Annular Solar Eclipse, 30 Virgo

NOW THAT I think about it, I’m happy I was trained in the use of firearms as a kid. Though I concede it’s a little strange, though perhaps not in the United States, all the men around me had weapons when I was little. By the time I was 14, I had quietly declared myself Quaker, a religion based on pacifism and a commitment to nonviolence. My religious orientation replaced my family influences, and I was becoming a writer; subtler forms of power were calling me. Up to that time, I had collected a fair amount of experience handling and firing everything from the old police-type .38 revolvers to hefty semiautomatic rifles.

Living with weapons in the right environment helps establish a respectful relationship with the world, and the world of things. Hopefully, and it does depend on the adults setting the example, you learn not to point any weapon at anyone, and in a disciplined gun household, kids learn not to point toy weapons, either. You learn right away to treat every gun as if it’s loaded. The men around me were not hunters; they were for the most part target shooters, and believed in weapons for self-defense. So there was an element of mastery involved, and at no point did we go out randomly killing critters like my friends in the country did. Both of my parents are excellent shots. When I figured out that the pen is mightier than the gun, I knew not to wave those around randomly, either.

Friday’s eclipse [at 12:45 pm London time, 7:45 am New York time] is a loaded weapon, and needs to be handled as such. In Virgo, the weapon is the mind, and this eclipse says that the mind needs to be treated with care, and aimed carefully. Mercury, the ruler of the eclipse, is in Libra, giving it an excellent image. Behind the scenes, we have much of which to be conscious and cautious. This is an annular eclipse of the Sun, which would be a total eclipse, but the Moon is too distant from the Earth to cover the Sun entirely; indeed, the Moon is at exact apogee for the eclipse — the most distant it gets from the Earth.

You could, alternately, look at this eclipse as one of the most fertile, sensitive events in ages, rich with potential and eagerly pushing the edge of one of the Cardinal Points. This eclipse is thought wanting to push its way into action, despite whatever struggle there may be in doing so. It is an idea, a creative and fruitful idea, about to be born. On the edge of Libra, there is the hint of something about to come into balance; some aspect of existence about to be adjusted, corrected or refined.

The lunation, which is also the Virgo New Moon (the second within one month), occurs at a time when many planets are concentrated in a compact zone of the sky, contained from Saturn in Leo through Jupiter in Scorpio, with most planets currently stuffed into Virgo and Libra. This stellium-like locomotive pattern creates an at-times overwhelming focus of energy, and a sense of over-focus or overwhelm, with most of the planets located in one direction of the sky: a lot, all in one place. And the pattern continues for the foreseeable future, moving through the signs from Virgo to Libra to Scorpio in the coming season.

It’s also occurring in the midst of the very rare Saturn-Neptune opposition; and the pretty rare Jupiter-Saturn square; and the equally rare Jupiter-Neptune square. This is called a fixed T-square — three of the largest, heaviest planets in aspect from Leo to Scorpio to Aquarius (with Sedna in Taurus completing the grand square). This setup, by itself unusual, rare and challenging, is enough to create the feeling that we’re living life on two rails and with no real control over the throttle.

As with most eclipses, there is the element of high suspense. But this one has some special qualities. True, it’s in Virgo, the sign of the Goddess, and it’s on the cusp of Libra, the sign of balance and justice (another Goddess-oriented sign, ruled by Venus).

Actually, it’s in the last degree of a sign (30 Virgo), and any time anything occurs or is placed in the last two degrees of any sign, you get a special case, a touch of Twilight Zone and the necessity for a lot of extra growth work (this is called the anaretic degree; second article here). Standing less than one degree away from opposition with the Aries Point (the extremely influential first degree of Aries), we have the suggestion that something that affects ‘everyone’ is developing. It’s also about two degrees away from one of the most intense galactic points, the M87 galaxy located in very early Libra, and it’s also in the narrow zone of the zodiac where all things of the nature of 2012 are concentrated. Actually, all of the technical points I’ve made in this paragraph are closely related, in many ways depending on one another.

The eclipse triggers all of this at once. It forebodes something of a critical phase, a turning point season (the whole season), including mid-term elections in the United States, where majorities in both the House and Senate are up for grabs in a highly volatile political environment.

However, located in the very last degree of a mutable sign, it has the effect of hiding; mutable implies slow-acting; Virgo implies that it represents an idea rather than a specific event (but this is not necessarily true); much else in Virgo is responsible for a lot of mental static the past few weeks, an edgy quality and quite a bit of confusion. The South Node sweeping through Virgo is speaking precisely about clearing all the mental patterns we’ve been dragging around the past 10 years, and an eclipse accelerates the whole effect in a surge of confrontation with all those patterns.

Every astrologer who knows recent history is watching this one, and noticing its rather strange effects. Eclipses in general are one of the first things that teach curious wisdom seekers to respect astrology, and to handle it like it’s loaded. Yet the collection of specifics, particularly the involvement of the Aries Point, are calling for extra attention. For example, the last time we had an eclipse so close to the Aries Point (at about 11 arc minutes of Cancer, on the 2001 solstice), we had quite a summer — you could call it the Endless Summer, because in fact it’s never ended. We are still being treated to an endless litany of reasons why our tax dollars should go to kill people and not cure disease and eliminate poverty. This, in turn, is doing a real number on our psychological and emotional orientation, for which I am certain we have not accounted.

If we were actually aware, there would be a lot more discussion; more sharing of feelings. There is very nearly none. I hear a lot of talk of a spiritual awakening happening and notice very little true discussion of the times we are living through. Most people agree all this military action is wrong and pointless, but meaningful dialog about the effects of the violence, and what to do about it, remain extremely muted. Of course, fear always speaks first and loudest, and has a way of demanding our attention until we give in. But this effect is precisely the purpose of what some call the spiritual path; it’s a way of life where something other than fear gets a vote.

One way to view another eclipse on the Aries Point axis (that is, in proximity to the beginning of any cardinal sign, Aries, Cancer, Libra or Capricorn) is to note that we’ve reached a turning point since the most recent one, which was five years and one season ago. The relationship is a square, or tense 90-degree angle; the 2001 total solar eclipse was in the first degree of Cancer, and the 2006 one is less than a degree from the beginning Libra. If you’re trying to understand aspects, get the feel. A trine (120 degrees, said to be easy) is like making a wide turn in your car, like bearing left at a fork in the road. A square is like making a hard left turn. You really have to slow down, check on oncoming traffic from several directions, downshift and orient on a new road. There is a difference.

Squares are commonly considered points of internal reorientation. This is partly because oppositions are considered relational aspects. Squares are about the relationships within, the tension within that gets us to act, to move, to try, to change and to become. Where we experience a square, we generally don’t need to be told; we will eventually act.

Another way to consider what’s happening is that it’s too big to see. There is absolutely no underestimating human naivet√©, so that’s not saying much; most people don’t know where their electricity comes from, or their ground beef, for that matter, so global trends are not likely to appear on their psychic radar.

But our own psychology is often experienced the same way, as nearly impossible to notice because it’s so ubiquitous, and too large or overwhelming to do anything about. Awareness takes work, and it has a way of making work. Once you notice how messy your house is, the next logical step is to clean up. If you don’t notice, you save all that work — for a while.

There is something about this eclipse that has the distinct feeling of psychological cleanup. There is something about noticing mental patterns and addressing them. Senseless chaos is a sign of doing neither. The fact that this eclipse occurs relatively early in the 18-month journey of the lunar nodes through Virgo/Pisces suggests an agenda-setting quality, the revelation of what exactly we need to clear out of the way in order to grow beyond the aspects of life that are holding us back or limiting our expression, involvement with others, or peace of mind.

Essential Dignities

Here is the classical astrology at a glance. The eclipse is located in the last degree of Virgo. Neither the Sun nor Moon has a strong affinity with Virgo, but the Moon is the night ruler of the earthy signs (so it has some dignity as the triplicity ruler). Venus, currently in Virgo, is the day ruler of the earthy signs, having some dignity as the triplicity ruler as well. However, Venus is in fall in Virgo owing mainly to the fact that it’s exalted in the opposite sign, Pisces.

The last degree of Virgo is in the face (also called decanate ruler) of the sign Virgo associated with Mercury. It’s in the term of Virgo associated with Mars. The combination of Mars, Mercury and Virgo can be unstable, particularly in the last degree of the sign.

Mars is in Libra, in detriment. So, neither Venus nor Mars is particularly strongly placed, in the classical system. Leo is in detriment in Leo and Jupiter has no special dignity in Scorpio. In the classical system, there is no planet in this chart that’s particularly well placed. Everything, by classical dignity, is a little out of whack.

Sabian Symbol

In the degree-by-degree system created by Marc Edmund Jones and revised by Dane Rudhyar, the symbol for the eclipse degree is: “Totally intent on completing an immediate task, a man is deaf to any allurement.” This the degree associated with “the total concentration required for reaching any spiritual goal.” It is the final degree of the first hemisphere of the zodiac. Rudhyar comments: “The neophyte stands at the gates of the sacred Pyramid. There is only one step he can take — ahead, or he is lost.”

Minor Planets in the Eclipse Chart

Scanning the list of minor planets associated with this eclipse, what gets my attention first is a conjunction of Chiron, Nessus and Hebe in Aquarius square Child in Scorpio. The Chiron-Nessus conjunction is a long process, lasting years, and is in many ways era-defining. We may not be familiar with Nessus, but it’s associated with the extremely complex psychological dynamics of abuse, which are being raised to awareness by Chiron for the purpose of healing and resolution.

Anything involving Child speaks to childhood patterns, encounters in childhood, and responding as if one were a child. Look in the aspect structure for parent-child dynamics in all forms, or presume that the aspect structure reveals such and then test the theory.

Hebe is the “cupbearer of the gods” and is the planet associated with what is called codependency. Codependency — the name is unfortunate, because really it has none of the constructive implications the concept could infer, such as fruitful cooperation — suggests inappropriate caring and entanglement in relationships that are destructive, often involving addiction patterns.

The glyph is like the letter Y with a base _ like a wine glass, but the top of the Y is closed so that you get a triangle. Martha Wescott suggests, every time you complete that triangle, think of the codependency triangle of abuser, victim, rescuer.

Wikipedia comments: “Codependence can also be a set of maladaptive, compulsive behaviors learned by family members in order to survive in a family which is experiencing great emotional pain and stress caused, for example, by a family member’s alcoholism or other addiction, sexual or other abuse within the family, a family members’ chronic illness, or forces external to the family, such as poverty.”

The symptoms are outlined as well: “controlling behavior, distrust, perfectionism, avoidance of feelings, intimacy problems, caretaking behavior, hypervigilance or physical illness related to stress. Codependence is often accompanied by depression, as the codependent person succumbs to feelings of extreme frustration or sadness over his or her inability to make changes in the other person’s (or persons’) life.”

So we get an interesting scenario involving Nessus, Chiron and Hebe configured in a square pattern: the dynamics go from inside to outside, that is, they exist as internal tension and then tend to be projected. Involving the fixed signs, they also tend to feel intractable. I use the term here less as a psychiatric diagnosis (there is none with this name), but more to describe a phenomenon with which we are all too familiar. Part of that phenomenon involves the sense that “this thing cannot or will not go away. There is no way I can change my life.”

That has the feeling of Psyche — the sense of a mental wound or loss of faith that will not heal. Psyche, minor planet 17, appears in this chart exactly on the North Node, at 25+ Leo, square Hylomone at 24+ Scorpio and thus squaring the nodes. Hylonome is a Centaur, in the same class as Chiron. Its keywords are “self-inflicted” and it’s been associated with the ritual in India of a wife burning herself on her husband’s funeral pyre — an image of extreme codependency.

The minor planet message of this eclipse seems to be about maintaining a high level consciousness of family patterns in relationships. In any intimate involvement, that will take some work, as we tend to get lost in these patterns rather than confront, heal or resolve them.

This in turn has the feeling of Quaoar, which I consider the planet of internalized family systems. Quaoar is slow moving, standing well beyond the orbit of Pluto (discovered by the same team that brought us Sedna and Eris). It’s now standing on the Great Attractor and is greatly emphasized as a result. The Great Attractor (not to be confused with the Galactic Core) is a point that tends to emphasize and polarize situations, creating impact beyond what is seen or noticed at the time.

Quaoar is square Dionysus, the god of wine and divine madness. Once again we have the image of “substances” arising, but with Dionysus the question is about appropriate use rather than diagnosis, recovery or judgment. Still, the question of appropriateness exists as part of the chart, square the planet involving internalized family patterns.

Also of note, the Black Moon Lilith or the oscillating lunar apogee is at 27+ Virgo, conjunct the eclipse, which is having a tendency to bring feminine shadow material to the surface — define that as you will.

Last, the eclipse is square Pluto, along with the lunar nodes and much else in Virgo. Pluto, everyone’s favorite minor planet, square the nodes, says: deal with Pluto, or you go nowhere. In case nobody has noticed, the eclipse helps move that process along — but we better mark the box FRAGILE and use extra packing material.

Weekly Horoscope for Friday, September 22, 2006, #629 – By ERIC FRANCIS

Aries (March 20-April 19)
Be direct with others and they will be direct with you, in fact, as direct as they’re accustomed to you being. You will get a potentially refreshing reminder that not everyone has the same values, nor are they influenced by the same past experiences. You will experience many different styles of encounter and confrontation. And you’ll end up with a kind of cosmic opinion survey. Some people you live amongst feel more comfortable with the current changes than others do. But the fact is, everyone is changing, and everything is changing. You may not be able to please everyone, nor do you want to, but you can give yourself and everyone else room to be real. Family Focus: Events this week make an unusually strong impression on kids — so be gentle.

Taurus (April 19-May 20)
If you feel like you’re sacrificing having fun for the sake of providing a service to those who need you, I suggest you embrace the process fully. For one thing, it’s temporary; that is, something that’s a factor of the current astrology, but that also represents a transition into another way of life, and another reality field. It would seem that doing things most people consider work has been a more dependable source of joy and happiness, or basic human satisfaction, for you, than trying to have fun. You may have noticed this odd quality of life, and at various times considered it a curse or a blessing. Thankfully, over the coming few weeks, an inner partition gives way and you get some relief; the ability to move more freely within your pleasure. Family Focus: Your true family are the friends, neighbors and relatives who are with you through thick and thin.

Gemini (May 20-June 21)
You seem about ready to shake yourself loose from the last traces of insecurity that have held you back from beginning a daring endeavor that you’ve been wanting to try for a long time. True, one is rarely ever free of all fear or hesitation (it does happen), but you’re at the beautiful threshold where any remaining insecurity simply no longer matters. So, in a sense, get ready to get over what is bothering you and to use whatever reasoning you need to take a bold step. Or, if you would rather, get ready to be pushed by the angel of circumstances. It’s your choice. Family Focus: Set the example to everyone: we really do have a choice in life.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
Gently state your feelings, listen to the feelings of others, and make the decision you need to make. It’s not that you’re entitled to do so; rather, there is a time for everything, and this is the time to do what is right for you. We may wonder what’s been stopping you; it’s actually a fairly long list, including commitments, a degree of uncertainty about what you want, and rarely feeling like you have the right to claim some room for your own agenda. Which is strange, considering how assertive you are, but not so strange considering the times we’re in. One reward of making your decisions will be gaining the respect of others whose respect you really need. More to the point, the self-respect you develop now will become the foundation of your life. Family Focus: What is truly good for parents is good for children.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23)
You now get to close the books on a financial matter that may have been annoying you for some time. In the process, something else shifts; it’s as if you get to make a commitment to yourself that sets you in a new direction. You know what you need to do, though there is a mysterious factor that seems to have been holding you back. It may be that you’ve been reluctant to devote your resources to little other than necessities, but the fact that you’re willing to think beyond that is telling a story about your inner state more than your financial state. Family Focus: Kids may be particularly edgy this week through Friday’s solar eclipse.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
Something about you is changing, profoundly. At the same time, something about you is staying very much the same. This is not a paradox, but rather, a process you can trust. You may be seeking words for how you feel, and you might want to have a go at putting something on paper about what is the most important to you now. You’re likely to be surprised by your own responses, and also at how they differ if you consider the question today, and one week from today. Meanwhile, know that anything you’re giving up, you really don’t need, and that what you do need the most, you will get to keep. Family Focus: Remember that a family’s story extends over many generations.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
You may feel caught between two choices or commitments, neither of which you truly want to devote yourself to. This could be annoying because there is something in each of them you really can identify with, and another aspect that you just don’t seem to have any contact with at all. The part you identify, I suggest you reclaim and make it your own. In essence I am saying claim what is yours; claim the aspects of identity you want and need the most, and do so in bold, clear terms to yourself; and you can forget the rest. Family Focus: You are not the ‘role’ you play, whether partner or keeper of the home. You are you.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
It’s high time you took a break from the demands of the world. People expect a lot of you, and you expect a lot from yourself. Though this is not exactly in the standard Scorpio rap sheet, your solar chart tells me you’re fairly well obsessed with service, and through service, you get the reward of community. What you may already sense is that pulling back potentially leads to some isolation. I assure you, however, that it’s temporary, and that if you can really go inside and find yourself, just yourself, you’ll come out the other side of the tunnel a lot stronger, wiser and as a side effect, well rested. Family Focus: Intimacy means sharing what you know and feel, but only when you’re ready.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22)
You seem to have two choices or alternatives that have very little relationship to one another. It seems like one thing would lead your life in one direction, and another in a completely different direction. But your job right now is to hold the space for two entirely different things to be true, or at least true enough for you. There is great strength in embracing a particular contradiction rather than running from it, and as you do this, I reckon that a third possibility will present itself that not only resolves the paradox, but does so in a truly pleasant way. Family Focus: Don’t let your pressures become those of the people around you.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
Growth is a quantum process, though the small steps we take each day gradually prepare us for the great leaps that come sooner or later. Along the way, it can all seem so incredibly tedious. But beware the tendency to believe that the small steps don’t add up to something, even if you just can’t see what it is. The process you’re in is not about addition. There is a higher form of mathematics involved. You are about to work out the equation of fear vs. desire in such a way that allows you to cancel out both, and to be left with something much more useful: volition; the ability to determine your own meaning and hence, your own direction. Family Focus: You’ve been dragging around the fears of your own parents for way too long.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
True, there is a risk required in everything — and you may not have anticipated taking this particular one. True, we do things all the time that seem perfectly safe, genuinely ordinary, without realizing the often substantial danger we may have faced. For this reason it seems a good idea to live prudently — yet there is only so careful one can be in love. The lure of passion, pleasure and sharing is too much to avoid. So why avoid it? If you can think of three good reasons, maybe it would be a good idea, but there better be three and they better be good. See what you come up with. Family Focus: This is a good time to reveal secrets to the people closest to you.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
This has been a daunting, larger-than-life time in your life. There have been many surprises — but on the whole, they have affirmed that you’re on the right path and making progress, particularly in your personal relationships. Recent events have demonstrated who you can take seriously, and who you need to avoid. But it would seem they have painted the scene of something that is inevitable or at least deeply compelling. What you may be having difficulty getting used to is that this is a point of no return: but your life, at this point, is precisely that in every respect: that is the feeling. Family Focus: You are in a position of family leadership, which means doing your best to love equally.

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