Grand Cross and Total Solar Eclipse on Aug. 11, 1999
from the Star-Navigator, August 1998 The Chart | Related Article | Planet Waves Menu By Eric Francis
Chart interpretation is a poetic process. You can look at a chart and get the feel for it, and you can study its (infinite) individual ideas, references and technical components and create an analytical interpretation. Yet the Virgo process of analysis can open some great floods of Piscean energy, and just staring at a chart and saying "duhhhh" for a while can produce some astute intellectual revelations. In reading astrology, we train our intellect to be instinctual, and our emotions to be intellectual. This we shall learn, and it will be a great triumph for humanity.
While astrology charts can help explain events, events can also help explain charts. You don't need astrology to understand the Cassini space probe, but Cassini sure tells us a lot about the chart's importance on a collective level. So to start with, I must make clear the fact that I have used the event to explain the chart more than I have used the chart to explain the event. Call it Newsomancy. However...for the Love of Astrology:
The August 11, 1999 chart is simple, deceptively simple and very complex all at once. Give the thing time, hang it on the wall, study it upside down, look at midpoints, ask your sister who could care less about astrology what she thinks, cut it up and do a collage, and basically make an adventure of it. If you think you're getting nowhere, keep going, because this means you're definitely getting somewhere. Watch and see.
For the sake of astrology students and other naturally curious people, I'm going to give some of the very basic lines of approach to eclipse charts and this one in particular. Cast the chart for where you are at the time of casting. I suggest you look at the figure both standing alone, and in relationship to your own natal chart to see what the transits suggest. Also, I recommend that you check your progressed chart for the August 1999 see what it says. This eclipse makes significant transits to every natal and progressed chart in the world. Start simple - with exploring what house of your natal chart the eclipse occurs in, and take it from there. The house position of an eclipse represents where you are doing major work in your life.
Keywords I have discovered apply to eclipses are: ACTUAL EXPERIENCES of sudden change, connection or convergence, release, release of pressure, application of pressure, openings, level-shifts, evolution, and bold dividing lines in time. They often behave like what seem like fixed points in space-time, then we burst through to the other side. Perhaps they are things that are fixed, and we are the ones that are moving.
Solar eclipses are New Moons that occur on or close to the lunar nodes. This happens when the Sun and Moon are at both the same longitude and declination, and therefore cross paths exactly - usually involving the Moon casting a shadow upon the Earth, i.e., the "Sun goes out" for a while. Hence, the break in continuity. [New Moons all by themselves are very powerful openings. Meditate exactly during their passage five or six times and see if you notice anything.] There are several kinds of solar eclipses, and some kind or another happens twice a year. The position of the eclipses *retrogrades* through the signs of horoscope and the houses of your chart, loosely following the progress of the lunar nodes. Recently the nodes were in Virgo/Pisces. Now they are in Leo/Aquarius. There will first be a solar eclipse on one node, and then about six months later, on the other. The transiting nodes return in an approximately 18 year cycle.
Lunar eclipses, in case you're wondering, are usually events occurring on the Full Moon either before or after the solar eclipse, in which the Earth blocks the light of the Sun and the Moon appears to go out. These also occur close to the lunar nodes, but across the nodes as an opposition. However, in 1998, there are no lunar eclipses, which, like solar eclipses skipping a sign, is also a fairly rare condition, and suggests that the lunar eclipses of 1999 are quite important. [NOTE: The partial lunar eclipse associated with the August 1999 grand cross and total solar eclipse occurs July 28, 1999 at 11:25 am GMT. Its position is 4Aquarius58.]
All eclipses are, first and foremost, breaks in continuity. Investigate and see.
GET THIS -- The Lunar Nodes
The lunar nodes are always incredibly powerful, whether in transit or natally, and regardless of whether there is an eclipse happening - yet they have no physical mass. Isn't that strange? They act like "things" but there is no "thing" there. When astronomers come across phenomena like that, they know they have a new kind of thing about to be discovered.
This phenomenon gives us a huge clue into how astrology works as a meeting place of space-time. Part of the reason the nodes are so powerful is no doubt due to the occurrence of eclipses near them, which bring exactly together the Sun and Moon, two extremely important expressions of experience. Nodes also represent the balancing of a polarity across the horoscope. That, too, is powerful.
But consider that the nodes represent a four-dimensional experience of space and time converging: the intersection of two planes (the Sun's apparent orbit, and the Moon's orbit, which cross there), and an event in time - specifically, the eclipse itself, whether in the past, present or the future. The nodes are effective, we feel their effects, whether there is an eclipse or not. Many astrologers have noted that even the *specific degrees of eclipses* are sensitive to transits for months or years before and after the event. Neither the nodes nor the degree of an eclipse has any mass - they are believed to be merely places where things physically "happened already" or "will happen" - and yet they have notable effects. Therefore they must actually exist. My take is that eclipses and the points where they occur are obviously some kind of intersection point between this dimension and the next. The "thing" they are is a dimensional opening, an opening or node in space-time. Could this be why the lunar nodes are so clearly associated with past life experiences? Are they actual gateways into another dimension of time?
And could it be why eclipses are so intense - because they are exact alignments of the Earth with the Sun and Moon in the direction of the dimensional opening?
"Missing" Solar Eclipses in Leo
It is worth mentioning here that eclipses of the Sun have somehow skipped occurring in Leo since the last one in July 1981, approximately 18 years ago. Next month there is finally a solar eclipse in Leo, the first of three for the summers of 1998, 1999 and 2000. Since Leo is the Sun's own sign, this would appear to be an important astrological fact.
My intuitive analysis of that peculiar situation is that wherever Leo exists, by house, in your chart, that's where you've been able to get around, avoid or be prevented from doing major creative work. Check it out and see for yourself. Leo's ruler, the Sun, is also involved, and it of course is a major theme of individual expression. Now we get to catch up or at least make some significant progress in the house where the Sun exists as well. Sounds like big changes, and big steps into self-realization, to me.
For many reasons, solar eclipses - which occur twice a year - are associated with powerful individual effects and group effects as well. The Sun and Moon can function as very personal planets, but also work as mass-planets as well. The lunar nodes are associated with mass consciousness, karma and public contact, yet also come with the theme of individual destiny or the direction of individual evolutionary growth. So an eclipse, where all of these factors meet at the same time, is experienced both personally and collectively, often in huge ways and lasting for many months or years.
The best case in point in recent history is the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in the summer of '97. Look at the private experiences of your life at that time and check out how important a time it was. Meanwhile, Diana's death, whether you think it was meaningful or not, was a public experience which also triggered deep personal emotions for many people, and focused massive, collective appreciation of the role of the individual mother and the great public Mother Archetype projected onto royalty. So, nodes, as the definition of the word indicates, are convergence points. But does life imitate astrology, or does astrology imitate life? Herein lies the secret of the manifested universe. [Diana, incidentally, was extraordinarily sensitive to eclipses. She died on the eve of one closely conjunct her natal Pluto in her eighth house, which represents and contains information about experiences of death and surrender.]
The Grand Cross Aspect
At the time of this eclipse, the Earth is in a "grand cross" or "grand square" position, meaning that it's at the center of at least four planets arranged at 90 degrees. After going fairly deep into the numerous astrological symbols and theories involved, I've recognized that this simple physical fact is the big Gee Whiz of the chart. The Earth is at the center of the whole shebang, and "on the cross," as it were. And while it's subjected to many highly polarized energies - which I'll get into somewhat below - there is a sense of balance to the chart at the same time there's a sense of massive, perhaps sudden, change.
This grand cross structure involves the Saturn in Taurus; the Sun, Moon and north node (Rahu, or the "Dragon's Head") in Leo; Mars in Scorpio; and Uranus on the south node (or Ketu, the Dragon's Tail), in Aquarius. These signs are the "fixed cross" of the zodiac. Its themes are the foundation of human experience on the physical plane. They cover all the basic issues at the top levels Maslow's "hierarchy of needs," things like food and friends and sex. Taurus, ruled by Venus in traditional astrology, represents what we value, possess and express through our bodies, including food and the house we live in (as an aspect of property or wealth). Leo, ruled by the Sun, represents that which we create and the creative force itself. Making a self, making children, having an individual identity, and doing romance and other fun or dangerous things are included among its themes. Scorpio, ruled by Mars in both the traditional and esoteric schools, and by Pluto in modern astrology, represents surrender, deep sexual experiences, death, inheritance and major changes. Aquarius, ruled by Saturn in traditional astrology and by Uranus in more modern interpretations, represents what we express to the culture, who our friends are, group configurations of all kinds, and the process of being an individual within a group: all the basic themes of *community*.
Consider how basic all these issues really are: shelter, sex, money, children, death, and community. They are the "fixed" issues - the things that don't normally change. And yet given the aspect structure and the experience of the eclipse, it's clear that something changes. Squares mean "something happens." Saturn in Taurus represents fixed individual values, yet it's opposed by Mars, which is powerful in Scorpio, its domicile, and then squared by Uranus in Aquarius - which represents the power of group values. There would appear to be some kind of clash or redistribution of energy between the fixed personal wealth of Saturn in Taurus, and group values, ideas and property represented by Uranus in Aquarius.
This article is coming out far longer than I planned, so I want to close with two points that have influenced my interpretation of the eclipse chart. Note that in the horoscope, the lunar nodes are listed as in *direct motion rather than retrograde*. They do this a couple of days each month. My analysis is that the normal direction of flow of the nodes - from south, "the past," toward north, "the future" - is either reversed or moving equally in both directions. Hence, what would normally be seen as an eclipse on the north node, the direction where we are going, is just as much an eclipse on the "south node," something we are releasing or leaving behind. And so Uranus in Aquarius is then on the north node - where we are going: group consciousness, group values, and expressing our ideas, ideals and gifts to the culture.
Finally, given the importance of this event, I believe we need to bring in other astrologies. One is sidereal astrology - looking at the event against the backdrop of the actual constellations instead of that against the "local zodiac," also called the "tropical" zodiac. This event is really in the constellation Cancer. Cancer is about the birth of the human soul into physical incarnation. Tropical Leo, which aligns with sidereal Cancer, is about the development of individual consciousness. In some strange and very large way, with the help of our friends at NASA and the Genera Ashy of the US Space Command, this is what we are trying, trying, trying to do. Birth is dangerous. Pay attention. ++
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