by Boots Hart, CAP

Friday, August 5, 2016

A Solar Eclipse at 9 Virgo

(painting)Total Eclipse of the Sun, Gdansk, 28 July, 1851
from 'Astronomie' by Karl von Littrow, 1878
At  9:04 in the morning of September 1st (UT/+0) time, Planet Earth will experience an annular solar eclipse, with the term ‘annular’ indicating that when the darkened disc of the Moon slides in front of the Sun, it will not cover the entire face of the Sun as the Moon does when we get a total eclipse.

Does this make any difference astrologically? We would expect that answer to be a ‘yes.’ Think of it this way: in the case of a total eclipse, having the Sun be ‘blocked’ by the Moon is a metaphor for something being ‘blacked out’ or ‘eliminated’ in our life, which fits with the lore of solar eclipses as an astrological event which times out something which is no longer appropriate to our life or effective as part of our life being ‘taken away’ or eliminated.

Mind you, what gets ‘taken away’ may be something we like or even love. In fact, that’s fairly common with solar eclipses, as we humans are highly prone to holding onto things, people, habits and perspectives long after they’ve outlived their constructive purpose in our life out of affection, unwillingness to move on or some other personal instinct which simply causes us to cling – whether to a person, idea or way of living.

That’s part of what makes eclipses so problematic: they represent forces which force us to change and ‘move on,’ over time serving to strip away that which we may or may not like very much, but which on the metaphysical and theoretical level is no longer applicable in, or to our life – which is why eclipses have come to be associated with major life events, be that the rise or fall of a king or other leader, some sort of accident or illness, the birth of a child, a typhoon, earthquake or volcanic eruption, or anything else which is by its innate nature is capable of changing our life, our world, our perspectives, priorities or plans.

A detailed view of a Solar Eclipse corona
(photo credit: Miloslav Druckmiller/Brno University of Technology, Martin Dietzel, Peter Aniol, Vojtech Rusin)
In a total eclipse, the Moon covers the face of the Sun ‘in totality’ – hence the term ‘total eclipse.’ And when it does that, or more specifically because it does that, in the moment that the Moon ‘eclipses’ the Sun, we see the Sun’s corona – a bright halo of streaming light which because of the Sun’s normal everyday brilliance, we don’t see on a day-to-day basis. Astrologically, that corona refers to things we ‘discover’ in, or about our Self (or life) when all else, or at least that ‘something important’ gets eliminated as the eclipse passes through. And in the case of a total solar eclipse, that ‘thing’ most often becomes the subject of our efforts, personal development and overall life changes over the next 3 years – 36 months being the length of a solar eclipse effect, whether it aspects our individual chart or not.

Annular eclipses do not cover the full face of the Sun, and therefore do not show off the awe-inspiring sight which is the Sun’s corona. Instead, what we on Earth come to witness with an annular eclipse is something known as a ‘ring of fire’ – the rim of the Sun as seen surrounding the disc of the Moon. Astrologically, this image symbolizes a ‘narrowing’ of options, and like as not, some need to move away from what we have thought of as ‘the center of things’ or a focus on ‘mainstream’ ideas as we work to incorporate or distinguish our Self through our efforts either because of … or in spite of events at hand.

Does this mean they are less powerful than a total solar eclipse? Not in the astrological sense. Astrologically, the strength of an eclipse in or on our life has everything to do with how closely (or precisely) it aspects our chart, not the nature of the solar eclipse … though as noted, how the eclipse tends to play out in our life, meaning whether it applies to something we haven’t dealt with or something which may be ‘on the table’ but just not central to our consideration … that part may well vary according to the particular eclipse.

So when we talk about eclipses, the all-important question is what degree they are in – which in the case of the September 1st eclipse is 9 Virgo.

Solar Annular Eclipse at 9 Virgo (glyph chart)
September 1, 2016 - 9:04 a.m. (UT/+0) -- Aries Wheel (Location Not Specific)

Solar Annular Eclipse at 9 Virgo (text chart)
September 1, 2016 - 9:04 a.m. (UT/+0) -- Aries Wheel (Location Not Specific)
The degree 9 Virgo is written about variously. Some astrologers refer to it as lacking in ambition and inspiration. Others speak of this degree as being one which is ready to learn and challenged to learn, but which has (as yet) not done the work to learn some necessary thing, needed skill or supportive approach. There is some indication of a lack of ‘vibrancy,’ ability or energy indicated here, with the position of the degree at the end of Virgo’s first decanate (i.e., its first 10 degrees) suggesting efforts which have either petered out, proved insufficient to the task, or some situation where the old saying ‘try, try again’ has led only to exhaustion, whether physical, psychological or of needed or necessary resources. Perhaps because of its earthy qualities, 9 Virgo is also known for ideas or issues which are, or which have become problematic because of age as a factor which makes things harder for not being ‘in sync’ with current needs or methodologies.

That said, with 9 Virgo as the last degree of Virgo’s first and most physical + ‘action or activity oriented’ decan, 9 Virgo also speaks to what we do and how well we do it, with the term ‘well’ meaning either our skill level as that pertains to being able to get a good result … or as a reference to how ‘healthy,’ moral, ethical, effective or acceptable (to those we are working with, associated with, working for or acting in the name of), all of which are in particular subject to being exposed or ‘exploded’ as the eclipse moves through. Eclipses ‘root out’ problems, so during the several years of the current solar eclipse cycle moving through the Virgo-Pisces polarity, it’s not shocking that issues of morality – meaning our ethics and morals as human beings – are coming to the fore, which would be why around the world we have terrible things happening and great injustices (i.e., indications of lack of human ethical morality) coming out now, getting argued over (and denied) now, and why so much finger pointing at others is going on when the real issue would require pointing a finger at ourselves.

And that means this eclipse will – among other things – bring out any native tendency we may have to project our worst flaws and faults onto others even while proclaiming our innocence, which given how projection works means we are really at fault (in some way) with the other guy being innocent (at least of our accusations,) even if we would probably rather swallow hot coals than admit it. And given the themes, some of the issues being now exposed and eclipsed will include whatever 9 Virgo tendencies we have, have had, or are acting with which involve avoidance, not trying, not making sufficient effort, or avoiding accepting our part in something (or things) depending on the situation. Given Virgo’s ‘health, work, service’ keywords and its place in a polarity (the Virgo-Pisces polarity) which tends to be very big on how others treat us but not always so careful when it comes to how we deal with others or whether their feelings, needs and/or opinions are being taken into account, emotional contentiousness is to be expected and we can count on any number of people ‘taking a stand’ on something they think of as (Virgo) absolutely correct (and generally indispensable) even though upon reflection, their perspective is riddled with (Piscean) lack(s) of compassion and some sort of attitude which says ‘I don’t need to care about you’ at some level.

Think of it this way: every sign in the zodiac has its challenges, with 99% of those challenges being exhibited (in some way) by the polarity sign. So where Cancerian emotionalism needs to have a (Capricorn-like) goal and support growth lest it turn into the kind of ‘over-mothering’ which (not limited to mothers) undermines personal ambition, and where the Leo habit of ‘seeing’ (envisioning) and believing in what could be – often to the exclusion of (Aquarian-type) reality or realities – so often goes awry or stirs up controversy, enmity and resistance, so will Virgo energy which is aimed only at accomplishing without sufficient caring, compassion and morality (the oppositional ‘Piscean’ themes) will become unworkable, be rejected, get abandoned or ruin (or at least damage) the faith others have in us.

We will all be dealing with some of this, even if September’s solar eclipse doesn’t aspect our chart – which is to say objects or important cusp lines in our natal chart. Even if the eclipse doesn’t aspect any planet, dwarf planet, node or axis line, it’s still ‘falling’ somewhere in our natal horoscope. Solar eclipses which do not affect our personal chart directly still tend to have us ‘hearing about’ or ‘bearing witness’ (actively or passively) to events which carry the ‘theme’ of whatever house the solar eclipse appears in.

And when they do aspect our chart?

That’s when the real fun (or lack of same) starts.

Currently, here in August we’re in the incoming eclipse’s ‘breaking down’ period – a period of two months prior to the eclipse during which that which the eclipse is going to affect becomes unstable. Somehow, something causes our opinions to come into question – most of all by us. And as the days go by, we find ourselves being sucked in by the very thing(s) we should know aren’t going to last. 

And please note: NONE of this speaks to the actual purpose of the solar eclipse, as solar eclipses are not about what ‘goes away’ or gets eliminated, but who we are as a person and how through the process and experience of the eclipse we become more of who we should be – whether that’s who we started out wanting to be or not. So there are really two parts to the eclipse: what ‘goes away’ or gets eliminated – and the person we come to be because we went through the eclipse process and all the attendant emotionally bumpy hoo-hah which goes along with a period of time during which we’re getting ‘eclipsed.’

So, wherever 9 Virgo falls in your natal chart, that’s the area of life and the spectrum of  personal (and personality driven) attitudes – complete with all the thinking which is or isn’t going into our thoughts and attitudes – where the eclipse is going to happen. What do I mean by that? The ‘area of life’ part of Virgo we know pretty well – it’s where those keywords ‘health, work, service’ manifest in our own life (how we care for our Self, what we do to keep the lights on and bills paid, and what we do or don’t do for others out of a sense of obligation, responsibility or duty … along with all the Virgoan professions (things which support physical, social or societal functionality) and all the situations which require us to act with a spirit of responsibility as we aim to advance some personal goal.

As for aspects and planetary pictures, this solar eclipse is very well equipped in that regard, with the first construct being the one we’re most familiar with, if only because it concerns Saturn in a t-square to the lunar nodes, which represents various kinds of tests to our ability to be in relationships, understand relationships and to understand those (or things) we need to relate to in order to (Saturn) make our way in the world and accomplish those goals we think most important.

I’ve been referring to this t-square as a t-square all year – this configuration (the Saturn/Node part of it) having been with us since March. But it is worth noting (hence the dotted line) that the challenges presented to us by fixed and royal star Antares (in Sagittarius) are always offset by those set out by fixed and royal star Aldebaran (in Gemini). This pairing basically asks us, as human beings, to keep our (Antares) personal obsessions ‘balanced against’ what we know to be the truth of integrity (Aldebaran) in whatever situation is at hand, lest everything ‘fall apart at the seams’ and come to nothing – that being the guarantee with all royal stars, all of which say success is guaranteed ONLY where one certain human attribute is avoided or at least kept well in check.

Also ... are you someone whose early/mid-August was particularly eventful or 'important' to you or your thinking, either generally or as that might have concerned one specific thing? Were you either confronted with a new challenge, opportunity, achievement or loss around mid-month?

If the answer is 'yes' to that, so as you pass through the period right around the September 1st eclipse, don't be surprised if something 'connects' to events, situations or things which have already affected your outlook.(Call it the dropping of a second shoe -- whether from the same pair or otherwise!

Other than that, Saturn conjuncting Mars is the key component of challenge here, with Saturn-Mars connections always being tough, whether they indicate times which ‘bring out the toughness’ in us or not. Mars being an emotionally-framed energy which promotes movement, pro-activity and assertion or assertiveness, in combination with Saturn’s more thought-driven, structural, responsible, slow-growth the result may be some situation which leads us to want to ‘push against restraint’ or ‘make a sincere or needed effort,’ ‘rein in excess’ or ‘develop, build or tackle that which will, in time, endure and serve a lasting purpose’ … with any of this being something we do to deal with someone or something which is obsessive, or our own obsessiveness about something (or someone).

With Saturn and Mars both in even numbers there is some indication that at least on our part (in our individual minds, that is) we are thinking we’re responding to something – thought what this looks like to others is probably worth a debate. (Or two.) With this t-square’s ‘origination’ point being symbolized by Sun+Moon (the solar eclipse) plus the North Node, something we should do (or need to do) as represented by the North Node at 12 Virgo is impelling us to (Mars-Saturn) assert ourselves, though whether we’re asserting in ‘for’ or ‘against’ mode will vary individually.

As for the ‘should’ quality of the North Node, in being positioned in 12 Virgo the North Node is referring to emotional qualities which lie ‘beneath the skin’ or ‘beneath the surface’ of what we see -- most of which are rooted in highly primal instinct(s). Described in Sabian Symbols as “A powerful statesman overcomes a state of political hysteria,” with writings on same referring to that point in our development where we need to recognize our own capacity and need for the kind of self-governance (and enough containment of Self) to support our ability to operate with (or) with regards to others.

However … This IS the thing which is being ‘exploded’ by the solar eclipse. So at this time it is to be expected that many kinds of self-governance and/or self-containment are proving to be insufficient. Or when the ‘health’ of the relationships which we rely on in such situations, whether we’re talking about work groups, personal or professional alliances (or) relationships built out of necessity or responsibility begins to break down, be recognized as being broken down, or to be ‘rebuilt’ in the light of already having broken down.

In a t-square, the object(s) at the “t” are those we meet up with as we try and move ‘out of’ or get away from whatever is represented at the starting point, that being the Sun+Moon (solar eclipse) plus the North Node. Given the nature of any square, there is a need to size the problem up and to work out some ‘balance’ between where we are and some ‘barrier’ (shades of Saturn!) we are trying to get past.

Typically, some large part of the challenge (or problem) we are facing with a t-square has to do with our thinking ‘individually’ when the problem OR the strength we are bringing to it is ‘bigger’ than we are, therefore needing a more universal approach. The right answer, in other words, is not going to only be about us or ‘owned’ by us, though it certainly may involve us. With Saturn at 10 Sagittarius, there’s a need to recognize (on our part as well as on the part of those who are dealing with us) and differentiate between that which is truly creative and ‘unique’ to any one of us, against those who use (or ‘borrow from’) that they come across, which could indicate issues of ‘infringement’ or ‘invasion’ of someone else’s property, or which in embodied form may simply involve the difference between truly ‘creative’ abilities and those which utilize, manage or exploit that which others have created. Given the nature of a solar eclipse, where such ‘managing or exploiting’ has been done or is being used immorally, positive results now lead to a ‘breaking down’ of situations and/or the karmic ‘falling apart’ of the ability for improperly acquired materials to be of benefit, with exposure of what amounts to a ‘lack of moral and/or intellectual integrity’ being more likely than at other times.

As for what this t-square is ‘aiming at’ – the stated ‘goal’ is imaged by Neptune retrograde at 10 Pisces in conjunction with the South Node at 12 Pisces. So we (South Node) know there are some among us, and some societal forces which are looking for the ‘easy way out’ and ‘simple, blanket solution(s)’ which are not only unlikely to exist (as things stand) but which are rooted in deep-seated issues (within each of us) which speaks to our personal relationship to the very idea of individuality as opposed to being ‘part of the crowd,’ or ‘one with the group.’

And yet, with Neptune at 10 Pisces, there are looming questions of appeal. The degree 10 Pisces is known as one imbued with great ability if somewhat cursed by a lack of (or incapacity for) self-awareness. Emotional issues having to do with fear are commonly found in association with this degree whether such fears are a fear of others and some native strength they have, a fear others may have of us (or) something which we are doing … or a fear of something we represent to them, whether we are ‘doing’ it (or even realize it) or not. 

Beyond all that… there is a “little” matter of Neptune (which is in retrograde, remember) being in an exact square to Saturn. Neptune/Saturn squares equal addictions. In Sagittarius, the addiction may be physical, philosophical, judicial, having to do with something we believe because we’ve been taught to think that way -- or to an idea or ideal. Whatever this concerns, to have Saturn at the challenge point of a t-square while in square to Neptune as we’re seeing here strongly suggests something we are ‘addicted to’ (physically, mentally or otherwise) … or, given that it’s Saturn at the ‘t’ of the t-square, something which we are resisting, needing to work on (or work harder for), or which is being ‘held up’ or ‘out of reach’ because of some intangible (Perhaps legal? Perhaps philosophical?) difference or ‘lack of’ having met some standard.

On the whole, having this configuration – whether it’s a single challenge you ‘need to get over’ (or past) as in the case of a t-square (or) some series of things which are by their combined nature serving to promote a growth of (inner) perspective on something which as yet is not achieved … having the causal energetic for any and all of this (the Virgo ‘standing’ end of the t-square) get eclipsed puts a massive spotlight on what has been done wrong, particularly in the house of our natal chart which has Virgo on the cusp (which is individual) as that plays out through issues having to do with wither we have been responsible, moral and in terms of quality, whether we have held our Self to standards.

Of course, we may also be meeting up with all this is a more-or-less externalized form. If so, then this will be a period when we attract those prone to working with, or who tend to justify their stances and/or actions through philosophical means. Whichever we are involved in (or with), where morals, responsibilities and standards have not been met, we may well experience a collapse of, or challenge to whatever we are doing – or wanting to do. At some level, such periods causes all of us to create, or be involved with the sort of ‘drama’ which if nothing else, tests whether we are ‘immune’ to being drawn into the muck.

And if we fail, then we probably shouldn’t be surprised if we get more than our hands dirty, right?

As Neptune is in retrograde, there is also some very good chance that the Saturn-Neptune square coming to exact in this moment is a sign that this September’s solar eclipse is about greater challenges to such ‘additions’ to ideas, ideals and things which seem ‘pretty’ but which in reality are just a way of denying realities. And that would mean the pre-eclipse event ‘breaking down’ period would be a time when those who want those ‘pretty ideals’ to be true will be pressing ever harder on them, trying to get others to agree when the reality is THEY are coming to the realization that the ‘truth’ they so wanted to believe isn’t believable.

This Neptune/South Node pairing isn’t just the ‘goal’ part of a t-square – it’s also part of an active grand trine, which in part is how we know we have come to (or into) this time with beliefs in place, as opposed to thinking they get formulated now. With Vesta conjunct Alhena in Cancer trining Neptune/South Node in Pisces, things we have promised our Self (if no one else) are really important now – at least to us.

Vesta speaks to ‘sacred promises’ and standards we set for our Self and which we are likely to dislike our Self for not adhering to, and having it here in conjunction with Alhena (the star of Purpose) speaks to the likelihood of deep convictions, most of which (with Vesta at 14 Cancer) go back to a very early age and/or our personal foundations and upbringing, which with this grand trine being rounded out by Nemesis – a reference to ’predictable consequences’  or ‘having been warned’ - plus Black Moon Lilith, a symbol of our denial of something about society (or) that which society denies about, or to us … plus maintenance-oriented, managerial Juno, the whole of which would seem to be a reference to a need, effort or status quo of some kind which either necessarily serves to ‘manage’ some dynamic or our feelings with regards to situations which challenge or run counter to our beliefs.

Or at least to that which we’d prefer to believe. (Or even have other believe we believe.)

Grand trines are energies which are not only ongoing (indicating we’re coming into this time with these energies in play) but also singularly difficult to ‘escape,’ which with all three corners of this grand trine being in water signs suggests feelings which are simply ‘there’ and which therefore must be dealt with, which brings us back to the idea of the solar eclipse in Virgo and whether those ‘feelings’ are lacking in truth, perspective or the willingness to be compassionate to anyone but ‘me and mine,’ however we describe that.

That an eclipse is one of that handful of things lore teaches are capable of disrupting grand trine energy is worth taking into account, though with the solar eclipse itself not involved in the grand trine configuration, it is most likely a notice of how things are generally emotional, evocative or simply ‘in feeling mode’ coming into the time of the eclipse. With Neptune in opposition to 9 Virgo, we shouldn’t be surprised if as we move through this time something we hadn’t wanted to ‘face’ (or face the reality of) specifically from an emotional perspective (whatever that may mean) is part of what surfaces now – and there is some definite chance that the fact we have been in some form of ‘active avoidance’ is what gets ‘exposed’ or revealed (in all its non-glory) through whatever happens now. And to go along with that, there is also a goodly chance that the very ‘thing we have been avoiding’ is the answer we have been seeking, which means the real barrier to solving some problem (or ‘moving forward’) has been far more about our emotional unwillingness to be “wrong” than anything else.

Where that reluctance has ‘cost’ you or others, it is to be expected that some feelings of vulnerability and guilt are likely, particularly where long term effort (or consequences) make it clear that we have undermined our goal or desire.

The third planetary picture which is included as standard equipment with this solar eclipse is a magic rectangle.

Now just to start, in case you’re wondering why only the South Node is involved here and not Neptune (plus) South Node, that would be because the ‘short sides’ (the sextile sides) of a magic rectangle only allow for a 3 degree orb of aspect and not the 5 degrees allowed with a trine, square or opposition.

That aside, magic rectangles are interesting beasts in that they generally describe situational dynamics of a kind many of us refer to as ‘luck’ – which would be luck good OR bad, as the basic qualities outlined by a magic rectangle is that of ‘not having to try.’ In a natal chart, a magic rectangle most often refers to a circumstance of birth, or a talent or situation we are simply ‘born with’ and which becomes a ‘life asset’ (or sometimes challenge, but that’s another issue). As different from that, a transiting magic rectangle – one which appears along our way through life -- tends to refer to more specific periods when some situation or opportunity comes along or comes into being more or less spontaneously as part of ambient or ongoing conditions. With this particular magic rectangle being part of a solar eclipse ‘picture,’ what happens now in conjunction with the eclipse may represent the ‘interruption’ or ‘eliminating’ of some sort of luck or grace or charismatic effect.

Then again, it may also represent a ‘magical’ sort of event or process which begins now (under the auspices of the solar eclipse) and which from here carry us forward – virtually effortlessly – for some time. If you are someone whose life suddenly ‘becomes magical’ about the time the eclipse moves through however, it’s worth remembering how solar eclipses evolve over three full years after the date of the eclipse – and how at about 2.5 years things ‘take a turn.’ Such ‘turns’ or ‘twists of fate’ generally offer some opportunity we could not have managed or understood as well without having experienced whatever we go through now – which considering the reference here is a configuration (the magic rectangle) which tends to ‘pave the way’ for us, may therefore mean that things go well for some 2.5 years after September’s eclipse, at which point something changes to metaphysically ‘check on’ whether we have taken advantage of the opportunity we have been given over the past 2.5 years.

It’s to think about – particularly as this magic rectangle (in part) focuses on Vesta a comment on what the ‘costs’ are with regard to some promise or standards we either claim to believe in or stand for, OR which support our purpose - -  whether as individuals, as a people, as the human race, or as one race among millions on life forms (native entities) on and of this planet. Given the difference between trines (the long side of the rectangle) and the 60-degree ‘sextiles of opportunity’ described by the short sides of the magic rectangle, having Vesta sextile the South Node and Pluto + Vega (in Capricorn) sextiling the North Node suggests situations where it may seem easier to ‘pay the price’ rather than deal with that which is so challenging, problematic or downright unpleasant (not to mention taxing). But is this the right thing to do? In our heart of hearts, do we know it as the best … or merely the ‘better’ or more ‘convenient’ choice to take?

Because the North Node at 12 Virgo is in conjunction with the Sun + Moon eclipse at 9 Virgo (even if due to limits of orb the Sun/Moon is not part of this magic rectangle) where we have chosen, or where we now choose to ‘make things easy’ (or easier) simply for the sake of simplification in spite of the fact that doing so will compromise effectiveness, efficiency, morality, standards or that basic Virgo slogan ‘the thing worth doing is worth doing well ’ – that’s where problems are likely to arise now … or,  for those taking ‘the easy way out’ here in the latter part of 2016, an indication of that which we will be facing 2.5 years from now.

It’s perhaps worth thinking about.

Also on that ‘perhaps’ list is the last configuration – which happens to be a grand sextile, a figure which with six points, all of which are in sextile, trine and opposition to each other describing a six-pointed ‘star’ we can also see as two overlapping grand trines.

TO START WITH … this grand sextile is both incomplete (and) formulated with an asteroid at once of its ‘points.’

So why mention it? The reason to mention it would be because the asteroid in question is America, an asteroid which not only refers to the whole of the ‘Americas’ north and south, but those who come from the Americas, who live in the Americas and everything corporate, national, natural and etcetera which takes place or is ‘done’ across the vastness of this area. Still relatively new in astrological terms, so far asteroid America has only shown itself to denote a quality of ‘newness’ – be that a discovery, a first-time initiation, a ‘trying anew’ or something which simply by its nature is new, or new to us.

Either way, when entire continents are involved, the astrology seems worth mentioning, especially since there seems to be so much turmoil erupting throughout the Americas – as one would expect in connection with eclipse effects. Beyond that, and getting back to the ‘incomplete’ part, that is indicated in the diagram by the circle with 12-15 Taurus in it. ONLY those people (nations, companies, etc.) who have a planet, dwarf planet, lunar node or axis point (Ascendant, Descendant, Midheaven or Nadir) within this range are going to be affected by this grand sextile. But as that is going to include any number of us, and with this also eclipse set to aspect the charts of more than one nation in the Americas (Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Peru, Venezuela and the United States being on the list) it seems worth a mention. 

(To be clear here, the list of nations being affected by this eclipse is by no means stated above in full. Just as a 'for instance,' recent hot-spot nation Turkey has national lunar nodes at 9 Virgo and 9 Pisces -- as does fellow hot-spot Belgium. So both countries are subject to evolutionary eclipse forces now, and again in early 2017 when a solar eclipse at 8 Pisces on February 26th hits the other end of the nodal axis. Considering how nations are nothing if not all about their people (and thus the 'relationship' between people, between peoples, and between governments and their people) this makes an eclipse to national nodes not just a notable and energetic event, but one which repeats every 19 years.)

In any case, the dynamics associated with and described by grand sextiles tend to be both ‘fated’ and ‘fateful,’ meaning they cannot be avoided, we have little to no control over the events and processes concerned, and how what is experienced during this time becomes something which ‘shapes’ how we think about things forevermore.

Grand sextiles ‘connect’ things – some of which, we would rather not think of as being connected. In doing so, they may well afford us a chance to expand our perspective on life and existence, which can be very useful. With fixed star Menkar at 14 Taurus, Menkar is going to be a native influence on any object which ‘fills’ the indicated gap in. Menkar has something of a difficult reputation, speaking to ‘instinctive feelings’ which may or may not be true (or applicable) and which in our lifetime we may or may not tackle as something in our own character we want (or need) to manage.

As I say, this configuration is not going to apply to everyone. If it does, you’ll know it because the very basis upon which priorities and operations have been based will begin to shift and change in ways which feel strange to you, whether or not they are actually ‘strange’ or out of the ordinary on the human experience scale. The idea of the grand sextile as a ‘linking of heaven and earth’ (its more ancient description) as a wonderful thing which brings enlightenment and growth is certainly true – anyone who has experienced this configuration personally will probably attest to that. However, this is also a figure of ‘the price which is to be paid’ for that which we gain as well as that which we have not known up until now, which typically makes the experience of this transit – even for a couple of days (never mind years) a process which while capable of bringing about much needed growth, is in keeping with the nature of grand trines inexorable and unavoidable in a way not everyone (particularly those who like being ‘in control’) tend to like.

With one half of this grand sextile in water and the other half of it in earth, things which have become ‘muddied’ may through the ensuing process, get clarified – if not detoxified and ultimately purified. With the water trine involving South Node, America and Vesta, recognitions which promote emotionality are likely and easy – or possibly ‘easy come, easy go,’ as they say. And with Pluto-Vega plus the North Node in earth signs, granting even that we do not know what ‘missing’ object would complete this earthy grand trine, there is something about that which seems daunting or difficult plus qualities which either concern that which isn’t fun or ‘pretty’ which surfaces as, or as part of our challenges.

So there are the configurations.

One more thing to mention here is the eclipse which occurred 2.5 years ago, as that eclipse is now going to be coming ‘of age,’ asking us if we ‘learned a lesson’ about who we really are (and aren’t) back when the original eclipse occurred. Being that we are here in the latter part of 2016, the eclipse in question would be that of the early part of 2014 -- and that eclipse happens to be the solar eclipse which, at 8 Taurus, occurred on April 29, 2014 in conjunction to fixed star Schedir.

Here's a link to information on that eclipse:

(And yes, Blogger is still having some problems with centered text and links, so alas and we'll take what we get here.)

In case you don't have time to take that look back, that eclipse took place at a time when assertive Mars was in a Libra retrograde. That marked a time of particular disruption within each one of us with regards to others and 'who we are in our relationships,' which came out as a wide array of things and situations which tested each one of us (sometimes collectively, sometimes individually) and which had many if not most of us struggling with our own feelings about how others felt about us.

(Yes, I know that's a circular sentence, but that's truly how it worked.) 

Such feelings about who we are (or at least who we were at the time) affected 'our relationship to the idea of relationships' and our 'relation to' relationships with others and the world at large -- and a lot of those feelings are still with us. (After all, we are only at the 2.5-out-of-3-total-years point with the 8 Taurus eclipse.)

Now ... there are two reasons to beyond the normal ‘this is the eclipse from 2.5 years ago, and it will now be moving towards 'maturation' of its purpose’ thing.

One of those reasons would be simple: 8 Taurus trines 9 Virgo, which suggests there is something of a 'dotted line' between certain events, attitudes and relationships (or) relationship rifts which came into being back in the first part of 2014 and now.

And no, that doesn’t always happen.

What this suggests is that for some of us, the good and/or difficult of the September 2016 eclipse now 'evolve by trine,' moving us from Step One to Step Two in some process of development and personal growth which is bent on moving us away from something old and outmoded towards something which (whether we want to admit it or not) is more in line with who we (or something) should be.

The tough part here being, of course, that what 'should' be on the karmic level is not always what we want something to be. Eclipse cycles and lessons repeat throughout our life, with lore telling us that the more times we resist change out of want or personal desire, the rougher each eclipse cycles get.

And considering how eclipses are associated with deaths, wars and the crumbling of major empires, apparently such cycles can get pretty darn rough. 

All else being equal, eclipses reappear on a 19 year-long cycle known as the Metonic cycle (named for an Athenian fellow named Meton). And when they repeat, their effects seem to 'check' whether we learned what we needed to learn the ‘last time around’ ... or whether we are going to need to go once more around the karmic mulberry bush in order to shed that which though “good enough,” actually keeps us from fulfilling some personal and uniquely human Purpose.

So that's one reason.

And the other? The other reason to bring this up is because it was Mars being in that Libra retrograde which so very accurately described much of the ugliness and ugly feelings which broke out back in 2014. In retrograde, Mars in Libra tends to be 'all about me' with close to zero consideration of others ... unfortunately including how such acts affect relations (and thus our opportunities and further potential) in the long run. So to have Mercury – the symbol of our mentality, communication, planning and possible ‘trickery,’ in retrograde as the September 2016 solar eclipse occurs says a lot. 

In particular, it suggests we may be particularly prone to making mistakes through not thinking or thinking things through. Or because what we want to think outweighs the truth. Given this September Mercury retrograde will be in Virgo, we may think something is responsible, moral or 'up to par' when it isn't -- and things we have done, participated in or committed to which are irresponsible, moral and sub-par may well rise up to haunt us. 

Even more to the point, Mercury will have been on station and turning to retrograde motion on August 30th -- which with the solar eclipse on September 1st makes this end-of-August/beginning of September period simply loaded with long term potential. In essence, the energy of Mercury on station -- an astrological condition we know can herald 'word of accomplishment' as easily as it manifests as complications, terminations and delays  -- is here 'joining forces' or at least overlapping the incontrovertible abilities of a solar eclipse to mark a transformation of purpose, life path or consciousness of life.

With the solar eclipse being in Virgo and Virgo ruled by Mercury, all things Mercurial, be that our conversations, our communications, our transactions, our efforts to move or ‘transport’ our selves (or any of our things or ideas) here and there, our plans, our choices, our deductions and our alliances are all up for a 'rethinking,' particularly in terms of new information or events which come to light now -- or because our traditional, 'usual' or 'old' way of thinking about things simply and obviously no longer works. (In other words, because we get confronted with a situation which doesn't, or no longer allows us the luxury of bias.) The incoming 9 Virgo solar eclipse can be expected to highlight how we talk, if we talk, and whether we are willing to connect and interact with each other responsibly, reliably, honestly and with a purpose which serves not just our Self and personal whims, but some greater matter which when push comes to a good hard shove, means more to us on the whole.

Mental health and the ‘health of our mentality’ are also likely to be on display – and we can count on some cases where that quotient and how we do/don't deal with it proves to be some form of proverbial ‘weakest link.’

It’s just that it’s not going to happen where, and to whom (or with regards) to what we might have wanted. A good part of this Virgo solar eclipse is going to end up being about the difference between what we want things to be and what they should be. Or whether we are willing to do that which should be done, putting aside that which we may be dedicated to doing (and which we really, really want to do) because it advances us or our cause without giving a good ding dong about others.

That this eclipse is occurring with Mercury in retrograde speaks to the next three years being a time when we have an opportunity to correct our thinking through 'learning better' (or perhaps in accurately or in more detail?) about what life is and is not ... and why we caring about others (even those who annoy or irritate us) is in the end far more about who we are and whether we are  -- or are ever going to be a success in reality as well as in our own heart or mind.
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