One Way (or Another)

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.

Planet Waves for June 1999

Just what is it about 1999 that's so unusual? Is it that it's supposedly the "turn of the millennium"? (It's not -- the 20th century ends New Year's Eve 2000.) Is it that we are close to the Age of Aquarius? (We're getting closer, but are not really so close; technically, it does not begin for at least another 300 years.) So, why is this the year you don't forget?

My sense is that whatever is unusual or special about this year has something to do with an eclipse of the Sun on Aug. 11. With the eclipse less than 10 weeks away (as of early June), it's time to focus on some very practical matters associated with moving through such experiences. Eclipses rate among the most important of astrological events. They are not subtle. Because the Aug. 11 eclipse happens with a "grand cross" aspect, meaning many plants arranged in an 'x', with the Earth at the crosshairs, I suspect this summer will be a potent, memorable experience for just about everyone.

Skeptics of the world: Fear Ye Not. The gravitational effects alone from this planetary lineup will be enough to rattle the leghairs of a cockroach. El Mundo, The World, our planet, may indeed be the very most important thing in the entire Universe, but it surely ain't the biggest. As the Sun itself gets wawobbled around the galaxy by old Mr. Jupiter swinging from the pearly gate, everything up there wobbles everything around. Modern epemerides -- those beautiful astrological numerical tables that tell you where to find the planets -- are corrected to the minute of arc for such seemingly minor factors as Light Time and precession of the equinoxes, and are even corrected for planetary perturbations (gravitational distortions) created by everything out to Neptune; our little human bodies, caught in the center of it all, dance in a cosmic rhythm of all the planets drumming and swirling around us. This, despite all of our philosophies re. astrology, pro or con.

Now, as you remember from those exciting demonstrations with a light and balls in 4th grade science class, eclipses occur when the Sun, the Earth and the Moon align exactly. A lunar eclipse happens when the Earth passes between the Sun and the Moon, and the Moon goes dark for an hour or so. During a solar eclipse, the Moon passes exactly between the Earth and the Sun, and the Sun appears to go dark, casting a shadow on the planet during the day. A solar eclipse is almost always preceded or followed by a lunar eclipse within two weeks. The Aug. 11 total solar eclipse can be seen over Europe, so the Moon's shadow will be cast across the UK, France, Spain and several other countries, clear across to Germany and beyond into the former Eastern Block countries. Events where the shadow falls can become very important as the eclipse approaches.

Usually, we're not informed in advance by anyone other than astrologers that eclipses are happening, unless they're visible locally (which is fairly rare), so we typically have no way to associate personal and world events with them. A significant astrological fact about eclipses is that their effects can be observed long before, and long after, the event itself, even up to six months or more on either side. So it takes a real degree of awareness, timing and sensitivity to their energies to understand what's happening. {People familiar with energy in the audience can think of it this way: each eclipse is tuned to a different frequency, and that frequency is sensitive to influence for an extended period of time.

Since science has no basis for objectively determining that there's any possible effect that can be created in human affairs by an eclipse, we usually ignore them and don't make the connections. So while we've all lived through many eclipses, and have witnessed many extraordinary events with them, most of us have not done so consciously. But eclipses want us to be aware; they are a call to consciousness, and to conscience. Eclipses say live like it matters. Do what is truly important. Be who you really are.

Eclipses are often associated with events that bring the culture together in some way, representing a collective gateway. Traditional astrology holds them as negative in their impact (usually associating them with things like wars and natural disasters). To some extent this has been true in the past; memorable news events associated with eclipses have included the Persian Gulf War in early 1991, the deaths of Princess Diana and Mother Teresa in the summer of 1997, and the scandal involving Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton, which could be timed equally well with the Congressional Record and an astrological ephemeris. In the Hudson Valley, the 1991 PCB disaster at SUNY New Paltz, and a bizarre incident the prior night at City College, came within a few days of a potent solar eclipse; both events had tremendous impact, both personal and collective.

Remember, though, that traditional astrology considers most planetary events negative, indeed, it seems obsessed with negativity, which I feel is a throw-back to a world in which there were fewer choices, and in which the hand of fate seemed to rule reality. And the ancient astrologers never mentioned that people grow and learn from events effecting the mass-population. As modern astrologers and spiritual seekers, we have a responsibility to be more conscious and move out of celestial-victim-mode. In our time in history, one thing we have is the ability to exercise options (though for reasons I'll get into in a moment, most of us don't use our freedom very often, or very well).

In my experience, eclipses work as powerful, indeed, critical individual transition points. Eclipses are usually about what we make out of circumstances in life over which we seem to have no control. They are points of no return, and times of inevitable change. Remember, though, most people consider change to be a negative force. Humans, like Hobbits, are creatures of comfort and habit, and anything that disrupts our little worlds usually is seen as a bad thing. Change is presumed to be change for the worse.

However, for people who are committed to making progress and assisting in the planetary birthing, eclipses can be very powerful times, and the Aug. 11 event will not be disappointing in this regard. The world around us may seem to become quite nuts in ways that I will not even speculate on. In our personal lives, truly important events and processes are likely to be unfolding. So if, in the coming weeks and months, you feel like you're on some kind of journey of destiny, remember these words.


Doing Eclipses Well

We can see in mathematical tables when eclipses are going to happen, and can expect those time-frames to come with certain characteristics. Everyone's chart is different, so everyone's life events will be different, but here are some of the common points:

o The first is concentration of experience. A lot happens in a short time; time itself becomes distorted. This works on an individual level, and on a collective level.

o Events seem karmic or predestined. They may not be, but they certainly seem that way. A lot of how that shapes up depends on your relationship to the ideas of karma and destiny.

o Add some discontinuity. The world always seems to plow forward on its crazy way, and yet nothing ever seems to really change. Life is genuinely different as eclipses approach, and then never quite returns to normal. In the process of the Soul evolution of the planet, and in our individual lives, these events represent critical transition points without which there would be very little progress at all.

o So, another characteristic is a distinct sense of sudden transition. We move from one space of life into another. Personal relationships, including marriages and lover-relationships, are particularly susceptible to rearrangement. The change can be deepening of stronger the relationships, and shake-ups in weaker relationships, many of which are likely to change dramatically. Anything that's not working with the process of our personal and collective evolution is subject to disruption, things that are working are subject to challenge. There is, in the end, very little we can do about any of it except to work with the energy.

Given this, it makes sense that different astrologers have described the Aug. 11 event as a planetary birthing, a threshold, an awakening from a long nightmare, and a catapult into the future. I believe it will have characteristics of all of these things, but the choice is largely going to be an individual one; in other words, what you do with this energy is up to you.

This is easier said than done. One of the most challenging life lessons we encounter on this plane is that notion that we choose. The idea seems so out-of-reach that most people choose to remain at the whim of so-called fate even when they have real opportunities to decide. But the power of decision remains the only freedom we really possess while living on the Earth.

Part of why it seems so difficult to make decisions involves what I call a crystallization pattern that is affecting our society and deeply affects us as individuals. I will call this "scenario one," since it's by far the most commonplace.

Life in our society seems to become more and more like it becoming, moving faster and faster, packed more tightly in. The credit system, for example, creates an economic treadmill in which we work harder and harder to pay ever-higher credit card bills, and it's hard to get out of the loop. There are ever-more things to buy or subscribe to; ever more cards and stores offering credit to those who play the game; ever more offers coming in the mail.

Most people seem to have ever-less time to do anything, but I don't think it's about time. I believe it's about a pattern. Many of us are suffering from some combination of exhaustion, insomnia, sensory overload, media overload (which means an incredible amount of slick, loud, meaningless trivia and marketing blasted at us), malnutrition, and what is currently being described as compassion-fatigue. Then there are the "depressed" people, millions of them, I am told, who are taking Prozak or any one of dozens of other feel-good drugs. The reality box, the flexibility of the mind, grows narrower and tighter. We are crystallized. We have options, but we don't feel we have the ability to exercise them, or it seems futile. We want to do the right thing, but we don't think it matters anyway.

Now, introduce into this psychic equation a sudden, unexpected energy shift, such as indicated by the grand cross/total solar eclipse on Aug. 11. Introduce ENERGY into our crystallized reality structures, and what do you think will happen? The more crystallized you are, the more you will tend to experience this as chaos, disorder and disaster. The more you cling to reality, the more it will seem to be falling away.


Scenario Two

In the 1980s, there were a number of prophesies published about the imminent dawning of the age of light. Many people participated in the Harmonic Convergence in the summer of 1987, an event designed to quicken energy and defuse the planetary time-bomb that seemed to be ticking away under the paranoid guidance of Ronald Reagan and George Bush.

One such prophesy, The Starseed Transmissions, said that by the years we are currently in, there would be many obvious signs of planetary awakening. The book described "islands of the future in a sea of the past," or the gathering of communities of people who were going through individual psychological processes to clear fearful, restrictive and negative energy patterns from their minds, and then joining in groups that would essentially be living common lives dedicated to creativity, love and service, far ahead of the mass of society.

Add the word 'virtual' islands of the future, and you have an accurate picture of what I feel is now occurring. By virtual, I mean that there are many people all over the world who are indeed working for awakening and higher consciousness, though not necessarily together; folks who manage to live much of their lives outside of the marketing culture, and with corresponding freer, lighter experiences of life.

Those of us in this process are networked largely on the Internet, by mailing lists, and through loosely-arranged organizations that serve special purposes, such as alternative relationship lifestyles, education about whole food and holistic health, Shamanic and indigenous religions, and many other fields that assist and provide forums for growing global awareness and the exchange of ideas. It is a movement, but it's a virtual movement, made of many small cells in many locations, and it's not being reported (of course) in the negatively-crystallized news media which creates the illusion of "nothing happening."

Millions of people are involved in these processes worldwide. Add to that number the many seemingly ordinary folks whose lives are dedicated to love and happiness, and you have quite a few people: I trust that many of my readers number among people identifying with this wavelength of human society.

For the awake, the Aug. 11, 1999 total solar eclipse will be a very different kind of threshold, with many exciting personal breakthroughs, and the opportunity to witness an unfolding of world events that will serve to wake up many people, and accelerate the psychological process of many others who have devoted years of their live to cultivating higher consciousness. There will be challenges, to be sure, but we know what to do with challenges -- LIVE them fully.

If you're walking the line between these two realities, now would be a good time to pick sides. For sure, the eclipse of August 1999 will give you a push one way or another. ++

Interpretation Keys for the Total Solar Eclipse

The chart for Aug. 11, 1999

Related Articles on the Eclipse:

Thinking of You on Judgment Day | A Clue from California | Cassini Cometh

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