our 2010/2011 evolution) the area of friends, income and our general sense of our 'place in the world' or world society.

      Thank you for sharing Kate. As always, you're the soul of generosity.