Eclipses are somewhat like a family dinner when the extended family is invited. It’s a rare occurrence and you’re never sure how it’s going to end. There’s the older generation of Grandparents who hold the stories, the uncle who’s notoriously offensive, who you wouldn’t interact with if you weren’t related, and the distant cousin who lives far away but you’re excited to see because, as distant as the threads are between you, there’s kinship. You’re all connected but the space, distance and age gaps mean you’re all quite different.
Eclipses are part of larger families, too. Each eclipse is as eclectic and different as your own family members, only coming together at rare intervals. Eclipses repeat only every 18 years, which is a considerable chunk of time between drinks. That tells us a few things, but mainly that we can’t expect the same thing with each eclipse that we experience in one calendar year (which can be anywhere from 3-5). They are all radically different and incomparable, likely more different than similar.
This eclipse today last occurred on Dec 4, 2002 with its line of totality running across Australia. Above is a photo of it taken by my friend Brian Downey. A few of us decided to head into the desert to avoid the “eclipse parties” on the eastern and southern coasts. I completed my last Naturopathy exam, jumped a train from Melbourne to Adelaide where Brian, myself and 2 friends from the UK drove into the desert to sleep on Kokatha Land of the Kokatha Mula, in the line of totality.
The Australian desert is arid and unforgiving. As baron as it appears though, it’s teeming with life. Everything that exists is prey for something else. It’s a contradictory landscape in that the sparseness and lack of distractions make it a confronting place.
At the moment of totality everything changed. Life retreated. The desert fell completely silent and became as dark as night. The life giving Sun was blotted from view by the Queen of the Night, or as some traditional text would say, the Sun was preyed upon by the Moon and consumed. It was the third eclipse I had witnessed, but was unlike anything I had ever before, or since, experienced. As is said about eclipses on the South Node, something washed through me, like a cleansing release.
Older astrology texts speak of eclipses as bad omens that nothing should be initiated under. This theory suggests that anyone born under an eclipse is also ‘cursed’ and I personally can’t follow nor perpetuate that logic. A phenomenon like no other? Yes, absolutely. Powerful? Without a doubt. But a bad omen, or a negative association, suggests that the Cosmos is inherently malefic, which is a debate beyond the scope of this post. We also have to take into consideration the time and culture that astrological texts were written to understand the context.
Eclipses have personalities and we each have charts that either do or don’t receive them well. They are also encompassed in the transits of the current day, as well as having their own birth chart. There’s a lot at play.
If your Sun, Moon or an angle (Ascendant, Descendant, IC, MC) is within 3 degrees of the eclipse it has the greatest potential to impact you. But if those points aren’t activated, it’s like being dragged along to that family dinner and witnessing the family dynamics by sitting in the corner, simply observing. Nothing is directed at you personally.
For everyone, this eclipse will take place in one of the houses in your chart. For approximately 18 months, eclipses occur across a polarity axis of sign and element. For example, the current eclipses are occurring in Air sign Gemini and Fire sign Sagittarius from June 2020 – Nov 2021. After that, the eclipses will occur in Earth sign Taurus and Water sign Scorpio, and repeat on and on in the same pattern. In this, we can know which areas of life are personally impacted and activated throughout that time, no matter the placements of our Sun, Moon and angles.
Today, under this eclipse in expansive Sagittarius, two books I ordered a while back arrived. I’m excited to get into them both. They are Queer Magic by Tomás Prower and Imaginary Borders by Xiuhtezcatl Martinez – both fitting for these eclipse energies.
The truth is (Sag style) this social media world keeps us addicted to a state of perpetual chasing, where life is presented as daily doses of peak experiences and high highs. Unattainable, it has the potential to leave people in a constant state of FOMO and depleting self worth. Winter is never trying to be Summer. If you’re really honest with yourself, this eclipse may in fact slide by you without impact, and that’s totally fine. The next one in May or June 2021, however, may knock you off your feet.
Eclipses are like portals where a lot of energy comes through. Sagittarius is always seeking to expand, understand and grow beyond, so instead of forcing the energy, try being open to listening to this distant relative and see if it’s a welcome guest or one that you’re grateful you don’t have to see until 18 years later.