Planet Waves | Christmas Eclipse



(Caption and credit below)

Eclipse of the Sun in Capricorn

Dec. 25, 2000

Monday morning's partial eclipse of the Sun (at 9:35 am PST, 12:35 EST) is the fourth solar eclipse of the year. Eclipses are thresholds, and we have arrived at yet another. People who are sensitive to eclipses, or for whom this particular one is near a sensitive part of their chart (Cancer Sun, rising or Moon, Capricorn Sun, rising or Moon, and others, and particularly natal lunar nodes across Cancer-Capricorn) have surely noticed some unusual energy afoot for the past month or so, though perhaps without knowing the source or the name.

The keynote of this eclipse is aggressive (as in honest) communication, but moreover, it is about the obligation we have, as members of society, communities, families and partnerships, to make ourselves clear, and to experience the resulting progress within the social order. We cannot stay stuck forever.

In the simplest terms, eclipses emphasize a partiular day, being an unusually exact conjunction at a given time. It is worth mentioning that this occurs Christmas morning, which is somewhat more than mere coincidence. I speak here to the hundreds of millions of Christians who are trapped in notions of sin, revenge, hatred, lust for death and the fear of God's wrath, who would do well to carefully consider the meaning of the birth of their Savoiur, which is celebrated today.

The eclipse is exactly conjunct Mercury, the planet of the the mind and the living soul, and close to the centaur planet Nessus (discovered in 1993). This says that we must focus on the idea of speaking up (Mercury), and on closure and completion in relationships (Nessus). The mythos of Nessus, the third centaur (after Chiron and Pholus), relates to the tendency of humans to build relationships on unspoken expectations, lies and mistrust rather than on clarity and faith. Thus do we spread poison and disease to one another, and by no other means. Yet alternatively, we can learn to grow beyond this tendency and create fields of communication where life rather than death proliferates.

No deception or inner force for the good remains concealed forever, and when Nessus is present, the truth, dark or light, has a way of coming out as a matter of evolutionary necessity. Nessus' presence does not mean that bad things are going to happen, though many people work steadfastly to set their relationships up for disaster, and as a result they are likely to have to cope with it to some degree. Nessus says we may just as surely work for the end, or an end, of bad things relating to its theme.

If we proceed unafraid to be real, insisting on reality as the only standard for a sane life, we have nothing to fear. More than anything, this eclipse is saying honor Mercury, the mighty planet with which it is aligned exactly. Dare to communicate, clearly and with emphasis on being heard, and see what occurs.

In the final end, who we are becomes known, the plans we have made come back to meet us, and the ego's quest for individuality encounters the "past karma" of what it has created over many long years. The only way out is first by reckoning with ourselves, and then with those around us, then by adopting a new, genuinely righteous agenda honoring who we really are and what we really need. Whether by force or by choice, by process of healing or sickness and then healing, by love or by anger, and then forgiveness, by being "outed," or by individual revelation and coming out of our closets, we must reconcile with reality, with ourselves and with the faith that carefully leads us through life.

I recognize that I am writing with a somewhat authoritative tone here, but these are serious harbingers and we live in a world of people who generally only pretend to take life seriously. We need to do better. We know this. This eclipse is in Capricorn, the sign of obligation, tradition, and of honoring the ancient Way. Yet it is also the sign of aspiration, eternal youth, wisdom and seeking our freedom from the structures within which we are trapped.

The tradition of which I speak is itself about change, and those who resist such change, fight evolution, buck progress and sleep rather than updating their files, may be left behind, at least for now. And that may be fine; you may have arrived at your destination. But if you suspect you have not, pay attention and get ready to make a few fast changes that will help you get where you are going.

The Christmas eclipse caps off another year of highly unusual astrology; typically there are two solar eclipses each year, for example, and this is the fourth. In early May (3rd and 4th), we lived through an alignment in which the seven traditional planets of antiquity (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn) aligned in the sign Taurus for the first time in more than 7,000 years.

Two thousand has also been a year of conjunctions, with two standing out. The first is the once-per-generation meeting of Jupiter and Saturn (in Taurus, visible in the night sky throughout North America) and the conjunction of Chiron and Pluto (in Sagittarius, and not visible due to its distance from Earth), which last occurred in the sign Leo in 1941, on the eve of the Second World War.

In August 1999, the famous grand cross/total solar eclipse rocked the world, and we are still recovering from its effects. Astrologers had been watching that one coming for many years, in which numerous planets aligned in a near-perfect "X" as the Moon eclipsed the light of the Sun, directly over Europe. This eclipse is still an active event; note that on Inauguration Day, when George W. Busch is sworn in as president, Mars returns to the same position it occupied at that time (in Scorpio).

In 1997 Jupiter conjoined both Neptune and Uranus and we were visited by the glorious comet Hale-Bopp, the second major comet in as many years. The pace of planetary discoveries, both around our Sun and nearby stars, has picked up pace enormously.

The study and use of astrology implies that there is a meaningful connection between human events, history and psychology, on one hand, and the cosmic order, on the other. To see the connection, we need only look at our lives and at history. These have surely been highly unusual years, restless years with relentless changes in many of our lives and those of the people around us. Powerful men have played their games, and have been met by screaming, drumming brave people, young and old, from Seattle to Washington DC and many places besides. The historical process is heating up, and this counts for personal history as well.

One analogy is that, along our journey of incarnation (the one thing that George W'ya and you have in common, for example), we are passing through a long set of rapids along the river of time. The water picks up speed and there are obstructions to navigate as well as standing waves, nervous people near us, a lot of noise, and high emotional intensity. At the same time, we live highly crystallized lives (I typed "lies" by mistake); we are trapped in the process of process and often feel as if we are prisoner to our own existence. Thus has it been, in some way, for many long ages on the planet, though until recently we were almost always captive to "outer forces," such as actual slavery, kings, emperors and crusades. Women were put in physical chastity belts to ensure their "fidelity."

Today, our blocks to freedom -- here in the western world -- are almost all internal. They are ideas and beliefs. Some would argue this point vehemently, positing that humans, even Americans and Europeans, are essentially victims, but it is likely to be someone who benefits by being a victim making that particular case.

Yes, we have been lied to, and yes, we inherit a horrible environmental legacy left behind from the people who sold us on the American Dream, "better living through chemistry," "clean" nuclear power, and a profit-oriented economy rather than a socially-oriented one. We certainly carry the poisons in our bodies. But mostly we carry them in our thought structures, which in turn means in our relationships; and relationships are the structure of the world.

Were we to recognize the many more roads to freedom we have in our current day, we might not be so inclined to worship the mental patterns, false obligations and generally lame excuses that form the most impenetrable cage around and within our personal reality. Or, perhaps this is why we so often choose to stay in chains, golden that they may be. Yet to a real degree, we depend on one another fulfilling our commitments to ourselves in order that everyone around us be free. I merely suggest that we reckon with ourselves and do what we came here to do, remembering that we will never pass this way again -- and that in all likelihood, we came here, now, for a very good reason.++

-- Eric Francis
Seattle, WA

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Photo above: Solar eclipse in Venezuela, Feb. 26, 1998, copyright ©1998 by John Sanford, all rights reserved. This image is a composite of shorter and longer exposures (1/60th to 1 second). Full information about this image is available at Astronomy Picture of the Day. Section break photo above is Hale-Bopp comet, photographer unknown.