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Solar Eclipse (Sun) | Lunar Eclipse (Moon) | How Eclipses happen
The eclipse of the Moon, when the light of the Moon mysteriously darkens at the luminous height of a Full Moon, has traditionally been viewed as a bad omen. It can awaken distinctly 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 second lunar eclipse of 2009 (in Capricorn on July 7) is one of four during the year, and unusual in that it is almost invisible as well as being one of two occurring a month apart, flanking the solar eclipse on July 22. Moreover, this eclipse pattern covers the major phase shift of the Moon's Nodes moving to Capricorn/Cancer, after 18 months of working their way through Aquarius/Leo. Click to learn more on the astrological implications of this shift of the Moon's Nodes.
This eclipse is an appulse, being only penumbral (partial and not fully darkening the Moon's light). The beginning and end of a penumbral eclipse are not visible to the eye. In fact, no shading can be detected until about 2/3 of the Moon's disk is immersed in the penumbra, but according to Fred Espenak of NASA, July's penumbral eclipse is only of academic interest since the magnitude is just 0.156. Although the Moon will be seen above the horizon from most of Canada, the eclipse is so minor as to be completely invisible to the naked eye. Looking at the map, the eclipse marginally affects Eastern Americas at moonset, bypassing Africa and Europe then re-emerging over Western Australia, Indonesia and Japan at moonrise. If it is visible at all, it will be over the Pacific Ocean and the Western US and Canada. Eclipses that are invisible generally have a negligible astrological effect; so little more is to be expected from this eclipse than from any regular Full Moon.
For a PDF of 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 Full Moon Lunar Eclipse on July 7th, 2009 occurs at 15°24' Capricorn, in conjunction with the Behenian Fixed Star Vega, a star of luck in politics, generosity and artistic talent, but suggesting fleeting fame and double-dealing, while the Sun is on the fortunate stars Canopus ("The Ship of the Desert"), known for changing evil to good, and Sirius, the bright star of ambition, pride and impetuosity. Overall the outlook under this eclipse is favourable, but not much more significant than a regular Full Moon would be, except for the fact that this Full Moon is the very fortunate festive day of Guru Purnima.
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.
At a more personal level, the solar eclipse can have a big effect on our personal lives when it occurs in conjunction with one of our natal planets, especially our natal Sun, Moon, or Ruling Planet. Other important chart factors, such as Moon's Nodes, Ascendant, Mid-heaven, or Part of Fortune can also have a very significant effect when impacted by a solar eclipse. Where the eclipse falls in the chart is significant, as the energies expressed by its house placement will show the areas of life that are affected by the new beginning that is implied.
The second solar eclipse of 2009 is a total eclipse of the Sun, at the New Moon in Cancer on July 22nd. This eclipse will be visible over a wide pathway that allows millions of people in Asia and the Pacific to see it. It will therefore be of considerable significance, as the more visible the eclipse, the more powerful its effects on us earthlings. During the total eclipse, the path of the Moon's dark umbral shadow moves over India, China, a handful of Japanese islands and the South Pacific Ocean, whilst a partial eclipse is seen within the much broader path of the Moon's penumbral shadow, which includes most of eastern Asia, Indonesia, and the Pacific Ocean. Unfortunately no eclipse is visible from North America or Europe.
The central path begins in India's Gulf of Khambhat, formerly known as Cambay, an inlet of the Arabian Sea, at 00:53 UT (6:23 AM, local time). Interestingly, this is where in 2002 archaeologists discovered the site of a sunken city with artifacts carbon-dated to more than 9000 years ago, showing that civilisation existed not long after the end of the last Ice Age. Racing inland, the shadow sweeps over the Indian cities of Surat, Indore, Bhopal, Varanasi, and Pata. Travelling across Bhutan, the umbra clips Nepal, Bangladesh, and Burma (Myanmar), before reaching China at 01:05 UT, then working its way across the rest of southern China where the major cities of Chengdu, Chongqing, Wuhan and Hangzhou stand in its path. As the Moon's shadow reaches the coast, China's largest city, Shanghai, with over 19 million people, experiences a total eclipse lasting 5 minutes at 9:39 AM local time (01:39 UT). Across the East China Sea, the umbra sweeps over Japan's Ryukyu Islands and Iwo Jima, but the greatest eclipse (6 minutes 39 seconds) occurs in the South Pacific at 02:35:19 UT. It then arcs southeast through the Pacific hitting small atolls in the Marshall Islands and Kiribati (Gilbert Islands). The path of totality ends at 04:18 UT as the lunar shadow leaves Earth 3.4 hours after it started its trek across our planet's surface. The 15,200 km long track covers 0.71% of Earth's surface. A partial eclipse is seen from a much larger area covering East Asia, Indonesia, and the South Pacific. For more detailed info from Fred Espenak on the path of the eclipse, please click here. Or you can view the map here.
For more on the science of eclipses, see Fred Espenak's NASA Eclipse Home Page.
This eclipse occurs at 29°27' of Cancer, the sign of the Crab, in trine to Uranus, the prehistoric sky god whose union with the Earth Mother produced life as we know it. Uranus is known for his erratic behaviour, producing outcomes that are unorthodox or unexpected...
Castor and Pollux are known in Indian Jyotish astrology as Punarvasu, the Return of the Light. The Moon in this asterism is considered fortunate, with strong inner resources and an ability to bounce back from difficulties. The energy is philosophical, religious, spiritual, likeable, charming and forgiving. People born under this star are inclined to be idealistic, honest and truthful, valuing family and the home. The Moon passes through Punarvasu in the leadup to the moment of greatest eclipse, then passes into nourishing Pushya, encouraging the growth of wealth, of service to others and the underprivileged. The symbolism moves from the growth-filled potential of Jupiter to the steady, structural influence of Saturn in this process. These asterisms are all located close to the ecliptic, so are occulted by the eclipse. This tends to reduce their positive functions and emphasise the less positive notions connected with them
Solar eclipses don't often pass over populated areas, but when they do, as in this case, they appear to have significant disruptive effects on the people and nations concerned (e.g., economic or political crises, civil unrest). Afghanistan, Pakistan, North India, and East Asia contain many flashpoints, so let us pray that no big flareups occur. Solar Eclipses also seem either to 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, though recent scientific work on the effects of the Moon on earthquakes and other terrestrial phenomena is interesting. No doubt they would hasten to deny any astrological effect! See my article on Moon Wobbles. The eclipse being in Cancer means that people with Cardinal signs (Cancer; Libra; Capricorn; Aries) featured in their birthcharts are more likely to be affected. The next eclipse of the Sun will be on January 15th, 2010.
Normally, eclipses come in pairs, a solar eclipse and a lunar eclipse. Rarely however, there are three eclipses in a row, and this year we experience that phenomenon. 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. This by no means lessens the power of a lunar eclipse, nor its importance when powerfully placed. A lunar eclipse can have quite devastating consequences.
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.
Penumbral Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius on August 6, 2009
The third eclipse, on August 6 (00:40 UT; 10:40 AM Sydney time) or August 5, (7:40 PM, Washington time), is also penumbral (appulse), and again, according to Fred Espenak, will be invisible. This should make it less significant interms of human experience, but because it is the second of two lunar eclipses flanking a solar eclipse, it nevertheless deserves attention. It occurs at 13°43' of Aquarius conjunct the Fixed Star, Dorsum, so it's pretty much a mirror of the January 09 Solar Eclipse in that sense. It deserves attention because the eclipse Sun is in the same degree as the Sun in President Obama's precessed Solar Return! This may see his emotions and desire for public approval overwhelm his innate spiritual sense and focused individuality, which has brought him to his current exalted position.
The eclipse may bring some upheavals, as Uranus is slapped in passing by the Moon just before the big event, but overall, the outlook is positive for the financial future and should release some imaginative solutions. It is, notwithstanding, a minor eclipse, though being the third in a row, which is unusual, we can expect energies stimulated by the current cycle to surface and release. The disasters awakened by the eclipse patterns in the past weeks have been serious enough (earthquakes; rainstorms; terrorist attacks; collapsing buildings), but not approaching the stratospheric levels of previous eclipses that have marked extraordinary mayhem in the sublunary world.
The Moon in Aquarius awakens a vivid imagination and the power of a photographic memory, so images are likely to flash around the world with even more frequency. You Tube is pretty Aquarian! Strange and curious events are likely to push forward, and exceedingly erratic mental states, even neurotic conditions may emerge. Sorrow and sudden changes may be caused by friends. Strong individualism and eccentric behaviour is likely to emerge. This is not an ideal time to marry.
Eclipses of the Sun or of the Moon are material, astronomical events, obvious to the naked eye, and as regular and as predictable as clockwork. They have an evident physical effect, as the light of either the Sun or the Moon is noticeably dimmed during the period of the eclipse. This is a scientific phenomenon, one which has been carefully observed since quite primitive times. In astrology, which studies the cosmic phenomena in terms of their effects on the lives of beings that inhabit the Earth, an eclipse is also a psychological, spiritual, social and emotional phenomenon. This aspect of eclipses has also been studied intensely, since before the beginning of civilisation.
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 plane 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 either of the Nodes.
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; 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, as well as stimulating primeval zoological, biological and botanical phenomena which are well-documented in the scientific literature.
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).
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.