This year, we will experience a change in eclipse family. The Nodes of the Moon, the intersection points between the paths of the Sun and the Moon where eclipses occur, are gradually moving out of Pisces-Virgo and into Leo and Aquarius. This is because the Nodes precess i.e. move backwards through the zodiac, unlike the planets that appear to move in an anti-clockwise direction around the Moon.

Expect a different overall mood to these events then – Leo and Aquarius are fire and air signs, so the unpredictability and excitement factor goes up in intensity, as does the likelihood of the dramatic or the unexpected. Pisces-Virgo, by comparison, were a tad more sedate, being affiliated to the slightly less volatile elements, Moon and water.

Likely Leo-Aquarius themes prevalent during these eclipses include how one characterises one’s self as an individual – are you someone who defines your identity through creative self-expression, personal praise or recognition (Leo)? Or are you someone who sees yourself in terms of what group you belong to, how much you know, how different you are to everyone else or what you contribute to society (Aquarius)?

Other key words that help explain the differences and similarities between the two signs include: Heart vs. mind, involvement vs. detachment, self-awareness vs. knowledge of the world, self vs. others, subjectivity vs. objectivity, acceptance vs. doing the big thing, pride vs. freedom. You get the picture!

Both signs are fixed, which means that stubbornness is a common problem, as is having difficulty adjusting to change (though this may be less easy to spot in an Aquarian than a Leo). Given that eclipses epitomise change with a capital C, you can see why an eclipse in these signs is something of a contradiction in terms.

Speaking of contradictions, the transition of the nodes into new signs will take some time to complete, so this particular set of eclipses forms a kind of hybrid between the two  – the solar eclipse having made the cross-over whilst the lunar eclipse still lags behind a bit, taking place along the Pisces-Virgo axis.

SOLAR ECLIPSE in AQUARIUS

Another quirky factoid to be aware of is that the eclipses will be reversed in terms of order – instead of a lunar eclipse first, followed by a solar eclipse, we will begin the year with an annular solar eclipse in Aquarius on the 7th of February. This is due to occur over the Antarctic in the Southern Hemisphere, so will not be visible to many people in the world. However, partial sightings are possible from New Zealand, south-eastern Australia and southern Polynesia.

MERCURY CONJUNCT SUN & MOON

On the same day, Mercury will be in conjunction with (right next to) the Sun and Moon, also in Aquarius. The ruler of Aquarius (and therefore, also of the Sun at the time of the eclipse) is Uranus, planet of shocks and surprises, which will also be in a friendly aspect with Venus, planet of love and money.

My overall feeling is that this eclipse may be more eventful than previous years in an obvious sort of way – Mercury and Uranus are both planets that manifest in very dramatic modes because they both rule self-expression, albeit in different ways. Mercury is more changeable and fickle, tricksy, quick-witted and silver-tongued whilst Uranus is less predictable, more forthright and comes in flashes of insight or bursts of speech or action that are exciting but volatile and often result in sudden endings or about-faces.

Mercury also rules communications of all forms, including the equipment involved, such as telephones and satellites. Perhaps this solar eclipse will allow that which has been repressed or avoided, put in the shadows and out of direct Sunlight, to emerge and be spoken out loud? I expect that people will be more willing to tell others how they feel and will also be more likely to make decisions based on their intuition or gut instincts now.

Our most important influence at this time, though, will be Uranus. Uranus rules rebellion, individuality and social reform and doesn’t pull any punches in the tact department. It is this Uranian energy, which causes people to speak out against injustice and infuses people with inspiration, brilliance or genius, which will be most noticeable during this eclipse. Fortunately, Venus, planet of tact and diplomacy, will also be on hand to ensure that there are no show-downs or ugly confrontations, so all those good intentions can be implemented practically and couched in terms that will be less offensive and more effective politically. The two planets together could also signify monetary gifts, sudden windfalls or unexpected but positive twists in romantic situations.  Great news for Valentine’s Day!

LUNAR ECLIPSE in VIRGO

Following close behind this is a total lunar eclipse, on February the 21st.  This event will be visible from the Americas, Europe and most of Africa. Wolfgang Held says that this eclipse could be considered to be one of the most impressive during decade because an hour before the Moon moves into the Moon’s shadow  just after midnight, it will be situated directly below Regulus, the main star of the Leo constellation. So, if you can, try and make the time to watch it.

At this time, as with all lunar eclipses, the Sun and the Moon will be in opposite parts of the sky and so their energies will not be working harmoniously. This makes it an event that is more likely to be jarring or difficult to integrate into your life than a solar eclipse, where reason and emotion are working hand-in-hand. Anthropologist and diviner, Dennis Tedlock, who is a specialist in the field of Mayan culture and linguistics, has spoken of how the Mayans believed that eclipses should never be viewed directly. Instead they taught that the safest way to glimpse such occultations was to use pools of water as mirrors. Presumably, such precautions were taken to avoid being bewitched or harmed by the luminary spirits!

Unlike the previous eclipse, the Sun will be darkening the Moon, which means that solar masculine, yang, energy will predominate over feminine, yin energy – the opposite of what was happening during the solar eclipse. According to Australian astrologer, Bernadette Brady, solar eclipses are more likely to be external rather than internal events i.e. situations that happen to you or around you as opposed to epiphanies or emotional breakthroughs. As mentioned previously, this eclipse will occur in a different set of signs – Pisces-Virgo.

STELLIUM IN PISCES

Interestingly, on the same day, several planets will congregate together in what astrologers call a stellium, near the Sun, which will be in the early degrees of Pisces. However, all the other planets in the stellium, which include Venus, Mercury, Chiron and Neptune (which is, incidentally, the ruler of Pisces) will be in the constellation of Aquarius.  On the other side of the opposition, close to the Moon, the planet Saturn will be in the early degrees of Virgo.

With so many planets in Aquarius, and the other half of the eclipse twin-set happening in Aquarius-Leo, this in-between lunar eclipse clearly signals the end of a chapter, one that will hopefully see you wrapping up or integrating any outstanding issues related to health (both spiritual and physical), spirituality (both philosophical speculation and practised ritual), sacrifice vs. service and discrimination/discernment vs. going with the flow/merging with something larger than yourself. Having learnt a few lessons over the last 4 years or so, hopefully you will feel ready (like the planets in the stellium) to apply them in your life, give you a sense of meaning or make you feel more confident about who you are and what you are here to contribute to society.

This eclipse series belongs to what Bernadette Brady calls the 10 North family of Saros cycles. She associates this set of eclipses with limitations, obstacles and frustrations which may show up in the form of bad news, tricky paperwork or the mischief/difficulties surrounding a young person. It is interesting to note that Brady considers this eclipse series to have a strong emphasis on communication, which echoes the Mercury-Sun-Moon conjunction mentioned earlier. She also suggests that people may feel physically drained or want to retire a bit from circulation so that they can take things easy and have some time to process information or events.

Previous eclipses in this Saros series that have occurred in the last century took place in 1917, 1935, 1954, 1972, 1990, 2008, 2026, 2044.

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