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The Moon's Nodes
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The eclipse of the Sun has traditionally been viewed with dread over the ages, as the great giver of life seems inexplicably to disappear from the sky. Birds prepare for bed; the sky darkens in the middle of the day. It seems as though something dreadful is about to happen. Over the years, experience has shown us that old things come to an end (or are overthrown!) under a solar eclipse and a new beginning can be made.
Astrologically, solar eclipses signify the fall of the mighty (or at least, they're in big trouble!). Depending where in the zodiac the eclipse occurs, stress is always placed on the matters governed by that sign, or sector of the zodiac. A powerful Solar Eclipse can create massive havoc, in accordance with other aspects in the heavens at the time, as can be clearly seen by the trail of earthquakes and other disasters associated with the Solar Eclipse and Grand Cross of August 1999.
The year's first solar eclipse occurs on Wednesday, March 29, 2006. A total eclipse will be visible from within a narrow corridor, which traverses half the Earth. The path of the Moon's shadow begins in Brazil and extends across the Atlantic, northern Africa, and central Asia, where it ends at sunset in western Mongolia. A partial eclipse will be seen within the much broader path of the Moon's penumbral shadow, which includes the northern two thirds of Africa, Europe, and central Asia.
The eclipse path begins in eastern Brazil, where the Moon's umbra first touches down on Earth at 08:36 UT (Universal Time, or GMT), creating a 129-kilometre wide path. The umbra is the dark central zone of the Moon's shadow, as opposed to the penumbra, which is the lighter, outer part of the shadow. It quickly leaves Brazil and races across the Atlantic Ocean with no landfall for the next half hour. After crossing the equator, the shadow enters the Gulf of Guinea and encounters the coast of Ghana at 09:08 UT. The 1.7 million inhabitants of Ghana's capital city Accra can expect a total eclipse lasting 2 minute 58 seconds (09:11 UT).
Moving inland the umbra enters Togo at 09:14 UT. Unfortunately, the capital city Lome lies just outside the southern limit so its inhabitants will only witness a grazing partial eclipse. Two minutes later, the leading edge of the umbra reaches Benin, whose capital Porto-Novo experiences a deep partial eclipse. Continuing northeast, the shadow's axis enters Nigeria at 09:21 UT. Since Lagos is situated about 120 kilometres outside the umbra's southern limit, its population of over eight million will witness a partial eclipse of magnitude 0.968.
The umbra's axis takes about sixteen minutes to cross western Nigeria before entering Niger at 09:37 UT. During the next hour, the shadow traverses some of the most remote and desolate deserts on the planet. When the umbra reaches northern Niger (10:05 UT), it briefly enters extreme northwestern Chad before crossing into southern Libya.
The instant of greatest eclipse occurs at 10:11:18 UT when the axis of the Moon's shadow passes closest to the center of the Earth. Continuing on a northeastern course, the umbra crosses central Libya and reaches the Mediterranean coast at 10:40 UT. Northwestern Egypt also lies within the umbral path where the central duration is 3 minutes 58 seconds.
Passing directly between Crete and Cyprus, the track reaches the southern coast of Turkey at 10:54 UT. With a population of nearly 3/4 million people, Antalya lies 50 kilometres northwest of the central line. The coastal city's inhabitants are positioned for a total eclipse lasting 3 minutes 11 seconds while observers on the central line receive an additional 35 seconds of totality. Konya is 25 kilometres from path center and experiences a 3 minute 36 second total phase beginning at 10:58 UT. Crossing mountainous regions of central Turkey, the Moon's shadow intersects the path of the 1999 Aug 11 total eclipse. A quarter of a million people in Sivas have the opportunity of witnessing a second total eclipse from their homes in less than seven years. Let's trust that they do not suffer the fate of so many of their compatriots under the previous cosmic time-bomb.
This is an earthquake zone, so the inhabitants of this region should be prepared for the worst, in case of a repetition of what happened in 1999, though the associated planetary stresses are not quite so intense. Still, the recent Grand Cross is active, although not exact, so we cannot dismiss the possibility; people should not be blasé about the need for precaution. Governments and disaster relief organisations in the area should be on alert. Solar eclipses, especially total solar eclipses, also seem to either trigger, or amplify, natural events in the regions they affect (e.g., severe weather, earthquakes).
At 11:10 UT, the shadow axis reaches the Black Sea along the northern coast of Turkey. The central duration is 3 minutes 30 seconds, the Sun's altitude is 47°, the path width is 165 kilometres and the umbra's velocity is 0.996 km/s. Six minutes later, the umbra encounters the western shore of Georgia. Moving inland, the track crosses the Caucasus Mountains, which form the highest mountain chain of Europe. Georgia's capital, Tbilisi, is outside the path and experiences a magnitude 0.949 partial eclipse at 11:19 UT. As the shadow proceeds into Russia, it engulfs the northern end of the Caspian Sea and crosses into Kazakhstan. At 11:30 UT, the late afternoon Sun's altitude is 32°, the central line duration is 2 minutes 57 seconds and the umbral velocity is 1.508 km/s and increasing.
In the remaining seventeen minutes, the shadow rapidly accelerates across central Asia while the duration dwindles. It traverses northern Kazakhstan and briefly re-enters Russia before lifting off Earth's surface at sunset along Mongolia's northern border at 11:48 UT. Over the course of 3 hours and 12 minutes, the Moon's umbra travels along a path approximately 14,500 kilometres long and covers 0.41% of Earth's surface area. For more on the science of eclipses, see Fred Espenak's NASA Eclipse Home Page.
This eclipse is at 8°35' Aries, the warlike sign of the Ram, conjunct the Dragon's Head (Moon's north node: karmic life-path), trine Saturn, the Lord of Karma and sorrow. Saturn in Leo signifies the fall of kings and the solar eclipse is just the event to push them over the edge! In fact, Israeli Prime Minister Arial Sharon has already fallen, as have his opponents the Fatah Palestinian Authority, thanks to the previous eclipse in October 2005.
Pluto turns retrograde on this day square retrograde Mercury in Pisces, so power struggles and obstructive energies will be rife, clouded by a fog of confusion. Pluto turns in conjunction with the Galactic Centre at 26° Sagittarius, so this is no casual encounter. This point, discovered in 1932, is thought to contain a massive black hole with the mass of some four million times that of our own Sun. It has a significant effect when aspected, inclining people to take a central role in affairs and to have a sense of cosmic destiny. Sagittarius is the sign of higher mind, philosophy, religion and law. This transit marks revolutionary and deep fundamental changes in all these areas, as we have seen. Conventional beliefs will be dismantled as scientific revolutions and discoveries fundamentally change the way people think of organized religion, government and academic institutions. Cultural values will be radically changed in the wake of new technology. However, the outcome might be somewhat more beneficial than might otherwise have been expected, as there is a trine aspect to Saturn that is not a bad one.
When we first published an article by Neil Giles in 2003 (The Puzzle) on his bemusement over the impending attack by the US and the Coalition of the Willing on Iraq back in 2003, I was impelled to seek an answer to The Puzzle and so found that the hidden source of the US anxiety was the proposal by Saddam to open trading in oil in Euros, instead of in US Dollars as had been the global agreement since the oil crisis of the 1970's. "The Puzzle" was written before the 2003 declaration of war in the Gulf, but I feel that it is still worthy of a good read in the light of the upcoming US invasion of Iran. BTW, if you really want to know the answer to the Puzzle, click here. The Axis of Evil (Iran; Iraq; North Korea) were all proposing to trade in Euros, not dollars. This put the wind up the US Administration, a wind which blew so strongly that it destroyed the secular government of Iraq, shattering the culture of the region – and is still costing lives today.
Why? Because the oil economy being priced exclusively in greenbacks allows the US to run up a vast debt financed by foreigners who must buy their oil in dollars, not euros (hence the French and German unwillingness to be in the Coalition of the Willing). It will interest those of you who have been following the course of the US bluster on the subject to know that Iran will open an oil trading bourse in euros on March 20, 2006. The US government has been warning the world of its intention to suppress Iran's nuclear ambitions (weapons of mass destruction...?).
At the same time, on March 23, 2006, the US Federal Reserve will cease publishing the M3 figures (the most reliable indicator on the amount of dollars circulating in the world).
"These two decisions constitute altogether the indicators, the causes and the consequences of the historical transition in progress between the order created after World War II and the new international equilibrium in gestation since the collapse of the USSR. Their magnitude as much as their simultaneity will catalyse all the tensions, weaknesses and imbalances accumulated since more than a decade throughout the international system." – Europe 2020 Alarm
Evidently a big change is heading our way, associated with this eclipse and the Grand Cross in Fixed Signs that has been dogging us for months and will keep at it until after the last week of October 2006 (see my article on Jupiter in Scorpio). This change will be full of confusion and dissemblement, as Mercury will still be retrograde in Pisces at the time of the eclipse. Solar eclipses don't often pass over populated areas, but when they do, they appear to have significant disruptive effects on the people and nations concerned (e.g., economic or political crises, civil unrest). My colleague, Ian Thurnwald, points out that solar eclipses also seem to either trigger, or amplify, natural events in the regions they affect (e.g., severe weather, earthquakes). Whether this effect is an astrological one or not, is a moot point. The next eclipse of the Sun will be on September 22, 2006.
The eclipse of the Moon has traditionally been viewed as a bad omen, for it can awaken irrational responses. Since the Moon governs domestic matters, the public and the emotional personality, rather than leadership, it tends to have a more personal effect than the solar eclipse, which plays a more outward, even political, role. As a rule, women and family are generally more affected by the lunar cycle, whereas men and politics are signified by the solar. This is not to say that women are not political animals, nor that men are distinct from the family, but that the private, nurturing side is more affected than the public, social and media driven arena, which even in the 21st Century is still primarily dominated by males, or at least by what might be described as masculine energies.
The first lunar eclipse of 2006 is a deep penumbral event (penumbra: lighter or outer shadow) best visible from Europe and Africa, but also from the eastern half of America on March 14, 2006 at the Full Moon in Virgo, the discriminating sign of the Virgin. It will particularly affect people with mutable signs strong in their charts (the mutable signs are Virgo, Pisces, Gemini and Sagittarius), especially as at 24°15' Virgo, it is in a stressful square aspect to transiting Pluto (obstruction; transformation; regeneration). According to Belgian eclipse expert Jean Meeus  this is one of only five such events during the 21st century. Greatest eclipse occurs at 23:48 UT (Universal Time, commonly known as GMT, Greenwich Mean Time).
This eclipse creates mental and intellectual stress. Flattery or emotional display is likely to cause upsets, as religious expression and criticism of other faiths will see conflict. Selfishness, narrow-mindedness, trouble in employment or with employees is also problematic. Emotional demands can be surprisingly unrealistic. Sorrow in relationships arises due to a lack of passion, fear of financial support or lack of money. The resolution is to trust the process of life and realize that you will be taken care of.
People with mutable signs prominent in their charts will have a hard time separating their egos from their emotions, failing to recognise that something (or someone) they want may simply represent ego involvement, instead of emotional commitment. What we are called upon (or driven) to do may often interfere with what gives us emotional satisfaction, or we chase after our desires, while we waste or fail to develop our talents and skills. A tug-of-war exists between desires and emotional needs and practical ambitions. Appreciate whatever positive circumstances you encounter, and don’t be misguided enough to believe you can easily overcome any negative ones.Moon's Nodes that have hardly been surpassed for accuracy until the recent advent of the computer. For more on the science of eclipses, click here. Remember when looking at this astronomical material that they are using the sidereal zodiac, whilst we are using the tropical zodiac, so sign placements may seem out of whack with those mentioned here. This is due to the cosmic phenomenon known as the precession of the equinoxes, which makes the tropical zodiac of the seasons, as used on this site, seem out of sync with the constellations. This factor however has no effect on the predictive power of astrology.
The Moon's light is reflected from the Sun, as the Moon does not shine of her own accord. Each month the Moon in her orbit travels completely around the Earth and the New and Full Moons happen as the Sun aligns with the Moon, either in conjunction or opposition. These powerful periods are called lunations. Among other effects on the world, they generate the tides.
At a Full Moon, when the Earth, Sun and Moon are closely aligned so that the Earth is located precisely between the Sun and the Moon, the shadow of the Earth covers the face of the Moon generating a Lunar Eclipse, where the light of the Moon is darkened temporarily. When similarly aligned at a New Moon, the body of the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun, producing a Solar Eclipse by hiding the face of the Sun. Remember that eclipses of the Sun should never be viewed directly with the naked eye, because the potential for eye damage is high.
When lunations are also eclipses, their effect is even more powerful — although solar eclipses are generally more strongly felt than lunar eclipses. Eclipses usually occur in pairs, with either a lunar eclipse (Full Moon) heralding a solar eclipse (New Moon) about two weeks later, or vice versa. The energy of any lunation is always most strongly felt a day or so before the Moon (emotions; habit patterns; the public) reaches the exact alignment with the Sun (character; rationality; rulers).
Astrology shows that the stars and planets are a map to our personalities and a guide to our place in the world. It also explains how the world is regular and predictable (up to a point!). An astrological forecast will place these trends into a context, with regard to our own personal destinies.
Enlightened Astrology does not teach a fatalistic view of the world. Within the environment indicated by the stars, we have considerable freedom to move and make decisions, according to our character and circumstances. See Nexus of Probability.
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