The Fulcrum, the Venturi and the Cycle of Fire

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Dear Friend and Reader:

We’re now in the final weeks before the total solar eclipse of Aug. 21, 2017. For those who are uncertain of whether astrology has any validity, this is a good time to pay attention. Eclipses are one of the very best laboratory-of-life ways to observe astrology. You would just need to associate what you notice with the eclipses.

“Eclipse” by Via Keller, the original Planet Waves artist.

A solar eclipse is an exact alignment of the Moon and the Sun, at the New Moon. Usually at the New Moon, the Moon will pass a little above or below the Sun, from our viewpoint on Earth. There is a shadow cast, but it extends into space, and we don’t see it. When a solar eclipse happens, the Moon’s shadow is cast on the Earth.

It may sound like superstition to “believe” that this might “mean” something, though I suggest going beyond both belief and meaning, and observing what’s actually happening. See if you notice the acceleration effect of an eclipse, even set amidst our light-speed world. Notice the sense of unusual pressure that people are not readily admitting to. Feel the sensation that change is imminent. Notice the strange events that are not easily explained.

One distinction of this eclipse is that the shadow is cast not just on Earth but also directly over the United States, touching both coasts and peaking over Missouri. This has never happened in American history; neither have many other things we’re seeing happen, or have witnessed the past two years. The path of totality extends from south of Portland, Oregon, to Charleston, South Carolina. The rest of the country on either side of the path of totality will experience a partial solar eclipse.

Another factor making this eclipse a distinctly American event is that it comes within one degree of the ascendant of Donald Trump’s natal chart. This is extremely unlikely, but it’s happening. Any eclipse in Leo (the sign of royalty) would raise concerns about the president or the king of a nation. Align an eclipse directly with the well-timed chart of the president-who-would-be-king, and you know something is up. Neither he nor his presidency will be the same on the other side of this event, yet it is we who must deal with the results of that.

Incidentally, for those astrologers who did not predict that Donald Trump would be president, this eclipse would have been a clue that he would, and that it would turn out exceedingly strange. What we are not really doing, though, is seeing Trump as a product of his environment. When Mick Jagger said that “after all, it was you and me” who killed the Kennedys, this is the effect he was talking about.

If this eclipse draws a straight line between the entire United States and the personal chart of the president, we are being asked to make the connection. We will make it, one way or another. The president/king, in this context, is a symbol of the country he leads. I know that this is difficult to accept, Russian infiltration and all.

The Phenomenon of Eclipses

To start, it’s worth mentioning that traditional astrology does not take a happy view of eclipses. They represent breaks or shifts in continuity, which is not often seen as a positive thing. Many people tend to prefer the devil they know, and still think that solving a problem is, in itself, a problem.

Since psychology has become the main substance of astrology, we see eclipses differently: as necessary pressure-relief points, or points of transition.

Animation of the eclipse making landfall on the Oregon coast. There are some stunning animations of the event, which you may view in an animation gallery on Vimeo.

The full effect of eclipses lasts for years. They stand as before-and-after moments that define watersheds in history, or at least tell us where to find them. Eclipses in Leo are particularly significant, given that the Sun, which is eclipsed, is darkened for a moment in its own sign.

We get a clue from William Lilly, who wrote back in 1647 (I am paraphrasing) that if it’s been a while since there was a solar eclipse in Leo, and it hasn’t rained for a while, expect a lot of rain. If it’s been raining a lot, it’s likely to dry up. He’s saying there’s a shift in not just the weather but the weather pattern; which is literal as well as a metaphor. Take that to mean that eclipses shift patterns, and they help us form new ones. They are vital to the process of growth and progress; from a symbolic standpoint, for many people — such as those on dense levels of awareness — there would be little movement without the kinds of movement that eclipses typically bring.

Let’s move on to a general description of eclipses, which I wrote in 1999. This was anticipating another historic eclipse in Leo, which you may remember: the grand cross and total solar eclipse of Aug. 11, 1999. That was the one coinciding with the Cassini Space Probe flying past the Earth on its way to Saturn, loaded with 72 pounds of weapons-grade plutonium. We survived; now NASA plans to plunge the probe and all its radiation into Saturn.

Here’s what I said about eclipses back then:

Eclipses are astrology we can’t deny. If there is a conjunction between Saturn and Uranus, it’s invisible to the unaided eye, and while many people may experience changes, only astrologers and their merry bands of readers and students know what’s happening. Yet when the Sun vanishes, you can be sure that normal activity will come to a stop.

Our busy world will pause, and everyone, from herbicide activists nestled in the hills of Oregon to rock stars in Nashville, will stand in the silent shadow of the cosmic order with the astonishment of small children coursing in their hearts.

Planet Waves
Image of a partial lunar eclipse; there will be one of these in Aquarius on Aug. 7, which I cover in detail on Planet Waves FM. Photo by Anthony Ayiomamitis.

This doesn’t happen often, and you can imagine the awesome power of so many people embraced in a kind of simultaneous, captive meditation as everything around them momentarily ceases to be normal. Call it a reality lapse, only it’s one into which the real reality can flow very easily.

In terms of their astrological meaning, eclipses of the Sun follow this image of collective awareness and radical break of continuity. Whether you can see the eclipse does not matter; part of the miracle of astrology is it works anyway. As many of us are discovering personally, eclipses are expanded moments of often uncontrollable, unpredictable change. They also bring the civilization and its communities together, usually through important collective events and the media.

Eclipses are evolutionary gateways, which is another way of saying that when they show up, we do a lot of growing in a short time. Delays are compensated. Old accounts can be wiped clean. While each is unique, eclipses often feel like being shot through a funnel of space-time, and we emerge somewhere different than where we entered. The key to making the best use of them is to move with the energy, not cling to anything or anyone too tightly, and to stay open.

The Fulcrum

Let’s consider a few other metaphors for eclipses, which I can offer after an additional 17 years of contemplation. I think of an eclipse as a fulcrum point – something on which everything pivots, such as a lever. Perhaps the best example is a telescope. If you move the telescope just a little at the fulcrum, you will shift your field of view many light years on the other end.

That’s how to think of an eclipse: as a moment where you can shift your orientation just a little right now, and point yourself toward a vastly different destination as time unfolds. This is, of course, a model based on a linear concept of time. Eclipses, which align at least one dimension of time and several dimensions of space, take us well beyond the linear, which only increases the fulcrum value.

The fulcrum of a telescope (in this case, a radio telescope) is its position on Earth, at the very base. If you move the telescope a millimeter at the fulcrum, you move its line of sight light years. Pictured is the Very Large Array, located in central New Mexico on the Plains of San Agustin.

So this is a good time to observe where your life is headed, and which way you want to turn. If you’re not planning to do what you’re doing “forever,” what do you want to do? If you’re not planning to be with the person you’re with “forever,” what are you planning? If you’re not going to be here (wherever here is) “forever,” where are you planning to be?

Imagine that there is a future and that it includes you. Let yourself believe, for a moment, that everything is not going to crash down on your head before you have a chance to live a little.

In what direction would you point yourself? Imagine you’re paddling a canoe and you’re heading for the rapids. You want to point your boat directly down the rapids, rather than going through sideways. I am talking about growth as well as about activity. What problems have you persistently encountered? Can you see yourself healing them?

You may only need a small adjustment to point yourself in a direction that, today, may seem like a remote destination, whether improbable or impossible. How you orient yourself as we go through this event is crucial. It’s more important than flocking to the path of totality and looking at the thing through a Mylar visor.

We are about to experience a very, very exact — and improbable — alignment. What are you going to do with it? As Dr. Eleanor Arroway’s father said to her as a child, in the film Contact, “Small moves, Ellie. Small moves.”

The Venturi Effect

In physics, there’s something called the Venturi effect, which is one of my favorite metaphors for eclipses. The Venturi effect is the reduction in fluid pressure that results when a fluid flows through a constricted section (or choke) of a pipe. The Venturi effect is named after Giovanni Battista Venturi (1746–1822), an Italian physicist.

Illustration of the Venturi Effect, showing an acceleration of a fluid as it moves through a constriction in a tube or pipe. The illustration is misleading, in that on the other end of the Venturi, the fluid will remain volatilized. This is how a carburetor works — and it’s also one way that eclipses feel, like a rapid acceleration of events, a narrow opening and increased volatility. Animation by Thierry Dugnolle.

Said another way, when you run a fluid through a pipe that constricts, it rapidly turns to a gas. This is how a carburetor works — that thing that used to be in cars, which turned liquid gasoline to a vapor usable as fuel. Part of what happens is an acceleration effect, and a reduction of density, and an increase in volatility. Those are all metaphors for eclipses.

We’re about to experience an extraordinarily potent increase in the velocity of events. That will come with a sensation of chaos, and of events running out of control. Remember that this is also about you; there may be a point where you just have to surrender to events.

The Grand Fire Trine

One last metaphor, directly from the chart. The famous Leo eclipse of 1999 was part of a grand cross aspect — planets aligned in a rather exact square, with the Moon and Sun at one corner. Grand trines are interesting aspects, in that they can act invisibly or below the level of perception. Unlike a grand cross, they are not “self-activating.” Like the 120-degree trine aspect, you have to work it; they are “use it or lose it” aspects.

Chart for the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse, showing placements in the fire signs. At top right is the eclipse, conjunct Mars, in Leo; lower right is the Uranus-Eris conjunction, in Aries, still in full force; and to the left are Saturn and Pholus in Sagittarius. Also in Sagittarius are the Galactic Core and several other meaningful but smaller points that are not included in a commercial astrology chart.

The eclipse of Aug. 21 is part of a grand trine, which covers the fire signs Aries (the Uranus-Eris conjunction), Leo (the Moon and Sun), and Sagittarius (the Galactic Core / black hole / cosmic portal at the center of the Milky Way; plus centaur planet Pholus — rapid reactions, out-of-control reactions, catalysts, small cause/big effect; and Quaoar — personal creation myth, cosmic identity, family patterns).

At the Sagittarius end, Saturn is not far from the action, and will soon become a much more prominent figure in the astrology.

So what does this tell us? Grand trines have a distinctive property: momentum. Once things get going in a certain direction, it’s not so easy to shift. That’s why it’s essential to work the ‘fulcrum’ quality as early in the process as possible. All these fire planets point to a kind of cycle of fire, which can be destructive if not managed carefully.

With a grand trine, you can look to certain points in the chart for what might serve as an exit from the cycle, or put the brakes on it. We have two possibilities: Jupiter in Libra, which would be justice; or the South Node in Aquarius, which would be the power of reasoning. Both of these factors describe things in exceedingly short supply right now. You will need to supply them yourself.

With love,

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