The 2016 eclipse season gets underway this March with a solar eclipse in Pisces at the New Moon on the 9th – an event that will likely be tainted with a certain bittersweet sadness and poignancy. This is followed by a lunar eclipse in Libra at the Full Moon on the 23rd – just after the Spring equinox – bringing to a close a six month chapter in the area of relationships and legal matters.
As usual, these soli-lunar events act as bi-yearly markers, challenging us to let go of the old and embrace the new. Overall, 2016 is set to be quite an eventful year, with no less than five eclipses – two in March, one in August, and two in September –all due to take place between now and the autumn, so get ready for change in a big way! And, with mutable signs predominating, situations are likely to remain pretty fluid throughout the year, so like it or not, this is a year in which you’ll need to remain flexible and fleet of foot.
Let’s take a closer look at what we can expect for the first half of 2016, care of these ancient astral omens.
9 March 2016 – SOLAR ECLIPSE in PISCES
Degree – 19 Pisces
According to James Burgess, the 19th degree of Pisces is concerned with psychological growth and inner knowledge, attained through spiritual guidance. This can either be gleaned from texts, prayer or meditation, or from a teacher/inner guide/spirit helper who is able to move us past our current blocks and personal limitations.
“Self-refinement is the process by which we gain greater understandings of ourselves, and through this it is possible to learn of any appropriate re-orientations currently indicated as useful shifts of perceptions or direction. It is very rare for this to be possible without guidance, because we are mostly in denial of our shadow side, and cannot see the imperfections of character that must necessarily be addressed if we are to progress fully.”[i]
The coming six months is therefore likely to be about subtle, possibly imperceptible changes, mostly of the inward variety. You may find yourself slowly letting go of bad habits, limiting feelings or unhealthy beliefs so that by the time of the next solar eclipse in early September, you’ll be ready to make plans and start imtegrating these changes into your life on a more practical level.
This eclipse forms part of what Bernadette Brady calls the 18 South Saros family, which she equates with endings, separations and partings:
“This parting can be anything from a friend travelling overseas and the saying of goodbyes to the ending of a relationship with a loved one, which could bring much anguish and grief.”
According to her, though, as one door closes, so another will open – and so “…the pain of separation is lessened by encountering new situations which lead to very positive outcomes.”[ii]
Whatever happens then, just bear in mind that difficult, painful or challenging events may simply be the darkness before the dawn, and that better days are coming.
As I mentioned in my March 2016 Astro-Insights column, the Sabian Symbol for this degree is:
A FAMOUS REVIVALIST CONDUCTING A MEETING IN A HUGE TENT WITH A SPECTACULAR PERFORMANCE.
This symbol seems to hint at the possibility of meeting someone charismatic and possibly knowledgeable, like a guru, teacher or preacher, who may, or may not be able to help you to move past, or through, personal challenges, putting you back in touch with certain key dreams or goals, and returning you to a path that leads to fulfilment and enlightenment. It may also point to a need to come together with groups of people to seek collective meaning and purpose in times of difficulty and uncertainty.
Sometimes, we need to be around others to remind ourselves of what is truly important to us – so watch to see how you react when surrounded by large gatherings of people, especially if you feel as though they are part of ‘your tribe’. Conversely, if you feel like the odd person out, then perhaps it is time to remind yourself of the fact that you are someone who doesn’r run with the herd – and that’s equally OK.
During the March 9 solar eclipse, the Sun and Moon will form part of a stellium of planets, all congregating in the sign of Pisces. This will serve to amplify typically Piscean themes such as sacrifice, redemption, martyrdom, selflessness, compassion, spirituality, dreams, poetic vision and the artistic imagination – all of which are likely to feature prominently over the next six months or so – until the next solar eclipse in early September.
In addition, the luminaries will also be conjunct to Chiron, the asteroid that has come to be associated with life lessons, psychological and spiritual healing, which does seem to hint at situations or events that expose a deep psychological wound or vulnerability, but which may equally bring about opportunities for healing. If you have unfinished business in this arena, or are finding it hard to let go of certain psychological baggage that you feel you’ve been carrying around for too long, then see this cycle as an opportunity to liberate yourself of the burden of grief, pain, fear or rejection. Compassionately choose to move on now, if given the opportunity – and often this process begins with forgiveness, a very Piscean trait.
This eclipse will also key into a highly significant Jupiter-Saturn square, active throughout much of March, thereby creating a T-square formation which may serve to highlight certain topics or issues concerning morality, social approval and of course, personal sacrifice. It is therefore possible that as a result of developments arising around the time of the eclipse, that you could find yourself on the horns of a personal moral dilemma of sorts – one that could consume your thoughts for the next six months or so. At the heart of it will be questions such as:Do you push ahead with certain changes that feel long overdue, or hold back and ‘do the right thing,’ at perhaps what feels like great personal cost – sacrifice even?
This is indeed, a difficult choice. Who you choose to surround yourself with, or take advice from, therefore seems to be very important. Saturn’s presence in Jupiter-ruled Sagittarius hints at the challenge of acting with integrity and in accordance with socially-accepted beliefs and morality. It also suggests that you need to be in possession of all the facts before you make any major decisions – knowledge then, is key.
However, you may want to take comfort from the fact that Jupiter will also be within close orb of a trine to Pluto. This implies that fundmental changes to the structure of your life are likely to occur between now and the beginning of September. However, these are not only inevitable and cannot be avoided, but may also ultimately be in your best interests.
If the path of transformation does comes about in the form of circumstances beyond your control, then this should help you to cut through any potential ethical dilemmas you may have concerning whether to expand your horizons or hold back for the sake of prudence/caution. In other words, key decisions are likely to be taken out of your hands. It is also probably fair to say that, in extraordinary circumstances, conventional wisdom and everyday morality may not really be appropriate. Sometimes we are called upon to act in the interests of survival, which could mean having to act out of character. But, as they say, extraordinary times often call for extraordinary measures. So, if you do need to be a bit ruthless or cutthroat, then try not to beat yourself up about it too much – circumstances may simply demand it.
The upshot, then? Do what you can to protect yourself and your family, but when in doubt, don’t do anything – things may simply change of their own accord, so don’t push too hard hard if you encounter resistance – it could well be that Fate has its own plans, so take a breath and wait to see how the chips fall. Luckily, with Jupiter involved, things should work out in everyone’s favour in the end. If things seem bad initially, remember all the drama in Shakespeare’s plays and then his famous line: “All’s well that ends well.”
Parts and Lots
At the time of the eclipse, both the Sun and Moon will be conjunct several parts/lots, including the Part of the Father, the Part of Inheritances, the Part of Profession and the Part of Danger/Peril. These Arabic Lots are therefore suggestive of a parent/guardian possibly dying (Father + Inheritances) or perhaps of discussions around wills/inheritances/family legacies. These are all potentially fraught topics that require treading with care – hence the warning of the Part of Danger/Peril.
Given the involvement of the Part of Profession, it also seems wise to make career decisions carefully, especially given that this lot will be opposed to Jupiter, the planet of luck, expansion and good fortune. The danger or peril alluded to may therefore relate to impaired judgement or bad advice, so taking big professional risks, or not seeking consensus from advisors or mentors at this time (or in the next six months) may not be entirely prudent.
That being said, Saturn will sextile the Sun & Moon, and will be conjunct the Part of Fortune and Sudden Advancement, as well as the Lot of Spirit and Merchandise, which does seem to bode well. Sometimes fortune does favour the brave and if Saturn, the planet of caution and careful planning, is giving you the green light, then all may not be as bad as it seems.
Overall, then, the lots, like the emphasis on mutuable signs, seems to suggest a more passive, receptive approach to problems – one that may involve prayer and contemplation; as well as an ability to adapt to circumstances and flow around obstacles, rather than attempt to push them out of the way. Find the path of least resistance and go with the tide because with Pluto in the picture, I think that matters will change of their own accord without much effort from you. Sit tight and wait for the sea change to arise then.
This eclipse will take place at a southerly latitude, around 4 degrees below the equator and visible from Indonesia, parts of Brunei, Sumatra, the Javan sea and the Pacific islands of Pagai Utara and Pagai Selatan. It will also be partially visible in northern and western Australia, eastern Asia and western Alaska. The eclipse will begin at around 06:28 GMT and last until around 08h38 GMT.
This group of eclipses previously occurred in 1908, 1926, 1944, 1962, 1980, 1998 and will not take place again until 2034.
LUNAR ECLIPSE in LIBRA
On 23 March 2016, just after the Sun reaches its zenith, a lunar eclipse in Libra will bring another six month long cycle to a close. Occurring in cardinal signs, and on the same day as a rather rare Jupiter-Saturn square, this is likely to be a rather dramatic event- one that could test your beliefs or morals to the limit.
Degree – 3 Libra
Choices and decisions seems to be the key theme of this eclipse. Libra has a bit of a bad rap for being indecisive, which isn’t exactly true – as the Scales of Justice suggest – they simply like to carefully weigh up both sides of an argument – both the pro’s and the cons – before arriving at a fair and balanced decision.
As a relationship sign, Libra does tend towards compromise and put others’ needs before their own, which can lead to resentment and a certain degree of pent up anger and frustration.
James Burgess offers some advice on how to use the energy of the early degrees of Libra:
Our choices define us, and options to re-invent ourselves occur each day… We must re-invent ourselves each morning in a constant repetition of the need for innovation.It is good, therefore, that our appetite for experiment is insatiable. Innovation requires trial and error for its own sake, and we love it. Through this, and this alone, we are able to continue unending further self-discovery in an unimaginable range of human experience. …Even in the most trivial of matters, there is real challenge for us to work out our best response – the choices we need to make define us; they are frequent and often unexpected. The range of possibilities is without limit – even in our everyday affairs we have an infinite flexibility of options to be whatever we want to be. [i]
THE DAWN OF A NEW DAY REVEALS EVERYTHING CHANGED
This particular Sabian Symbol certainly seems to point to the start of a brand new era or cycle – an awakening of sorts – certainly, it seems to hint at a realisation or awareness that a seismic shift has taken place – but one that sounds incredibly hopeful. It is almost as though you may have been sleepwalking for a 26 week period, only to suddenly become aware that things have to change – or, in fact, that while you weren’t paying attention, things have already altered on some level. Of course, it could simply point to a different perspective on the same circumstances. The key is a shift in perception – to one that empowers you and makes you aware that you have more choice in the matter than you realised. Use it!
Given how close this eclipse happens in relation to the spring equinox, it seems virtually a given that there will be an air of renewal and vitality about this particular event, which is no bad thing. Sometimes just realising that you are not powerless is enough to propel you out of apathy and depression into a place that feels more hopeful and dynamic. Choose to be happy – and start today!
As I mentioned earlier, this particular eclipse takes place on the same day as a rather rare Jupiter-Saturn square – which is a pretty remarkable coincidence. Just to give you an idea: Jupiter and Saturn normally meet every 20 years or so in a ‘royal conjunction.’ This event marks the beginning of a fresh synodic cycle – one that that often precipitates important cultural events, intellectual developments, religious shifts and moral sea changes. This is particularly true when the conjunction occurs in air signs, as it did back in 2000 – the start of the current Jupiter-Saturn cycle. Each cycle is then broken up into five-yearly intervals, when both planets make key aspects to each other, the main ones being the waxing square, trine, opposition and waning square.
The last time these two planetary heavyweights met up was in May 2010 when they were in opposition – the co-called ‘Full Moon’ position- a time that many of us remember because it was followed by what astrologers refer to as the ‘Cardinal Event’ of 2010. This coincided with a very turbulent time in world history – paired with a set of eclipses in Cancer and Capricorn, it precipitated some seismic shifts in global politics and attitudes to family, society, institutions and morality- think of the Arab Spring as just one example – many of which are still having reverberations around the world today. Since that time, many institutions have been revealed to be corrupt, and organisations, from corporate multi-nationals to governments, have had to make some pretty radical changes/reforms to the way they are run.
Now, with the current lunar eclipse due to occur in a cardinal sign again – the air sign of Libra – it seems not only possible that it future events may tap into memories or themes from that spring/summer, but that a few laws and decisions will need to be made about what we think is fair in terms of social rules and standards. I am thinking especially about social justice, the Occupy Movement and how it may perhaps play a role in how the US presidential elections unfold – look at how taken some younger Democratic voters are with the idealism of Bernie Sanders, one one hand; and then also how many others have completely swung in the opposite direction in favour of Donald Trump. American society is truly divided at this point in time between very liberal and ultra conervative, with very little middle ground in between – very much a reflection of the Jupiter (liberal) -Saturn (conservative) square. Hopefully, with this eclipse due to take place in Libra – the ultimate sign of balance, peace and moderation – we’ll see the debate and race begin to move towards more moderate, less extreme candidates and that reason (air), rather than emotion (water), will ultimately win the day.
For many of us, the square will indeed coincide with a period in which we struggle to navigate the line between liberalism and conservatism, optimism and pessimism, and expansion versus contraction. As if to emphasize Jupiter-Saturn themes around beliefs, cultural cohesion and social mobility, the North Node will be situated very close to the fixed star, Denebola, which some interpret to mean ‘going against society’. With Saturn in Sagittarius and Jupiter in critical Virgo, I wonder whether hypocrisy in a few leaders will be exposed now? It’s certainly looks as though pettiness and critcism (both negative Virgo qualities) could well combine with self-righteousness and high handedness to create an environment where everyone has an opinion about other people and thinks they could do a better job of running things. However, as they say, talk is cheap and it is easy to crticise from the sidelines rather than get your hands dirty, so let’s hope that a little common sense and restraint prevail at this time.
I definitely think that, with the Full Moon in Libra, that there will be a strong drive for fairer policies and more just laws, especially those governing good business practices and equal opportunities – hopefully a few laws or rules that may have been in the pipeline for the last six months concerning things like equal pay and just treatment for minorities finally make it onto the law books. With the Sun trine to Mars, leaders and bosses can certainly make things happen if they are quick and decisive now. Fingers crossed!
Parts and Lots
Interestingly, both the Sun and Moon will be making contact with the lot of the Honourable Acquaintance, which is very much concerned with trust, integrity and keeping honest company. It may be worth noting that the Sun and Mercury will be opposite this Part while the Moon will be conjunct it, suggesting that you need to trust your instincts about whether or not you can count on people, and not go by their words because there may well be a few so-called friends or colleagues around you who make a lot of promises or claims that they never intend to keep or back up with action. When in doubt, then, consider people’s past track record in terms of actions, and not their words as this will provide you with the best way of judging whether or not they are worthy of your trust, time and energy.
[i] James Burgess, Full Circle. Commentary on the Work of Dr Marc Edmund Jones as an Introduction to his Understanding Of Sabian Symbols, p. 410
[ii] Bernadette Brady, Predictive Astrology – the Eagle and the Lark, p.334