THE SAROS CYCLES OF ECLIPSES
In this post I am again looking at the January 2010 Eclipses in their relation to the Haiti’s earthquake and its aftermath, but this time I’ll study each eclipse as one of a series.
All Eclipses are grouped under one specific number, known as their Saros number. This number indicates eclipses (Lunar or Solar) occurring around the same degree of the Zodiac. A Saros group begins with a particular eclipse, either Lunar or Solar. Other eclipses follow, at an interval of 18 years approximately, all falling around the same degree of longitude.
So, for instance, the Partial Lunar Eclipse of December 31 2009 belonged to the Saros number 115. This group of Lunar Eclipses began with one on April 21 1000 AD, 1010 years ago, the beginning of another Millennium.
The Eclipse that begins a series is said to give its colour, tone and vibration to the lot of them. Therefore it is very important to study the first Eclipse of a Saros series, especially when it is obviously linked to a major event, like the Haiti’s earthquake.
Below is the Chart of that ancient Eclipse, calculated for the Haiti coordinates in order to be relevant for that part of the world:
Click to enlarge
To a trained astrological eye this appears as a rather difficult Horoscope, interlaced by a Grand Cross in Fixed Signs (LINK to Aspects Tutorials), connecting The Sun in Taurus, conjunct the Ascendant, the Scorpio Moon, conjunct Pluto and the Descendant, Mars in Leo and also, in Haiti, the Aquarius Mid-Heaven and Leo Lower-Heaven, two very active angles in the Horoscope.
There is immense pent up energy in this configuration, with a strong tinge of violence and compulsion. Even without the eclipse this would have been a remarkable Full Moon! Sort of were-wolfish, passionate, deep, uncompromising, dangerous, wilful; suggesting war, blood, aggression, transformation, resentment, revengefulness, power struggles. To add to the intensity of this configuration Saturn is also transiting Taurus, the Sun Sign. This Sign is traditionally considered the most dangerous for seismic activities, because it is Earthy and because it is Fixed, resisting external pressure until something has to give. Both Taurus and its opposite-complementary Sign, Scorpio, were known as Violent Signs, and one of the reason was their connection to earth’s tremors.
The most interesting Saturn’s feature is not however its challenging position in Taurus, nor the fact that it didn’t form any exact aspect with the other celestial bodies at the time of the Eclipse, often a negative connotation. But it is rather the specific degree the Planet was on, the same, in 1000 AD, as the Star Algol, beta of Constellation Perseus. This Star is considered to be one of the most powerful and potentially dangerous in the whole pantheon of Stars.
This Saturn-conjunction with Algol could have been enough to consider the Star a significant character in this Lunar Eclipses’ series. But there is more.
Algol re-appears in a very prominent place not only in the Lunar Eclipse of December 31 2009 (conjunct the Ascendant in Haiti and perfectly square transiting Jupiter), but also in the Solar Eclipse of January 15 2010 (conjunct the Descendant in Haiti and trine transiting Sun, Moon and Venus in Capricorn)!
Furthermore the present longitudes of Algol and Capulus, another Star belonging to the same constellation, are in opposition to Haiti Birth Chart’s Neptune, while Capulus was conjunct the Taurus Ascendant of the 1000 AD eclipse!
So it seems we need to look closely at this mysterious blinking object (a short period variable, orbiting with a dark companion that regularly eclipses it) and the constellation of Perseus to which these stars belong. They tell a marvellous and sorrowful story.
In the constellation of Perseus Algol represents the severed head of Medusa, dangling from the left hand of the Solar hero, who has just beheaded the monster. Capulus instead corresponds the point of the sword he has used to accomplish the deed, a phallic symbol of brute strength. From the region of Capulus every year in August sky-watchers can witness the Perseid meteor shower, moving parallel to Perseus’ raised arm and sword, and crossing the path of Algol, the Gorgon’s head.
The name Algol derives from the Arab Ra’s al Ghul, (from which the English word Ghoul derives), “the Demon’s Head”, and in the picture below has the face of a bearded man, an incarnation of the Devil.
According to Greek mythology, the one I’ll refer to in this post, Medusa (name meaning Queen or Mistress) was originally a beautiful woman, one of the many granddaughters of the Earth Goddess Gaia. While worshipping in a temple of Athena, she was raped by the Ocean god Poseidon (alias Neptune). This ‘transgression’ was severely punished by Athena; so that, for no fault of her own, Medusa was transformed into a Gorgon. She still had the body of a woman, while her head was covered with writhing serpents, and her limbs became the claws of a bird of prey and turned into brass. What was more frightening about Medusa however was her stare: one look from her sorrowful eyes and a man would be for ever turned into stone.
A great number of females, Goddesses, Nymphs, Witches and a Princess are taking part in this story and being instrumental in getting rid of Medusa; only to make sure her powers will be preserved in the armour of Athena, beloved daughter of Zeus, the supreme patriarchal god.
The metamorphosis of fair Medusa into a hideous monster and her demise at the hands of Perseus, the male hero, has been explained by many as the mythical re-enactment of the destruction of the Goddess Cult of Neolithic times. This occurred at the hands of Aryan and other warring tribes who worshipped male deities, and by 2000 BC had imposed their way of living and their religion on the native tribes of pre-historic Europe and the Middle East, worshipers of the Great Goddess since the dawn of time.
The cult of the One Mother Goddess was completely wiped out by around 600 BC, and survived only in myths and stories, while the power of the Godhead was gradually usurped by male deities. From them creation didn’t emerge spontaneously, like a baby from a mother womb and partaking of her substance, but was instead manufactured out of the elemental forces of chaos, where the ancient Goddess was soon relegated.
Medusa then is one incarnation amongst many of the Goddess creatrix, and Perseus one of her patriarchal slayers. The Goddess power is demonised in Medusa’s ugly person, as women lost their equality to men and their own powers of generation were demeaned and ultimately demonized.
We can discern a lot of ambivalence in the story of Medusa: for a start the legend of Medusa seems to be more ancient than the Perseus’ myth; the Goddess preceded the hero. Then Perseus succeeded in killing Medusa only through the help of Athena, herself a goddess, despite her masculine temperament, who gave him the mirror shield to vanquish Medusa (a symbol for the need of self-reflection when we try do deal with our inner demons). Other divine females were active characters in the legend; like the three Graeae sisters (grey or old ones), the witches from whom he extolled the secret of the Gorgons’ hiding place, or the Hesperides Nymphs, guardians of the Golden Apples of Immortality that grew in a grove at the edge of the world. They provided Perseus with Hades’ hat of invisibility without which he couldn’t have approached the Gorgons unseen.
Furthermore, at the end of the story, her severed head was amalgamated into the mirror shield of Athena, conferring on this warring and rather masculine Goddess some of the powers of the ancient Goddess. And Andromeda, the mythical damsel in distress, chained to a rock to be sacrificed to a Sea-Monster, enters the story too, when Perseus rescues her from sure death with the help of the winged horse Pegasus. This magical creature had sprang from the severed head of Medusa. Pegasus helped Perseus to escape the rightful rage of Medusa’s Gorgon sisters and eventually brought him and Andromeda home to safety. The winged horse represents all the beauty and power imprisoned in the Gorgon’s body, a symbol of transcendence and sublimation, liberated by the sword of Perseus. Eventually Pegasus was welcome into the Heavenly realms and chosen to pull Jupiter’s chariot.
Another proof of Medusa’s dual nature, at the same time divine and devilish, is that the very blood that gushed out of her neck was separated into two streams, one carrying lethal poisons that could be used to kill, and the other healing substances by which men could be healed instead.
The Star associated with this myth has however mainly a bad reputation and no surprise: just the rightful wrath of poor Medusa should be enough to make it into a formidable force.
Many scholarly studies on the effect of this Star are available to Astrology’s adepts and all seem to show a difficult if not completely negative influence, in both Natal and Mundane Horoscopes. The Haiti’s earthquake can now be added to the many case histories of natural and man-made disasters touched by the blinking eye of this mysterious Star.
In my own experience of Algol, in the charts of clients and famous individuals, I can say that its effect is not consistently negative, but it is often connected with traumatic experiences, often early in life, without any obvious fault on the part of the individual.
Algol is at her strongest though only when there are other astrological signatures to confirm the possibility of traumas and severe difficulties. Together with the difficulties however come strong resilience, resourcefulness and survival skills. Both men and women can experience the power of Medusa when they begin valuing their darkness, their secret feelings, their inner truths, the mysteries of their own psyche, the feminine within.
It is an amazing feeling to experience the synchronicity between some Fixed Stars and the stories clients bring to a consultation, or those of famous people or events one is studying (as in the case of Haiti).
Who can resist the thrill of discovering that lady Diana Spencer had Algol and Capulus (the head of Medusa and the sword Perseus used to cut it off) both conjunct her Venus? Shortly I will publish a list of events and also people who have a connection with Medusa and also with the Sword of Perseus (Capulus). It makes an interesting read.
After experiencing few of these meaningful coincidences I never fail now to look at my clients’ and friends aspects with the Fixed Stars, because the wealth of imagery they bring is worth the effort of learning something new and overcoming old prejudices.To just mention one of those coincidences: the transiting Moon is conjunct Medusa right now, as I’m ready to publish this post!
Scientifically oriented astrologers may find disagreeable working with Fixed Stars, because they seem to belong to an outdated and superstitious type of Astrology. To me the proof is in the pudding. Fixed Stars, in measure, work for me. I don’t stop and ask myself too many whys, or I would have to give up Astrology all together.
And here is the 1000 Lunar Eclipse around the 1804 Horoscope of Haiti’s Independence:
Click to enlarge
I have found valuable information on Medusa, and other subjects covered in this post, in:
the classical text by Richard Hinckley Allen, ‘Stars Names, their Lore and Meaning’, Dover Publications.
David Ovason ‘The Book of the Eclipse, Arrow Books, a really fascinating read about Eclipses, of course, but also Fixed Stars.
Bernadette Brady’s Visual Astrology Newsletter and articles.
Anne Baring and Jules Cashford’s The Myth of the Goddess, Evolution of an Image’, Arkana, a must read.
IF INTERESTED CHECK MY NEXT ARTICLE ON THE SOLAR ECLIPSE CHART OF JANUARY 15, 2010, WITH REFERENCE TO ITS SAROS NUMBER.