WTF are Eclipses?!

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Eclipses are quite confusing. Are they supercharged new and full moons? How do we determine where and how an Eclipse will affect our chart? What does an Eclipse even mean astrologically? As an Astrologer, eclipses can be confusing because we aren’t quite sure of the events that will take place in that “window” of time. See, when an Eclipse occurs it opens up a window or vortex of time that lasts from about two years or so. Eclipses also occur in pairs. For this year, we have the beginning of the Capricorn/Cancer pairs and the resolution of Aquarius/Leo. Here’s a small breakdown of what Eclipses mean (literally and astrologically) and how you can identify them within the chart.

The Definition of Eclipses

To understand eclipses we have to understand two concepts: (1) ecliptic plane (2) nodal axis. The ecliptic plane refers to the plane to which the Earth moves around the Sun. You may remember the ecliptic plane from the discussion of seasons and how they occur. In relation to eclipses, the ecliptic plane is where the Eclipses take place! The moon’s orbit is inclined about a certain degree from the Ecliptic plane so not every full and new moon phase will yield an eclipse. Thus, we have the nodal axis! Eclipses can only occur when the Moon is near the ascending (north) or descending (south) node. For those new to astrology, nodes aren’t physical bodies. The nodes are mathematical points that denote where the path of the Sun intersects with the path of the Moon. Think of a Venn-Diagram: you have two circles and the points where they meet are what we refer to as nodes. Although, the circles are more three dimensional almost like hoops.  Here are visual examples:


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Little tip: The nodal axis refers to two mathematical points opposite from one another; therefore, north and south node are always in opposite signs.


Eclipses are most defined when the Moon, Earth and Sun, are aligned on that visual line (nodal axis).
Solar Eclipses, if you remember from your science classes, occur when the moon blocks out the Sun, casting a bright film around the circular silhouette. Due to the Moon’s close proximity to the Sun, Solar Eclipses occur when the Sun and Moon conjunct. Lunar eclipses occur when the Moon passes directly into the Earth’s shadow, opposite of the Sun. While the Moon is making this movement, it’s also creating angles with the nodes which turns this full or new moon transit into an Eclipse. The Moon will be relatively near the ascending or descending node while creating either a conjunction (Solar) or opposition (Lunar) to the Sun.


Eclipse and Astrology

The astrology behind the Eclipses is a little more vague.

I disagree with eclipses being termed as “supercharged full/new moons.” Eclipses are rare and important occurrences. They aren’t necessarily lunar phases. Referring to them as heightened full/new moons also mislead people to treat these events similarly as a new or full moon (which no one should ever do). In certain branches of astrology, the Eclipses are branded as “malefic” (negative) events; more so the Solar than the Lunar Eclipse. The Solar Eclipse was believed to bring discord around rulership and governance due to the Sun’s relation to the King/ruler. Although, that was long ago and most Modern astrologers treat the Eclipses as a significant pivot point--either good or bad. Eclipses are bookends that catalogue a period of time, manifesting a series of events that alter the playing field forever.

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The Solar Eclipse can create deep and anxious reactions. Think of it this way: our light and vitality is blocked by the bleakness of the Moon--that’s pretty intense for us beings who revolve around the Sun. Part of this anxiety is because of the involvement of the nodes. Whenever we have major planetary bodies aspecting the nodes they tend to bring other-worldly energy into our reality--features that are abnormal or “unlike” here. Funkiness is my go-to word to describe the Eclipse periods. The Solar Eclipse, in particular, can be very life-altering because during this time the Sun is conjunct to the South Node, which is commonly described as “separative and destructive” (see here). You’re able to consciously feel the energy shifts, that often manifest as discomfort. The Solar Eclipse propagates alterations with life, usually defined by loss. This is the time to outgrow patterns, whether by consent or force, but luckily the Sun’s energy makes this push consciously-felt. The dramatic changes in our landscape can be hard to cope with, and that’s why there is such a potent vulnerability during this period. While Solar Eclipses are termed to be a time for new opportunity and beginnings, remember the Sun’s light is blocked. Where do we go? This is where the task becomes our responsibility.


The Lunar Eclipse creates a period of intense embodiment. We are thrummed with the past and thus, perked with the most important question: how do we move forward? The Lunar Eclipse isn’t a consciously chaotic time like the Solar Eclipse but this period really gets our feet out of the mud. The Moon is conjunct to the North Node, which slices an opening to embody the qualities needed for growth, and despite this period being a closure of sorts, the Lunar Eclipse manifests teleports abnormalities in our circumstances so we are pushed toward self actualization. It’s like we are in the movie, and the lunar eclipse presses the fast forward button to get us closer to our “destination.”


How To Identify Eclipses in the Chart

Eclipses are typically identified in the chart by looking at the nodal aspects between the Sun and Moon. If the Moon is about 19 degrees-ish from the nodes in a natal chart then we would assume the individual was born around “Eclipse season.” If the Moon is under 11 degrees from the nodes then the person was born exactly when the Eclipse occurred. If you were born around an Eclipse then congrats! You’re quite powerful.


This person’s chart was born under a Lunar Eclipse given the Sun’s conjunction to the North Node opposite of the Moon.

This person’s chart was born under a Lunar Eclipse given the Sun’s conjunction to the North Node opposite of the Moon.

2019 Eclipse Season

We are introduced to the Partial Solar Eclipse in Capricorn on January 5th. The Eclipse will be co-present with Saturn and Pluto, which could induce massive changes to the order of our regimes and hierarchies of power. On a general and individual level, this is a period of true commitment. This isn’t just your typical “okay, I have to get serious about my goals.” This is a time where you will be thrusted into the storm and unfortunately, there’s no turning back. Saturn is the container of our reality and auspiciously, it governs time. Eclipses are known to skew time--so stay centered. Your commitments require authenticity and strength. Amongst this period there will be oddballs, whether interpersonal loss, new discovery or maybe a job offer. The unexpected is expected.

The Lunar Eclipse on the 22nd will be in solar Leo, and this will mark the conclusion of the Aquarius/Leo Eclipse series. Theme for this period is closure. As one opportunity/events open up the other one will close. The Universe has a funny way with communicating to us and the Eclipses are her voice. It is what it is. Walk away and leave what was then to rest.


The Do’s and the Dont’s

Eclipses are not your typical full or new moon. The energy of this time is funky and infertile. We shouldn’t harvest this energy into our lives, we shall let it unfold on its own. So I advise: NO RITUALS. Multiple experienced astrologers will echo this same piece of advice. If you want to harvest “good” energy then wait for the Full Moon in Sagittarius which will be co-present with the great benefic and gift pleaser, Jupiter. Next “don’t” is quite controversial: no relationships. This is mostly directed at the wandering singles out in the world. The Eclipse period could generate someone walking into your life but it’s not supportive. Relationships during the Eclipse period typically abrupt in flames and ends with obsession and torn hearts. If there is one thing to avoid its falling under love’s spell.


During the eclipses, you want to just be. There isn’t any specific advice to be given because we don’t know what to expect. So I’ll end on this note: stay present and be mindful of where you are in this very vast and complicated Universe.

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Happy Eclipse Season!! Make sure to stay safe <3

tess lee