This summer, we are set to experience not two but three eclipses – two lunar and one solar. Hold onto your hats, people – this could be an interesting time! It seems that on a global level, we need more change than usual. Not only is Pluto in Capricorn causing major reforms in the banking and political systems worldwide, with many revolutions against unfair elections and coups by dictators popping up, such as the current situation in Iran.
In Britain, the government is finding out that no one can escape Pluto’s laser-sharp eye for hidden secrets and nose for double standards, such as those MPs found fiddling their expenses. Touring the sign of thrifty and responsible Capricorn, it is unlikely that anyone not living up to their responsibilities or spending public money in the most efficient way possible will be spared Pluto’s ruthless scrutiny. All systems are now up for review and those found lacking will have to be rebuilt from the foundations upward. Pluto also has a funny way of making repressed or suppressed scandal surface – no one with skeletons in the closet is exempt so get ready to clean up your act or do some ‘fessing up over the next few years.
It is therefore fitting that the first event of the season, a lunar eclipse, falls in the sign of Capricorn. During the day prior to the eclipse, the Moon will make contact with Pluto, currently at about 2 degrees of Capricorn, before moving into a positive trine aspect with Saturn, the planetary ruler of Capricorn and current Lord of Pluto, given the planetoid’s sign placing.
Symbolically, this could be seen as the Moon taking the energy of Pluto to its sign ruler, Saturn in a positive and constructive way. At the same time, the sun will also be making a friendly 60 degree angle to Saturn from the opposite side of the zodiac wheel. So it seems that the energy of Saturn is somehow bound up in the mood and tone of this eclipse.
At this time, Saturn is touring the earthy but exacting sign of Virgo which rules gardening, agriculture, health, hygiene, communication (especially writing), orderliness, diet and small animals such as pets. From here, Saturn can offer help with tidying up messy environments, the sorting of information or objects, the weeding out of unnecessary activities or expenses, and the cleaning up of dirty habits, food or environments.
A perfect example of Saturn in Virgo at work is the current health restrictions and hygiene regulations being enforced in public places to try and contain pandemic outbreaks such as swine flu. If everyone stuck to the rules, used the alcohol gel and acted responsibly if they thought they might have the virus, we might be able to halt its spread. So far so good.
Both Saturn and Pluto are steeped in symbolism concerning death and rebirth, and the thresholds between different realms of consciousness and being. Before the discovery of the modern outer planets (Uranus, Neptune and Pluto) Saturn was considered the remotest planet in the cosmos and so a ruler of thresholds between the earthly and the heavenly realms – a gatekeeper on the path of souls as they descended into earthly incarnation and re-ascended after death.
In modern astrology, Pluto is also mythically associated with the Underworld – the ancient Greek realm of the dead, although he was also known to occasionally surface from his dark home to snatch unsuspecting maidens such as Persephone from the earthly realm, which means he had the ability to inhabit both worlds. Given Persephone’s association with the virginal sign of Virgo, this myth seems especially apt. Pluto is also the only planet that crosses the ecliptic, it’s elliptical orbit taking it in and out of both Neptune and the Sun’s path and so is also what could be called a liminal ‘planet’.
Both planets therefore symbolise the ability to cross between two worlds or realms – the old and the new, the living and the dead, the real and the imaginary. This probably explains their association with limitation, death and the end of things.
Eclipses in a way also embrace this symbolism. Occurring on the nodes, the intersection or crossing points of the ecliptic (or path of the sun) and the path of the moon. In ancient times, the sun became associated with the realm of spirit, divine consciousness and the highest aspect of the soul while the moon was considered queen of the material world (called the sub-lunar sphere) and therefore, the mistress of nature, the earth and the body. So eclipses are really ‘liminal’ events, points in the soli-lunar relationship where the hand of fate and chance circumstance can intersect with that of human choice and earthly actions…
Given this, it is interesting that the first lunar eclipse occurs in the signs of Cancer and Capricorn – the two signs of the zodiac that the ancient Greeks believed ruled birth (Cancer, associated with motherhood) and death (Capricorn). In fact, some of the ancient philosophers wrote that these two constellations marked the entrance to a gateway in the stars through which souls entered and exited into and out of earthly existence. These signs therefore represent the archetypal Mother and Father, the beginning and end of all earthly life. Such weighty symbolism adds a certain gravitas to these eclipse events, further adding to their exceptional character.
It seems as though the first eclipse, which takes place on the 7th of July, the anniversary of the London Bombings, stands to be of unusually important significance, especially to the cardinal signs of Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn. If nothing else such symbolism should help us remember how fragile life is and take a moment during our busy day to spare a thought for those killed or injured during the brutal terrorist attacks in 2005.
During this eclipse, the Full Moon in Capricorn will be blacked out by the sun in Cancer, suggesting an ending of some kind. Perhaps a project or business deal that you were hoping to ‘give birth to’ will be prematurely ‘aborted’ due to unforeseen circumstances. Or a significant female figure could now choose to depart from the scene, perhaps resigning at work, moving out of your neighbourhood or, more tragically, leaving the earthly realm to return through the gateway of souls. I do hope this last possibility doesn’t apply to anyone you know but I do have to state what I see in the symbolism, however dark it is. Cancer & Capricorn also govern family and duty to parents so expect familial obligations or activity to increase at this time.
Cancer and Capricorn both rule our roots, home, and sense of belonging as well as our history, heritage and connections to the past. It could well be that at this time, a long-buried family secret bubbles to the surface or a long-lost family member returns to the fold, causing ripple-effects within the current family set up. The two signs are also connected to youth and ageing so its possible that these themes might suddenly become important around the 7th or a month later. How to provide for an ageing population is certainly on many a government’s mind – as more and more people are expected to live well to over 100, the added strain on the healthcare and pension systems is an issue that needs to be attended to.
According to Bernadette Brady, this eclipse forms part of the 11-South Saros series which is associated with sudden reforms to old or outdated systems or ways of working that may require finding a new approach or making some emergency revisions. She adds that any obstacles to progress could also now be ‘violently or tragically removed.’ Let’s hope its not the latter! This relates to the influence of Uranus, Mars & Pluto in the original chart at the ‘birth’ of the Saros family on the 14th of June, 1360. At the time of this occultation, Uranus will have recently begun a retrograde period, retracing its steps backwards through the late degrees of Pisces and back into the orb of a challenging square angle to Pluto. This harsh contact between the two planets reinforces the possibility of drastic shake-ups or the likelihood of people undergoing sudden or dramatic changes of heart.
The second lunar eclipse on the 6th of August will be in a different set of zodiac signs. With this second event, we return to the Leo-Aquarius themes of the beginning of the year. Once again, we return to issues surrounding self-expression and actualisation, individualism and the tendency or urge to stand out, on one hand, and the desire to fit in, make friends or stand up for a cause, on the other.
As with the solar eclipse, the emotional themes that you may have been working on during the last six months will now reverse, so that you get to experience the flip side of the Leo-Aquarius pole. At this time the influence of the sun will be heightened because it will be in Leo – the sign in which it feels most ‘at home’ – its natural domicile, as the ancients would say. It is therefore likely to exert a doubly powerful ‘blacking out’ of the Moon than usual. Solar energy is traditionally associated with the masculine and active cosmic powers so these are likely to overrule any less forthright or aggressive influences. Not a good day to rely on receptivity, habit or gut instinct because these will be unavailable or temporarily obscured.
Despite the different sign placement of the moon, this eclipse also falls into the 11-South Saros family, so expect the themes outlined by Brady to resurface. If the first set of adjustments didn’t do the trick, the rebound effect may be more drastic this time because of a stronger Uranian influence (Moon in Aquarius.) It maybe wise to take dramatic steps the first time round and that way, hopefully avoid any sudden and possibly nasty surprises.
Both lunar events occur at Full Moon and in signs traditionally ruled by Saturn. Full Moons are generally a time when things reach their greatest influence before beginning to wane, so expect situations to get either emotionally heated or for personal circumstances to reach a culminating or ending point. As with the tides, this is when the Moon has the greatest ‘pull’ on our emotions, as well as our bodies – swelling and bleeding tends to worsen during this lunar phase – something you may want to bear in mind before electing to undergo surgery or have a boil or abscess lanced, for example. Given that Capricorn rules the skin, bones and teeth, it might be an idea to put off a trip the dentist or dermatologist until after the eclipse has passed and the moon has waned a bit. Themes associated with Saturn include: steadiness, endurance, persistence, hard work, personal responsibility, public duty and recognition, seriousness (sometimes depression at the extreme end of the scale), limitations, boundaries, restraint, discipline, scientific detachment and emotional inhibition. Given the link with Pluto and the earlier positive contacts between the luminaries and Saturn, the more positive, rather than negative, aspects of these themes are more likely to manifest.
In between the double set of lunar occultations is a solar eclipse in Cancer on the 22nd of July. Both the sun and moon will meet at 29 degrees Cancer – on the cusp of the sign of Leo – once again emphasising the liminal theme of ‘betwixt and between’. of At this time, both solar and lunar energy will be united in attempting to give birth to new ventures, ideas or circumstances. New people, particularly men, are likely to enter your life whilst a familiar male figure could now take his leave. Feminine issues around motherhood, children, the home and domestic life are all up for review now.
The Jupiter-Neptune-Chiron conjunction will also still be in play, suggesting that big dreams could lead to disappointment, deceit or the re-opening of childhood wounds. Try to be realistic in your undertakings with others, and double-check any groups or charities seeking your funding or involvement – all may not be as it seems.
Astronomically, the solar eclipse will be visible over India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China and the southern islands of Japan. At this time the Moon will be in perigee, that is at its closest point to the earth, and therefore quite large and visible in the sky.
Previous eclipses in this series during the 20th and 21st centuries occurred in: 1901, 1919, 1937, 1955, 1973, and 1991.