An Annular Eclipse
(photo credit: Sancho Panza, October 2005)
From this shift, exposure and need to re-evaluate our perceptions will come a new phase of development, experience and resultant utilization of abilities.
And though we may need such changes, let’s be real - we may not like going through them. There is something about the solar eclipse process which, with all due respect for dentistry is rather like having teeth extracted without painkillers.
There is a level at which we should take that sort of difficulty as a hint, perhaps. Why? Because throughout the millennia, the observation of solar eclipse effects on humans and in this world includes some of our very worst attributes.
You know...that very popular human sport called “being stubborn.”
Mind you, having opinions is lovely and standing for what you believe in and who you are the most necessary of things in this world. (Those who can’t do even that much have a very hard time.) And stubbornness has it’s place - no question. But when we are stubbornly refusing to know ourselves...that’s where eclipses come in.
Eclipses are very mysterious timekeepers. But they do seem to clock out areas of our life which will get exposed to us no matter what else happens and who else does, or doesn’t see.
Also: in the case of eclipses - a “blinding” object in the sky - IF someone else ‘sees’ you in the middle of dealing with your eclipse puzzle, whether or not they react you may be assured that witnessing is part of their own process. In other words (to quote a seriously Leo female I used to work with), ‘it’s so NOT about YOU.’
Well, mostly not. There is this factor of ‘like attracts like’ (metaphysical water/emotions seeking its/their own level) between people at eclipses and for good or bad, whether we like it or not the polarizing effects have much to teach us, if we’re only willing to learn.
So...do we value learning more or sticking with a ‘decided upon’ perspective or set of priorities?
Right now...right in this moment as we move into and through the solar eclipse, something will end or get ‘blacked out’ as the metaphysical ‘eclipsing’ of our former ‘norm’ - “the way we thought things were” gets wiped away.
This doesn’t have to be violent. It doesn’t even have to be unpleasant, though eclipses in Taurus tend to be particularly trying as they reveal things which, while they may or may not make us vulnerable in reality, sure feel that way.
It’s a prescription for insecurity - all of which we are being ‘told’ (astrologically) is going to challenge us with our own ability to act on faith...or to be faithful to some promise and/or precept.
Solar eclipses happen about every six months, reminding us of our mortality in the sense that events which happen during ‘eclipse seasons’ operate at a mental latitude omnipotent, humbling and incomprehensible in the moment. The sextile from Neptune (at 7 Pisces) to the eclipse (at 8 Taurus) signals a manifesting, an outpouring or ‘bursting forth’ of all things which confuse and disorient us precisely so that we can see or witness something different...or at least differently than we have seen it.
From that will come a nebulous strew of new perceptions, some of which - at least - will challenge us to be more honest with our Self.
And if we can’t (or won’t) go there...then we feel our own pain most acutely. It’s easy to make excuses now. It’s easy to do that which makes us feel better in this moment. Yet even the most determined (or hard headed, depending) among us are likely to have doubts at the moment. Whatever we’re involved in (or not involved in), there’s no clear path through the fray.
We will cope, of course. With the degree of this eclipse being 8 Taurus this time is simply personal in nature - and equally so for each and every one of us, whether you’re baking cookies at home or being focused on by schools and scads of media on some high profile international stage. In some way reflective of our ability to think ahead, adapt along the way and plan for the proverbial ‘rainy day’ (whether that’s past or present) we are at something of a ‘checkpoint’ in time - an idea quaintly referred to by the eclipse’s Sabian description ‘A fully decorated Christmas Tree.’
Can this reference be religious? It could be, but since the origin of Christmas is northern-hemispheric it’s as (or more) likely that this reference is to cyclic renewal: the idea that late December is when in the northern hemisphere days start growing longer and (solar) renewal is thus promised.
There will be another growing season, another harvest, we have more time, we can try, try again.
Evidently we humans like knowing there’s brighter light ahead. Before Christmas and around the globe humans have always celebrated the moment when we feel life quicken and begin to grow.
We celebrate it in our calendar, we celebrate it when in the moment when we learn of a human’s conception - or see their birth. Such things transcend our differences as societally, culturally, globally accepted moments worth celebrating even in the life of our dearest enemy.
Okay...so maybe we won’t celebrate the birth of their child as they would, but we’d probably stop shooting at them long enough to let them kiss their newborn.
Those who don’t and won’t go that far may win in some short run, but in doing so either seed or reveal their monster/monstrous tendencies...which only begs the question when they’ll notice that the psychic blood being spilled is really theirs.
Solar eclipses are not gentle. Solar eclipses often manifest in group experiences but are always and eternally about us - who we are as individuals and our ability to recognize, realize and/or deal with who we are.
At the moment, this entire process is highly amplified and yet strangely ‘inaccessible’ - that being the manifestation of that pesky Mars still in (Libra) retrograde which remains with us until-and-through Mars’ May 20th station - a station which will open doors to ‘move forward’ starting at the ‘theoretical/mental’ end of things with actions and “progress” (as we see it) slowly picking up pace as we move through June. Prior to May 20th the (Mars/Libra retrograde) ‘gap’ between the ‘me’ and ‘them’ (or ‘it’) of life will tend to feel like isolation. Where we are and where we want to be are just not in synch. We can think of this as being given us a bit of ‘space’ and “mental room” and many of us will do (and have been doing) just that.
But there is that (Neptunian) insecurity. And if there’s anything humans don’t like, it’s feeling insecure.
And why would that be? Could it be that insecurity stems from feeling that our personal power (or power to be the person we are) is being threatened?
Or maybe we aren’t “all that” (with or without the bag of chips)?
The good news is that we’re all in this together. The bad news is that there is no clear-cut solution to whatever it is we’ve gathered onto our plate...nor are we all that happy about having to confront knowing about all those choices which got us to wherever we are at the moment.
But then, so did everybody else. And if E=mc2’d...or if you merely want to think about Existence as a single thing which at whatever level manifests as the whole of what it is in every given moment, then you...me...the doorknob and your computer, we are ALL energy.
As is all the space between us - which really means we’re contiguous...from which vantage point individuality takes on a whole other perspective: that of knowing our part in order to play our part in a Whole which provides all we need and all we could ever conceive of or want.
So given that, who are we fighting when our feelings prompt us to upset? It’s a whole different question, isn’t it?
And one which is not all that comfortable to deal with as generational shifts continue evolving. Deep within we want things to change - we just aren’t sure that anyone else knows how to do the right thing.
Then again, neither do we. Our lives social, societal, worldly and planetary are all changing, bringing about a wholesale crumbling of old allegiances (Pluto/Sabine) and whatever attitudes or perspectives have outlived/completed their usefulness in our lives, our world, our life and times.
Whatever (Pluto/Vega) appeal brought such qualities to the fore is beginning to fade, asking that we (Pluto) transform our Self - not that (Uranus) change is very easy. The innate difference between Plutonic and Uranian processes has pitted us against our own ability to tolerate inexorable inevitabilities we may or many not like amidst an aura of fractious reactivity, ‘shaking us’ at an entirely (TNO Typhon) primal level and as always, Uranus will manifest as situations which 'exert' change in a more abrupt force where we are unwilling or unable to be sufficiently flexible.
Given the ongoing Mars/Libra retrograde, we may see such displays in others...Or we may feel like someone is ‘doing’ something “to” us (or even with us in mind) when that very concept is far less (if at all) about them and (more or less) entirely about why we’re reacting to them in the manner that we're doing.
We feel like it wasn’t long ago (Diadem @ 9 Libra) when in comparison to this moment, things were simple. And part of us does know that the difficulties of this moment are valuable because whether we like it or not, some of humanity’s most valuable (Diadem) lessons come not from joy but through the discomfort of times when we fight the hardest with our Self.
And this is where solar eclipses get so interesting. In moving over our world they move through our lives erupting in whatever sort of event or situation will bring out our weaknesses - in this case, our weakest values.
Priorities - particularly those we have been comfortable with allowing or identifying with (not to mention being known for) either have or will form lasting (Lachesis) images (Photographica) we will carry forward for some time to come.
Our challenge: not to get (Europa) carried away and not to (Uranus in Aries) over-react. Innovations and various forms of ‘catching up’ are needed and meeting those needs will require (Uranus change)...and probably some degree of sacrifice (Alpheratz) as we relinquish old ideas and ways of thinking, particularly about who we ‘are’ (or need to be) in our own eyes - or those of others.
That all of this comes to us in the form of a grand cross suggests a period of days...even weeks...which with whatever else they bring will also pose challenges, challenges which through their very lack of resolution cause us to question.
Some of our questions will ask why we’ve (Capricorn) come to this place. Some of our questions will ask what we can do in the (Libra) face of feeling like nothing can be done. Some of our questions will cause us to want to know why it is that as individuals or whatever form of family, group or alliance we have such issues (Cancer) with living a fruitful, peacefully productive life. Are we really at such cross-purposes with an other, or with our (Aries) Selves?
All of which brings us to the most symbolic and astro-mythic figure in this side of this eclipse as represented by fixed stars Hamal and Schedir being at 7 Taurus, just a degree off the eclipse itself.
8 Taurus manifests generally as sensitivities and difficulties, one which feeds the other. Responsibilities become focal whether our issue is a rejection of responsibility or our being overwhelmed in the face of responsibilities we don’t know how to (or simply can’t) handle with the whole of this degree being somewhat more ‘airy’ (idea-driven) than many a more earthy, ‘reality oriented’ Taurean degree. With the eclipse at 8 Taurus it is the ‘idea’ of the value we have lacked - most of all in our Self - which in becoming exposed changes our ‘playing field.’
Against this, 7 Taurus is a highly corporeal degree - and one known for its focus on ‘physical existence.’ Not known as a particularly pleasant degree, 7 Taurus tests our ability to cope with painful realities which at some level are the result of choices made, perhaps over time (read: probably within the last eclipse cycle of 19 years) which did not fully grasp or ‘embody’ the reality of consequences - be they theoretical, physical or...considering the ‘trigger’ on this lesson is a solar eclipse...life changing in terms of how we regard life, whether or not our lives are touched in any moment-to-moment manner.
As for the stars, as primary/alpha star in the constellation Aries the Ram, Hamal (alternate name: El-Nath) stands for either the type of (Saturn/Mars) focus and motivation which could be typified as ‘determined effort’ ...or (at the other end of the polarity string) something akin to ‘limited options’ or ‘restricted range’ (implication: of activity, motion or effectiveness). Like most fixed star effects, Hamal’s ‘backdrop to life’ quality tends to take on some ‘coloration’ from whatever is associated with it or in its constellation (Aries) at the time the star is ‘triggered,’ as it is being by a solar eclipse one degree away.
As photographed by NASA and ESA, HST-G1 (also known as Mayall II)
near the core of the Andromeda Galaxy (Sept 2006)
The eclipse is in Taurus, to be sure. But with the ‘currently transiting Aries’ list currently being headlined by Uranus and dwarf planet Eris, that points to changes which come about through whatever puts us in position to be tumbled into periods of self-confrontation.
And considering how few people really like that sort of thing, we can hardly expect things to be powder puff pink and cutely rosy. Considering the retrograde implications here (Mars rules Aries), something about ‘them’ hits ‘home’ to (Aries) on a personal level by whatever means will promote careful (even critical) reflection. The more (Libra) ‘married’ we are to ‘them’ or their (Libra) ideas, or the more we tend to impose, restrict or reject others when and where they are simply different, the more difficult things will seem.
In other words, we need to know and be who we are, as do others. But to the extent that this equation (either the being or doing or both) is out of balance, things now won’t ‘pay’ or ‘play out’ as anticipated and the more problematic the moving ‘through’ this eclipse period is likely to be.
Situations have now broken down to where we can either ourselves or feel our own inner walls. Why we have those walls is part of our metaphysical corona - the opportunity to see in Self and life that which ordinarily gets lost in day-to-day doings. Once we get through that...once we get honest (at least with our Self)...then we move on.
Constellations Cassiopeia (center), Andromeda (lower left), part of
Perseus (upper left) and the edge of Cepheus (middle/right)
The myth behind Schedir is that of Cassiopeia, the beautiful if arrogant and vain queen of Ethiopia. To those who know the tale of Niobe this story will sound familiar - though there are a few key differences. Where Niobe claimed her children were more beautiful than the collective intellectual attributes represented by Apollo (the truth of enlightenment) and sister Artemis (the truth of experience), Cassiopeia merely claimed her children were more beautiful than the sea nymph daughters of Neptune (Poseidon) known as the Nereids - which is another way of announcing that she (Cassiopeia) was so wonderful that things she could do (or produce) would be more valuable to human beings than the products of their (Neptune/Poseidon) feelings.
I’m sure you hear some bad times brewing behind this highly mythic sort of assertion, and for those pondering in that direction, you would surely be right - although this is not the ‘arrow to the heart’ solution reaped by Niobe for her arrogance. Arrows and such being the things of airy flight, that is not how Neptune (emotionalism) chose to punish Cassiopeia. Instead he sent Cetus (a monster of our unconsciousness or ‘the monstrous image’) to attack Ethiopia itself...which is a curious way of saying that the arrogance of our emotions and/or emotional assertions is fully capable of damaging that we stand for, say we love or are trying to lead, protect or otherwise be in charge of.
How Cassiopeia responded to this situation appears to be not so noteworthy. But when king and husband Cepheus learned of the impending attack he sought out advice from an oracle. And when that oracle said the only way to save his kingdom was to sacrifice his own daughter Andromeda, that’s what Cepheus chose to do. In chose country over family he also chose intellectual ideal over emotional commitment - an idea metaphysics has long spoken of in discussions about mythic male and female character images. They aren’t ‘man’ and ‘woman’ in other words, they’re the naturally assertive and responsive parts of our individual nature... which makes this conversation at least in part about the ‘seed of the child’ within us as Alpheratz - the fixed star in conjunction with Europa in the eclipse’s grand cross - is a star located
To finish with the myth, Andromeda was duly chained to a rock at the ocean’s edge and abandoned.
Andromeda by Gustave Dore
As is our more ‘heroic’ self Perseus represents whatever part of us which has seen the bad, which has survived the ugly, which knows to look at fears in reflection. It is not that Perseus - or that we always know how to attack the problem of those dangerous emotions which can appear from the psychic deep to threaten us, but that we need to face the real need to try our best which counts.
So...over the past two months (more or less), life has evidenced and provoked situations and experiences which reveal to us the embodiment of everything which has gone wrong in areas which are (8 Taurus) rather sensitive. The whole idea of trying to deal with something complicated and which seems - at least on the intellectual level - potentially massively destructive probably bothers each and every one of us as we think about it, and that makes facing up to what must be done in facing the physical attributes of whatever is at hand now all the more difficult.
Why that is...and what that value can teach us about other things in our life? That’s for us to sort through, and as the date of the eclipse passes and we give up trying to hold onto some bygone status quo we will indeed do that.
In the meantime... since our emotions seldom let us escape such ‘monstrous’ situations unscathed it’s not surprising that Neptune/Poseidon (our emotionality) imprisoned Cassiopeia - and in classically Greek illustrations her punishment was an evocative one which has come down to us with Cassiopeia as the ‘chained woman.’
A woodcut of Cassiopeia depicted seated in her 'chair of tormentr'
(from the Hyginus 'Poeticon Astronomicon,' courtesy of US Naval Observatory Library
Apparently it’s up to us. (Again.)
Through the period of this eclipse - both as we come to it and in its wake as we start a long, three-year evolutionary process we cannot as yet know the end of, Schedir’s involvement may reflect some grotesque or grotesquely negative reality in your world or which has surfaced in your life. Or it may represent your being ‘tied’ by some commitment, promise, legality, situational parameter, custom... something which prevents you from ‘getting up from your throne’ to act. Looking at the myth it would seem the more ‘tied’ or ‘bound’ we are emotionally the more we will tend to attempt to handle matters on more of an ‘externalized’ basis - and that for those choices to succeed we must be ready and willing to face our fears (or our fear of our fear) about something in fairly short order even though the fullness of whatever happens will not become apparent for several years yet to come.
That the name ‘Schedir’ (which comes from Arabic) means ‘breast’ would seem to indicate that some sort of ‘failure to nurture’ (or nourish or even ‘parent’) is involved here, in which case the ‘chain’ would be the connective between that ‘nourishing factor’ and whatever considerations you may be going through with regards to values and valuations or evaluations being - or which have been exposed since the latter part of February (2014).
As I’ve said (and will no doubt say again), eclipses are difficult to understand while in the ‘break down’ and ‘passing through’ phases. We look back at eclipses in our life and understand what was changing at that time but seldom understand in the precision of the moment what the eclipse is truly about.
All we know are the current circumstances...which is apparently all we should know as, unbeknownst to us the universe functions as it should. And as it does that, irrevocably if effortlessly we are each and every one of us moved individually and in contiguous continuity through our metamorphic processing: stripped of whatever seeming solid convictions are separating us from being our most self-respected - and therefore validated in value) Self - we are therefore left with the opportunity to better utilize what we are in the support of who we can be: one human among a contiguous E=mc2 many we of this greatly blue planet tend to call 'All.'