My own Approach to the study of Eclipses
My approach to the study of Eclipses springs from personal observations of their influence on my own Chart and life, and those of some clients, and also from the perusal of Eclipses’ stories and interpretations in different astrological texts, modern and old, providing a wealth of Natal and Mundane examples.
A text that really helped me personally to understand the working of Eclipses is “Eclipses” by the scholar of the Occult David Ovason‘s, a book full of useful information and insight. Ovason stresses in particular the importance of the relationship between Fixed Stars and Eclipses’ degrees, discussing many great case histories to make his point.
When I know an Eclipse is close at hand I repeat the mantra I have often used with my students: ‘Eclipses of the Sun are New Moons, Eclipses of the Moon are Full Moons’. I am not here to demystify Eclipses, but I feel we need to have a more level headed approach toward them, not always expecting incredible events to take place or our personal lives to be transformed by them. Here I have attempted to do this without denying the power an Eclipse can actually exert in a person’s life and in the life of the collective. What I am advocating is to look closely at the Eclipse itself and also put it in the context of the current Transits. Eclipses are not separated phenomena, but are part, like every other cosmic event, of a much bigger picture.
In some of the examples that I’m using here you’ll find that the power of an Eclipse is always magnified by the presence of other major Transits happening during the Eclipse’s period of activity, a period that can stretch, forward and backward in time, for months and even years.
How to look for your important Eclipses, up-close and personal
Every New Moon is a portal to a league of the monthly journey. When the New Moon falls on your birth Sign you know that to be a special beginning for you, a turning point in the yearly cycle. Now, if that New Moon, like in this case, is also a Solar Eclipse the New Moon’s portal is opening to a wider horizon than just few months ahead, and also to deeper dimensions of experience; sometimes even a re-birthing of sort. Still, fundamentally, the Solar Eclipse remains a symbol of the end of one cycle and the start of another, though perhaps a particularly intense and significant one.
Following the same reasoning every Full Moon represents the climax of a journey or period. If this event happens around your birthday it would be a more significant climax. If the Full Moon were also a Lunar Eclipse you could expect some major realizations and far-reaching climax type experience.
Eclipses are not rare phenomena, but they will produce a marked effect only if falling in close conjunction and opposition (for the Lunar Eclipses) to a sensitive point in your Birth or Progressed Charts, meaning Sun, Moon, Planets, Angles, Lunar Nodes. The orb (distance) allowed for Eclipses’ aspects should be, I think, very tight, one degree or less, or we would end up with too many Eclipses and not much happening with them. I am aware that many astrologers advocate a larger orb for Eclipses in conjunction or opposition to your Natal Chart’s placements, three or even five degrees, but I feel that keeping to a tight orb is always the safest thing to do, when trying to measure the strength of any aspect. The closest the aspect, the more obvious the effect. Eclipses are not exception.
When hunting Eclipses for a specific individual, ascertain, first of all, if the person was born in an Eclipse Season, with a Solar or Lunar Eclipse closely following or preceding the birthday. If this is the case make sure to search for any conjunction of the Eclipses’ degrees (also opposition, for Lunar Eclipses) with angular and planetary placements in the Natal Chart, especially with the Sun, Moon, Ascendant or Ruling Planet. Even when you don’t find any close aspect make a note of the areas of experience (House) occupied by the Eclipses, because they will remain sensitive areas throughout life, where, from time to time, important crisis may take place.
As you have gathered from my own example you don’t need to be born in an Eclipse Season to be affected by the power of Eclipses.
Eclipses, like all astrological events, have a light and a dark side. The type of experience depends on a combination of the nature of the Planet involved (aspected by the Eclipse) and the field (astrological House) where the Eclipse occurs in the Natal or Progressed Chart.
So, for instance, an Eclipse on your Sun will affect your sense of identity and self-esteem, an Eclipse on your Moon your emotions and family life. An Eclipse in your Third House will colour your communication and relationship with siblings, in the Eighth House your intimate relationships, your shared finances and your desire for personal power, etc, etc.
The example I gave before, of the glut of Eclipses I experienced the year my younger sister was born, is one of many I could have used. Here are a few more, hoping they will help you to understand how Eclipses might work in your own life.
A Solar Eclipse on the 29th degree of Gemini fell on my Natal Sun at 0° 03′ of Cancer, XI House, in 1982, the year my partner and I emigrated to Australia. Some change: we have never gone back in 29 years! That’s an Eclipse’s effect. It wouldn’t have been so powerful though if not for the assistance of a Saturn-Pluto-Jupiter’s passage over the cusp of my IV House, nadir and taproot of my Chart, life changing transits on their own. Together with the Solar Eclipse, the Progressed Moon in Aries in my Natal IX House of foreign travels and people, and other aspects besides, the Eclipse manifested in the decisive way it did.
And what about, earlier, a Lunar Eclipse on my Pisces North Node, Natal VIII House, in 1979, the year I visited India, my stay there lasting two years, during which time I met my partner of thirty years, and having a lot to do with the later decision to emigrate to Australia. The emotional impact of that period is still difficult to assess for me, one of the most formative year of my life. That Eclipse too wasn’t alone, but coincided with a full-on Saturn Return and other important transits.
Eclipses haven’t quite finished with me, more are coming my way, and I wasn’t even born in an Eclipse Season.