by Boots Hart, CAP

Friday, October 3, 2014

Eclipse Notes: Aspects, Effects and Returns

A circumhorizontal arc - an optical phenomenon caued by ice crystals in high level cirrus clouds
(photo credit Jeff Kubina, June 2007)
Eclipses are funny astrological beasts. Sometimes they time out some very fun times - particularly if you’re talking about a lunar eclipse, as lunar eclipses (like all things lunar) tend to be ‘framed’ by feeling where solar eclipses, as emotional a time as they may indicate, are more focused on lifestyle and evolutionary life events than any particular emotional goal, needs or fervent hope. Plus lunar eclipses tend to be prompt. That is, with a lunar eclipse the effects are immediate - and if the eclipse aspects your chart with any acuity - often memorable.

But the emotional ‘high’...? Those effects tend to be relatively short-lived. Three months is pretty much the standard duration - which may be disappointing when all is bliss but rather reassuring when events which time with a lunar eclipse go really and truly bad.

Solar eclipses, on the other hand, are less defined - and they’re curiously reflective of the process of an eclipse. The Sun represents life. Or ‘illumination’ as in understanding and inner clarity. And when an eclipse happens, the Moon - a satellite which is closer to Terra Earth than the Sun is - that Moon intervenes...which metaphysically is what happens with a solar eclipse: something about life (yours, or life in general) ‘blacks out’ your sense of understanding. Or your ability to ‘shine.’

Yet solar eclipses aren’t metaphysically ‘cruel’ or about 'failure' even if they’re often challenging and in sync with losses and mistakes. Indeed, lore teaches that eclipses are about causing us to shed something we may or may not like or prefer - and even which we may have stuck with/invested ourselves in over many a year. But in some way...and at some level, that loss, that change, whatever else it may be is also about eliminating something which in some way is now keeping us from being that person we are capable of being going forward.

And why aren’t we that person? Well... you know.,.. it may just be easier to keep on doing (saying, thinking, acting) in a manner which ‘settles’ when it comes to our capacity? Or maybe we're just doing what has worked well enough for us over a lot of years.

On a metaphysical level, whatever our reasons are they’re excuses. Very human and perhaps heartfelt excuses, but (metaphysically) excuses, nonetheless. And those ‘excuses’ or those singular or many ways of ‘escaping’ our true capacity (read: the truth of our Self and who we really are) are what solar eclipses tend to affect. Generally effects are neither subtle nor convenient - and in that last bit (in particular) are seldom entirely to our liking. In fact, any solar eclipse which aspects your natal chart with acuity will manifest as some sort of situation which includes some degree of being (and feeling) at a lack for control.

And that would happen why?

That would happen because you are letting go of that thing you feel so comfortable doing, being surrounded by or feeling part of (etcetera).

You’re in free-fall with/within your Self, without being able to fasten on some inner (Sun) knowing.

 Shown as calculated for the October 2014 solar eclipse at 0 Scorpio,
the five degree orb of aspect surrounding the conjunction.
With the conjunction (an aspect which extends to five degrees in either direction from the eclipse), eclipse effects are very personal. They’re about our life and how we perceive it - for better and for worse. (And maybe both.) Whatever planet, axis or other point is being conjuncted, the eclipse will manifest through whatever ‘flavor’ is exhibited by that combination of point and sign, making the conjuncting eclipse something along the lines of transformative tofu.

 Shown as calculated for the October 2014 solar eclipse at 0 Scorpio,
there is a three degree (plus/minus) orb of aspect surrounding the sixty (60)
degree standard sextile aspect which from 0 Scorpio would occur at 0 Virgo
and Capricorn, respectively.
As opposed to this, the eclipse-by-sextile (the sextile being a 60-degree aspect) is the signature of opportunities lost... or about to be found, depending on how you come into any given eclipse period.

Sextiles seldom exhibit requirement or necessity, however positive they may be - and that can be a positive where utilization of a natural ability or talent - the ‘voicing’ of it gets involved. On the other hand, having an eclipse aspecting your chart by sextile can represent the ‘blacking out’ or elimination or destruction of some avenue or choice - or some opportunity you may have had. In such, eclipse energies sometimes seem like Pluto, which tends to point to a ‘transformation’ which reverses existent to non-existent (and vice-versa) depending on where, how and what in the chart is aspected.

But eclipses aren’t Pluto. Eclipse effects differ from those regarding Pluto in that Pluto manifestations tend to apply to our personal feelings - the why we’re feeling them, whether we have any right-minded reason to feel that way and whether such emotional drives (cravings, desires, aims) are safe or dangerous in practice or theory. Against that, eclipses are more ‘situational.’ Yes, they can (and sometimes do) manifest as a physical illness or accident. But the ‘eclipse factor’ in that mix is about how our lives are changed by the eclipse and thus all about how we need to change who we are being or how we are going about doing what we’re doing (or living our life) in order to take best advantage of some challenge... or simply in order to cope.
As with most things astrological, the greatest challenges, problems and gains are associated with the squares and as with sextiles, trines, semi-sextiles and inconjuncts (aka quincunxes), there are two different squares to consider. The first is the ‘departing square’ (or departing whatever other aspect) - a reference to the idea that the ‘event’ (in this case, an eclipse) is occurring within a three-degree orb of sixty degrees from whatever natal chart point you want to consider.

ASPECT EXAMPLES: The October 2014 solar eclipse will be at 0 Scorpio and the October 2014 lunar eclipse will occur under the sign of Aries. If this position is within the three-degree orb of sextile to some point in your natal chart (which would be in Virgo for the solar eclipse and in Aquarius for the lunar eclipse), then your chart is being eclipsed by sextile.

Do you have a point within five degrees (plus or minus) of 0 Leo - which is to say between 25 Cancer and 5 Leo? If so, that point is being eclipsed by square - and because from Leo to Scorpio is moving forward through the zodiac, that is referred to as a “departing” (i.e., from the point in your chart) square...and conversely, were it ‘behind’ in astrological/zodiacal order, that would be the approaching square.

Departing aspects are about something wanting to be built, developed or utilized as a point of personal growth. 

Conversely, approaching aspects are about finishing, completing or achieving something. When a solar eclipse occurs in a position to eclipse that departing momentum, that aim or the ability to pursue that aim changes - often dramatically - either for better or worse. When a lunar eclipse hits at the departing aspect (or within orb of it), something dramatic may well happen - but in the end the aim itself generally remains ‘out there.’ No, it may not work as we thought it would and depending on the natal point(s) being eclipsed the experience may no longer be desirable.

But it’s there. That’s the difference between lunar and solar eclipses: where the Moon symbolizes all things which elicit or reward our feelings, the Sun refers to life itself and therefore things we have to learn about and contend with.

 With the October 2014 solar eclipse at 0 Scorpio, the two squares will occur in Leo
and Aquarius. Given that squares are given five (5) degree standard orb, this means
these squares start at 25 Cancer or Capricorn and end at 5 degrees of Leo
and Aquarius.
Squares pose particular questions and challenge our sense of balance. A square successfully handled requires that we both accept limitations and our responsibilities to act, embrace and balance qualities which differ against each other whether those qualities are intrinsically ours or exist with regards to something we are doing or attempting to accomplish. To have one’s chart eclipsed by square poses a challenge - one from which we will (generally) prefer to retreat out of a sense of being thrown ‘off balance’ or because something we had counted on (or believed in) has been removed, eliminated or proven invalid.

 Oppositions also get a five (5) degree standard orb, which puts the opposition to
October 2014's 0 Scorpio solar eclipse at 0 Taurus and the extent of opposition
orb between 25 Aries and 5 Taurus.
Oppositions differ from squares by being a flat-out confrontation. Sometimes that’s with others or something in or about our overall life and sometimes that’s with ourselves as we belly up to the mental bar and come to grips with something about our Self or our assumptions.

When we experience an eclipse by opposition, something (or someone) either vanishes from our life (which could be as simple as their changing jobs and no longer being part of our workday) or as we become ‘confronted’ with a need to be or do something and all it is going to take to deal with that. Eclipses by opposition often reveal qualities about our Self which we have either been ignorant of or unperturbed by so long as they didn’t cause problems...which (voila!) the eclipse period provides feedback on.

 Like oppositions, trines also get a five (5) degree standard orb. Unlike oppositions
however, trines do have departing and approaching formats, giving us a departing
trine to the October 2014 Scorpio solar eclipse with a position of 0 Pisces (and thus
an orb of affect between 25 Aquarius and 5 Pisces) and an approaching trine
between 25 Gemini and 5 Cancer.
Having some point in your chart be eclipsed by trine is to not be able to ‘escape’ some process which is continuing to alter whatever attribute is being described by the planet/symbol being trined. Less of an obvious ‘hit’ to your life or lifestyle than the the conjunction, getting eclipsed-by-trine is potent enough to keep us on track with necessities and highly likely to eliminate a sense of personal ease (or a willingness to ‘take it easy’).

So much for trines being all pleasant, eh?

Two last aspects, which are by nature the inverse of each other: the 30-degree semi-sextile and the 150-degree OR 210-degree inconjunct or quincunx.

(above) Like trines, squares and sextiles, both semi-sextiles and inconjuncts have
approaching and departing and approaching formats. However, unlike any of those
aspects, semi-sextiles and inconjuncts are most useful when the orb is kept limited
- often to an orb as small as one and one-half (1 1/2) degrees. This gives us semi-
sextiles to the October 2014 0 Scorpio eclipse (0 Scorpio 25, to be exact) at
0 Sagittarius and Libra with orbs allowing for effects between 29 Scorpio and
2 Sagittarius or 29 Virgo and 2 Libra... and inconjunct positions at 0 Aries and
Gemini with effects extending to between 29 Pisces and 2 Aries and/or
29 Taurus and 2 Gemini.
Put in simplest terms, the semi-sextile is about getting past our own feelings while the inconjunct is about our personal feelings about what it takes to adapt to being part of a group, system or process. In other words, they’re both about adjusting to what we feel or think about things it’s just that the semi-sextile process is more about a conversation in our head we have to work through (mostly) on our own where the inconjunct is about something outside of our Self. Either way, when eclipsed both of these points tend to speak to responsibilities and how we respond (or sometimes more to the point, how we don’t respond) to the standards, morals and ethics of responsibility.

As noted, lunar eclipses tend to have a duration of around three months. By the end of that time the ‘heat’ of our feelings will have cooled and we will have learned a lot - most of all about our Self. Solar eclipses however, run a longer course. Instead of three months their duration is three years, which may well mean that we will at times be under several overlapping eclipse cycles. Also: at about two-and-one-half years after the eclipse itself things tend to surface or happen. Whatever occurs, it could not have happened or we would not have been in a position to care or take advantage of this opportunity or information had we NOT gone through whatever happened at the time of the eclipse.

That may be the most interesting thing of all about solar eclipses - whatever else they are, solar eclipses are also a rather ultimate form of the ‘delayed gratitude’ lesson... a lesson which perhaps is meant to teach us to handle the moment and to recognize life has much, much more to offer if we will just keep walking, whether that’s physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually.

RETURNS: The one exception to the (above) statements made about how long eclipses last concerns personal returns. If an eclipse - either solar or lunar - occurs within five (5) calendar days of EITHER your birthday (i.e., your yearly solar return) or your monthly lunar return, eclipse effects will be far more pronounced. If the eclipse occurs within five days of your personal/monthly lunar return, get your emotional raincoat on, particularly during the first month after the lunar eclipse. Whether effects taper off over the next few months as they normally would depends on your natal chart - most specifically the astrological ‘condition’ of your natal Moon plus whatever point the eclipse is in aspect to.

However, if an eclipse - solar or lunar - occurs within five (5) calendar days of your solar return (birthday), those eclipse effects can be expected to (lunar eclipse) last... and indeed (solar eclipse) dominate the whole of your solar/birthday year.

We just can’t say this often enough - and this is actually one of the biggest of big markers astrologers look for. A lunar eclipse around the date of your birthday can speak to a year which will have lots of ups and maybe an equal amount of downs and will often mark dramatic changes of circumstance, mindset or heart (personal or otherwise) over the course of that year, but a solar eclipse around the date of your birthday speaks to a year which could (just possibly) change the charted course of your life - or your ability to have the life you’ve worked long and hard to chart out for yourself.

Mind you, an eclipse around the date of your birthday is NOT enough to predict tragedy. I mention this here because people tend to jump to conclusions about such things. So please understand: even if an astrologer sees a solar or lunar eclipse around the date of your birthday it’s no sign of doom.

In fact, it’s a sign of an opportunity. No, everything may not be the way you want it to be. But that’s the point. Life is bigger than any of us know and we can’t know how to define all the possibilities.

Sometimes something has to break down the walls and lift our cherished veils so that we can grow, so that we can learn differently, so that we can move beyond our previous conceptions, realizing even as we witness eclipse dramas in the sky how we are  part of something miraculous... something vast and ever-changing and truly universal.

Maybe that’s why eclipses fascinate us so.   




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