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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.
The first lunar eclipse of the year is a total eclipse in Virgo, at 3:27 hrs UT on Feb 21, 2008 (Feb 20 in the Americas). From start to finish, it lasts about three hours and twenty-six minutes (not including the penumbral phases which are very difficult to see). The partial eclipse begins as the Moon's eastern edge slowly moves into the Earth's umbral shadow. During the partial phases, it takes just over an hour for the Moon's orbital motion to carry it entirely within the Earth's dark umbra.
Vivid Red... or Orange?
The colour and brightness of the totally-eclipsed Moon can vary considerably from one eclipse to another. Dark eclipses are caused by volcanic gas and dust, which filters and blocks much of the Sun's light from reaching the Moon. But since no major volcanic eruptions have taken place recently, the Moon will probably take on a vivid red or orange colour during the total phase. After the total phase ends, it is once again followed by a partial eclipse, as the Moon gradually leaves the umbral shadow.
The eclipse occurs at 1°53' Virgo, in conjunction with the Fixed Star Megrez in the constellation of Ursa Major, the Great Bear. This star is a star of Mars, so is passionate and driven. It symbolises spiritual sight; creativity and violence. It is also known as Atri, who was one of the seven Rishis (Hindu sages), the ruling star of the Great Bear, Ursa Major. The Great Bear gives a quiet, prudent, suspicious, mistrustful, self-controlled, patient nature, but an uneasy spirit and great anger when roused.. By the Kabalists it is associated with the Hebrew letter Zain and the 7th Tarot Trump, "The Chariot". The energies of the Chariot give great impetus in one's direction and also tend to reduce any surrounding negative effects.
For NASA's graphic illustration of the Moon's path through Earth's shadows, as well as Fred Espenak's map illustrating worldwide visibility, click here.
The Moon is eclipsed in Virgo, so people at this time will feel quite reserved, eschewing flattery or emotional display. Selfishness, narrow-mindedness, trouble in employment, or with employees are likely. Passion is overcome by intellect and people are likely to be extremely critical and picky, both of themselves and others, especially their partners. The military is likely to be very edgy and inclined to take the lead, particularly if there is political disagreement, which is indicated by current aspects. Mars is the fierce, passionate warrior and transiting Mars, notably, is conjunct Polaris and more ominously Betelgeuse in the constellation of Orion, suggesting war, carnage and general damage due to misunderstanding and undue edginess. Remember, the Moon in the eclipse is conjunct Megrez, a star of Mars.
The Moon however is eclipsed in fortunate trine to Pluto, the dark lord of transformation. This reduces the negative effects and suggests that the long term outcome may be beneficial, or at least more beneficial than might otherwise be the case, especially for the younger generation. Note that obstructive Pluto in GWB's chart is conjunct the Ascendant (self-image) of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Pluto in Iran's chart is conjunct GWB's Moon (the public; homeland security) and his Jupiter (politics; religion; the law), so it is sure to stir some trouble. Nevertheless, the eclipse in Iran will not be fully visible, unlike in the US, reducing its impact. War birds will hopefully remain hovering, rather than diving into action, though diplomacy will surely be put to the test.
Health issues are likely to be in the news. Saturn, lord of Karma, and the bright Royal Star, Regulus, are only three degrees (three fingers' width) east and west, respectively, of the Moon. Regulus, a star of Mars combined with Jupiter, is the most Royal Star. Known as Raphael, the Healing Archangel, healing is thus restated as an issue. This star was anciently the Watcher of the North, noted for his nobility, ambition, alertness, great power, status and leadership, but associated with sudden downfall, accidents and violence. Snce Regulus is in the last degree of tropical Leo, this diminishes his power somewhat, being out-of-sign in this figure, but if the US decides to take its threatened action against Iran, this would be a likely trigger.
Saturn is retrograde in Virgo, conjunct the eclipsed Moon – and the Saturn of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Iran is therefore undergoing its Saturn Return conjunct GWB's natal Mars! Transiting Uranus (sudden catastrophes; unexpected events; technological upsets) is tightly conjunct Iran's south lunar node (sorrow; loss; inevitable karmic events). On this day, transiting Mars is conjunct Iran's Mars, so headstrong, warlike feelings will rule, especially since the solar eclipse on Feb. 7 fell in Iran's nodal degree in its seventh house of open enemies.
This is a definite warning for hostilities, but also showing at a more personal level that relationships and family life will be liable to restrictive feelings – feelings of aridity and sorrow. Saturn opposes the Sun in Pisces, increasing responsibilities and drudgery. The Sun in the eclipse is conjunct the Royal Star Fomalhaut, so the temptation will be to resort to alcohol, or drugs. Fomalhaut is the Archangel Gabriel, the Watcher of the South. You need to watch your associates. It may seem as though you are taking one step forward and eight steps back. Forget about receiving any show of thanks or gratitude. Nit-pickers and those in charge seem to take it for granted that you will have what they need and are fully prepared to execute their demands. Sloppy work or irresponsibility you exhibit under this influence will not only be unacceptable now, but may work against you in the future. Do not seek favours, or promotion – and don't count on luck. It is a transitional energy. Issues will come to a head at the Solar Eclipse on August 1st.
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. The mutable signs are Virgo; Pisces; Gemini; and Sagittarius. 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.
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. The effect on the world of eclipses has been seen to be generally felt for some six months, until the next eclipse then restructures the cosmic energies.
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 first solar eclipse of 2008 is an annular eclipse of the Sun, at the New Moon on February 7 – Chinese New Year, the Year of the Rat! Unfortunately, it will mainly be visible only in the Southern Hemisphere, notably Antarctica, the South Pacific, Eastern Australia and New Zealand. It's a sunset eclipse. Data from the observatories are somewhat unclear, but the Navy table indicates that the eclipse begins at the South Pole at 02:11 UT and ends at Suva Fiji at 06:10 UT. Maximum Eclipse in Sydney is 05:44 UT (4:44 PM Sydney time). Unfortunately no eclipse is visible from the North America or Europe.
This eclipse occurs at 17°44' of Aquarius, the sign of the Water-Bearer, but this is the first solar eclipse in 19 years with the nodes in Aquarius (see my article on the nodes changing sign in December 2007) and the first eclipse of this cycle with Pluto having made the transit into Capricorn, along with Jupiter into Capricorn and Saturn into Virgo, changing the elemental flavour of the world from fiery to earthy. This eclipse is by no means as powerful as that of August 1999, but it does restimulate the energies of that massive cosmic event, for it falls exactly opposite its position in the zodiac, in 18 Aquarius, as opposed to 18 Leo!
It occurs in the constellation Delphinus, the Dolphin, in the fortunate Hindu asterism, Dhanishtha. There are many aspects in the heavens on the day, so this eclipse seems to mark a fortunate entry into the new Earth-focused decade ahead. Perhaps the pursuit of the great sea mammals in the Southern Ocean will be resolved in their favour! Or maybe people will make more money out of them. Greenpeace, Sea Shepherd, and Japanese whalers, take note...
In ancient times, priests and astrologers discovered how to predict eclipses, having realised their significance. Using observation and mathematics, they prepared reliable tables utilising their knowledge of the movement of the Moon's Nodes that have hardly been surpassed for accuracy until the recent advent of the computer. The Moon's Nodes mark the points where the path of the Moon's orbit around the Earth crosses the path of the ecliptic (the apparent path of the Sun and planets around the Earth) as viewed from the surface of the Earth. An eclipse takes place when either a New Moon (producing a Solar Eclipse) or a Full Moon (producing a Lunar Eclipse) occurs close to the either of the Nodes.
At a Full Moon, when the Earth, Sun and Moon are so closely aligned 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. The light of the Moon is darkened temporarily. It is safe to observe the Lunar Eclipse, or to take photographs, as there is no likelihood of eye damage, unlike the dangers during a Solar Eclipse.
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.
Although the actual size of the Moon is much smaller than the size of the Sun, one of the most remarkable facts about our universe is that, when viewed from the Earth during a total eclipse, the Moon's disc exactly covers the disc of the Sun. The odds against such a striking coincidence happening in the one known area of the Universe where intelligent beings can experience it are, in a word, astronomical! This is one more in a long list of phenomena that inclines this writer to believe that our world is much more like a mind than a thing. See Is Astrology Scientific, for more on this approach.