In three days time — October 23 — we’ll experience the second of this month’s pair of eclipses.
The first, the awesome and eerie lunar eclipse, on October 8, delivered some shocking revelations — Ebola, the economy, or something closer to home for many people. That eclipse was the very middle of Aries at 15° – a robust, total eclipse, full of Aries power and conjuncting Uranus the planet of surprise and electricity. The effect of that eclipse are still in operation, of course, and were certainly powerful to feel in these mid-October weeks.
That eclipse also cast a spotlight on the cobwebby corners of relationships. It was on the axis of partnership vs self. The fact of feeling personally eclipsed by a partner may well have come home to a lot of people — more or less.
Eclipses follow a sequence, as you probably know. They come in pairs, in opposite signs, and these pairs move backwards through the Zodiac. Currently we have two overlapping pairs in operation. Libra-Aries is in full swing and won’t complete until spring 2016. But this coming eclipse is the final one across Taurus-Scorpio for another nine years or so. What is more it is at 0° of Scorpio, one of the most powerful points in the Zodiac, the opening of the season of darkness.
One of the simple messages of eclipses is to tell us to connect these pairs of opposite signs. What is the axis of Taurus and Scorpio about? Clearly it’s about money, for one thing, but the fixed signs for the Bull and the Scorpio are about much more than that: emotional power and physical power, slave or master, will, carnal desire, needs and wants, hunger and satiation.
This series of Taurus-Scorpio eclipses began on November 13, 2012, with a solar eclipse at 21° Scorpio. Saturn had been in Scorpio for only about a month — in fact Saturn was at 4° and moving quite fast. So this was the start of a Scorpio phase for the collective.
Saturn spends about two and a half years in each sign, taking around 29 years to make a complete circuit of the Zodiac.
Now, two years on, Saturn is on his way out of Scorpio, and so are the eclipses –– but from opposite portals.
Eclipse sets go backwards through the Zodiac, so we move from Taurus-Scorpio to Aries-Libra to Pisces-Virgo, which starts next year. This why eclipses generally come in pairs, six months apart. Planets move forwards except during retrograde periods, so Saturn is moving into Sagittarius in December.
Look at the chart. The eclipse point is marked by the lunar nodes, but you will see that this is well into Aries-Libra already (19°), so it’s as if the node is throwing a final lasso back into Scorpio for the eclipse.
A this time it’s useful to meditate on what the lesson of Saturn in Scorpio has been for you. With that in mind, you might want to think back to November 2012, May and November 2013 and May this year. There may have been specific events but it could well be more of a feeling that you’ve had in the past two and a half years. What have you been learning the hard way?
Look at Scorpio in your chart. Which house is it in?
I can tell you exactly what happened to me on that eclipse in 2012: I broke my foot very badly around that time. In fact it was exactly one month before, which shows you how wide the influence of an eclipse is. You may see an event one month before or one month after. That eclipse was exactly trining my natal Chiron; the pain was excruciating. Saturn (bones) was exactly trining transiting Chiron in Pisces (feet). Now, two years on, my foot is just about OK, but talk about learning to stand on my own two feet!
The eclipse this week is part of a beautiful, tight stellium. Sun, Moon and Venus conjoin at 0° Scorpio, Pallas, the asteroid of wisdom is at 1°. Today, as I write, Pallas is already warming up that 0°, leading the way into Scorpio, psychologically the deepest part of our psyches, collective and personal. This is undoubtedly a stellium redolent of feminine strengths, love and grace and brains.
Traditionally when a planet gets within around 8° of the Sun, it is weakened (combust). But when it is within less than a degree it is “cazimi” (astrologers argue about how many minutes this is exactly, but usually it seems to be 17″, that is when it’s invisible to the naked eye because of the brightness of the Sun). Cazimi means it is strengthened by solar energy. Venus is just out of cazimi at the eclipse but only by a few minutes, and Pallas will become cazimi a day later, although come I wonder if asteroids count in this at all since they were unknown before 1800.
However, because the Sun itself is eclipsed, the effect on the planets could be different — an eclipse might theoretically allow them to shine very brightly suddenly, like a drawing the blinds so you can see the movie. We shall see what happens when the Sun blinks.
The grace of this eclipse is given great power by a trine from Neptune in Pisces — at 4° (the very spot where Chiron was in 2012). Neptune, at its best is heavenly light and love — healing and surrender. Chiron and Neptune have been working together through Pisces, bringing rapid change to long-held wounds. It’s as if Chiron, the army surgeon, has been going through the ward, slashing away infection, resetting bones, opening up old wounds, administering strong medicine, and Neptune has come along behind, washing the wound clean, putting on a fresh dressing, saying a prayer, mopping up.
An eclipse is an ending, and a beginning, but this one more than most because of its position at the very gateway of Scorpio. The front door to the psyche is open, and the radiance from god (in Pisces) is revealed when the Sun, for a moment, disappears.
The Sun, the only masculine planet in the stellium — Neptune’s gender is bendy too — is embraced by love and emotional power, embraced by the softness of Venus and the Moon, protected by the shining mind of Pallas. The masculine principle of the Sun is the ego, the active part of character, the hero. Now, at this eclipse, the hero is engulfed for a moment by the Moon, the yin to his yang. It could well be a powerfully emotional eclipse. This might not be so great for the collective — think mass hysteria — but on a personal level, this marks a huge opportunity.
Trust, pray, love.
Also a particular Scorpionic period (of several years) is drawing to a close this autumn and winter, marked by this eclipse and the departure of Saturn in December, and maybe that closure brings enlightenment, of a kind, with it. One thing is certain, this won’t have been an easy chapter for anyone. Scorpio, fixed water that’s ice, Saturn who is stone and the eclipses, which are darkness, are strong, hard astrology. Transits like these make strong men cry. Saturn through Scorpio has demanded transformation in some part of your life. Saturn in Scorpio may have made you so hungry — what for?
But the soulful trine from Neptune means the end of this Scorpio phase may be gentler than the beginning, and what is more as Saturn exits a sign, he often leaves a reward if you have done the work required. It seems like this eclipse may reveal the nature of that relief or release.
With Pallas Athena and Venus midwifing this eclipse, maybe we can expect the birth of a hero — or a saviour — or a poem.