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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Eclipse Part IV 2010-2011 addendum

This wonderful web site was shared with me by LibraMoon, a reader of my posts.  

I cannot attest that it is perfect but it seems to agree with the Fred Espenak/NASA eclipse material I've utilized.


The information on the lunar eclipse is no longer timely but the animation for the January 4, 2011, Partial Solar Eclipse is timely (until the 4th anyway) and very nice.

One of several web sites listed by LibraMoon, Laurie Corzett, is this "emerging visions" that I probably limit  by calling it a magazine of visual art, poetry, and thought.  The short dash through it that I was able to take made me wish for more time to explore.

Science and art for this brief post.  What a concept!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Eclipse Part IV 2010-2011

Eclipse season comes again about the time of the Winter Solstice.  Part IV of this series will consider:

The Total Eclipse of the Moon, December 21, 2010, at 3:13 AM Eastern/12:13 AM Pacific.  It occurs on the Gemini/Sagittarius axis with Moon in Gemini, Sun in Sagittarius, 29° 21'.  Moon opposite Sun 8:13:27 AM GMT, Maximum Eclipse at 8:16:53 AM GMT.

The Partial Solar Eclipse, January 4, 2011, 9:02:36 AM GMT (Moon conjunct Sun), 8:50:33 AM GMT (Maximum Eclipse), occurs with Sun and Moon at Capricorn 13° 38'.

The Full Moon on December 21 is a Total Eclipse of the Moon.  It occurs on the Gemini/Sagittarius axis with Moon in Gemini, Sun in Sagittarius, 29° 21’.  Moon opposite Sun 8:13:27 AM GMT, Maximum Eclipse at 8:16:53 AM GMT.

Moon enters the penumbra 5:28 GMT
Umbra 6:32 GMT this is where it starts to look like an eclipse
Completely in the umbra 7:40 GMT now the moon is reddish brown
Middle 8:17 GMT
End umbra 10:02 GMT
End penumbra 11:06

The duration of the entire show is five hours, thirty-eight minutes, but the beginning and ending parts when the moon enters and leaves the penumbral part of the shadow are often unspectacular and I’ll find myself wondering, “Is it starting?  Is it starting?”  At the end, I’ve grown tired of watching and don’t much care about the “Is it over?” 

The darker part of the eclipse, when the moon enters the umbra until it leaves the dark shadow, is three and a half hours duration.  The most spectacular part of the show is definitely the middle, the time of “maximum eclipse”.

Rather than list times for the process in five different time zones please use the list above, calculated for Greenwich Mean Time, and subtract the factor that converts it to your local time.  Eastern -5, Central -6, Mountain -7, Pacific -8, and Hawai’i -10 (Alaska, you’re on your own, 9 or 10 and you know which.)  Add 12 to the GMT when you need to in order to subtract (time will be PM on December 20).  Still confused?  Send me an email to with your location and I’ll send you your times.

Illustration via Wikipedia
OK, that’s for the watching part.  To have a sense of how the eclipse might play out in the environment, we locate the eclipse chart to an area of interest.  Take the precise time of the Full Moon (3:13 AM EST, 2:13 AM CST, 1:13 AM MST, 12:13 AM PST) and calculate the horoscope for the location of interest.  Then look at that chart for whatever’s emphasized at that location.  For the national climate I use Washington D.C.

Another way is to look at the chart of an eclipse with mapping software that shows where charted planets, rise, set, culminate (top of chart), and anti-culminate (bottom of chart) with lines on a map.  Mars lines might indicate action and fiery events.  Neptune lines might be confusion or flooding.  The quality of the planet is enhanced at the location with some difference in interpretation relative to rising, setting, culminating and anti-culminating.  If a particular location is “flagged” on the map in a way that I find interesting I then calculate an eclipse chart for the place for more information than one can get from the map.

Looking at a chart cast for the lunar eclipse and set for the White House, the planet that first catches my eye is Venus.  In a personal chart we’d say she was Rising and important by her placement in the First House.  But that’s not so important in this kind of chart.  The Rising degree is 7 Scorpio and she’s about 14 Scorpio.  That’s about 7 degrees of separation and I don’t pay much attention unless the separation is less than one degree.  Looking at the mapping version of the eclipse, I’d not even bother to look at DC.  Since it is the seat of power though, I look.  What is critical about this Venus is that she’s at an almost precise right angle with the MC degree (the MC is similar, but not quite what the map shows as “culminating”).

Venus is minutes from 14 Scorpio and the MC is minutes from 14 Leo.  That ties the Lunar Eclipse Venus strongly to Washington.  In this sort of chart, Venus, among other things, represents the economy, money, finances, and women.  The MC represents the chief executive and his public standing.  The Venus aspect may be an indicator of improving popularity.  The aspect however, is a stressful one, so the message may be mixed.

Venus locally dominant in the DC eclipse chart is a strong indicator of financial and economic matters.  Further, the Full Moon/Eclipse axis falls across the financial 2nd and 8th HousesMercury retrograde (ruling the 8th of the monetary standard, the national debt and intelligence) is in the money 2nd as well as the North Lunar Node and Pluto.  Mercury is also at a right angle to Uranus of surprise and the unexpected.  Holiday travel will be an adventure for many.  The configuration with other planets in the financial picture (5th House – the stock market, holding Jupiter with Uranus), clearly suggest the cliché, “it’s the economy stupid.”  That Mercury is retrograde points to the likelihood of trial and error; and Venus ruling the 7th and 12th points to international involvement and behind the scenes machinations.

A negative read would suggest an enhanced “more of the same”; bad news of slow economic growth, unemployment, foreclosure, etc.  A more optimistic assessment might be a President gaining in approval and an economy beginning to respond to stimulation.  The point isn’t a good or bad prediction but awareness of the issues in emphasis.  After all, humankind presumably has this thing called free will.

Some other places “hit” in the eclipse charting include Salt Lake City, and Phoenix where Mars at the IC maybe activating opposition Parties or pointing to a potential for devastating fires.  The IC with Mars might also point up weather problems, storms, and natural disasters.  Mars heats things up!

"The lunar eclipse is visible over Britain, northwest Europe and Africa at Moonset (dawn); the Pacific and the Americas; and northeast Asia around Moonrise (Sunset)." [This location information via]


Two weeks after the Full Moon Lunar Eclipse comes a New Moon Solar Eclipse.

Solar Eclipse Partial January 4, 2011, 9:02:36 AM GMT (Moon conjunct Sun), 8:50:33 AM GMT (Maximum Eclipse)
Illustration courtesy of NASA,

The first charting of this eclipse I did for Greenwich, England, the traditional place used for a World chart.  The most emphasized body at that location (at the Rising degree of the chart) is the big asteroid Ceres.  Ceres is the Earth Mother asteroid.  Her glyph resembles the sickle, the tool used for centuries for harvesting grain.  The suggestion is that food is in emphasis for the period.  We can expect both crises that bring food to world consciousness as well as worldwide efforts to deal with hunger and agriculture.  While “modern” farming methods have allowed for huge yields of selected crops, those have not always been what are needed.  Monoculture has forced small farmers out of business and genetically modified crops threaten world ecology.  Clearly, food and agriculture need attention and this eclipse suggests that the time is now.

When we locate the eclipse chart to the White House there’s the surprising repeat of a Venus theme (Venus was also emphasized in the December 2010 Total Lunar Eclipse).  Venus is less than a degree from the Ascendant of the chart suggesting finance, women, and international relations will be highlighted in the months ahead. 

Venus holds connotations of both the 2nd House - finance, prosperity, revenue, and the 7th House - the general public, the status of the nation in the world, international disputes, trade agreements, cartels, and so on.

While Solar Eclipses are often harbingers of difficulty and crisis this one seems almost benign in its Washington DC outfit.  We’ll see.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Eclipse 2010 Part III

Eclipse Part III

(This was written in August/September 2010.  The eclipse chart notes for Greenwich, Washington D.C., and Hawai'i date from then and refer to the July 11 Total Solar Eclipse.)

In this, Part III, I am going to jump more deeply into astrology and bypass some of the softer stuff that was in previous blog entries about eclipses.  Here we spend time looking not at eclipse paths and sky shows but at horoscopes, horo = hour, scope = view.  What we call "charts", as in, "Let me look at your chart."

I distinguish mundane from political charting in that a mundane chart has an astronomical basis while a political chart links the astronomical with social and political life on the planet.  It can be a thin distinction; for example, a New Moon is a mundane event but when calculated for a specific location it may be used for a political chart.

When we look at a mundane chart such as an eclipse, lunation, ingress, season, conjunction, etc., it doesn't come with a specific location.  We might get coordinates for the place where an eclipse is maximum and use that, but a mundane chart is most often viewed astrologically as set for the place where we want to consider its effects.  If we want to know about life in the US we set it for Washington DC.  Some astrologers will set a mundane chart "for the world" at a location that appears quite Eurocentric, Greenwich, England.  That choice has a long tradition and some very experienced astrologers still abide by it.

We can set a mundane chart for any location that fits the information we might like from the chart.  In my practice I most often set one for the White House for political/national information and one for the town where I am living or for any place of interest.

I may also use an astro-mapping program to quickly identify locations where a particular factor suggests that a chart for a specific location might be revelatory.  You may have heard of Astro*Carto*Graphy® mapping and "lines".  The maps provide a shortcut to where a chart will put this or that factor on one of the up, down, rise or set points.  Lines show where the planet or factor will be near or on an angle at the location.  That's very handy but it's only one factor.  Some hucksters are offering to find you love, money, health, and happiness based on these lines alone.  Tsk.

What we learn from location charts is how the event's (ingress, lunation, eclipse, etc.) planetary configuration works out for the area, nation, or whatever.  In any chart we note "angularity", the placement of a factor near one four sensitive chart locations:  1) Ascending or Rising, 2) Descending or Setting, 3) Culminating, "up", at the Midheaven, MC (Medium Coeli) or, 4) Anti-culminating, "down" at the IC (Imum Coeli).  When we find a planet or point at or near those chart angles it is emphasized and the emphasis is tied to the location.  So Mars, god of war and planet of fire, might be in emphasis for one location and not for another. 

Viewing charts based on the Total Solar Eclipse of July 11, 2010, 7:40:27 PM GMT, 19:40:27 UT, at 19° 24' Cancer (Summer Time was in effect, please note this time is NOT Summer Time, but Standard Greenwich Mean Time).

The illustration shows the path of totality (the darker blue band).
For an eclipse you may see two different times, one based on the longitudinal alignment of Moon and Sun (New Moon or lunation) and another keyed to the moment of greatest eclipse.  Greatest eclipse occurs in the South Pacific at 19:33:31 UT.  There's usually not a great deal of difference, and I may look at charts for both times, but to keep it simple I usually chart for the lunation which is the time I use for all New Moons, eclipse or not. 

At the time of the eclipse in England, the Sun is getting ready to set.  That is a public/social part of the horoscope so we might surmise from a "world chart" that the eclipse effects will be felt world-wide and that ordinary people (not just presidents and kings) will receive the message of this eclipse.

The "karma" of personages of the old guard will have a strong effect on events to transpire and it is the new lawmakers and young persons who will breathe life into progress (North Lunar Node Rising, South Setting).  It is obvious that the leaders of the past have a great deal of responsibility for the mess the world is in even though much of the populace has such a lack of historical perspective that they place the blame for current ills on current leaders.  The other side of that is represented in the Greenwich chart in that the future direction is in the hands of younger people coming into view, creators of new technologies like Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), or political gadfly Julian Assange (WikiLeaks).  
The eclipse in DC occurs in the part of the horoscope that has to do with international relations and that will be an area of additional focus for the period and in months to come.  With the Sun and Moon in that House it is likely that leaders will be traveling internationally.  No surprise in what we find at the bottom of the chart, "the homeland".  The planet Neptune of the sea is in emphasis.  That brings to mind the oil spill and indicates continuing confusion, illusion, and leaky-leaky in the Gulf.

Looking at the chart for my current home (Hawai'i), it has the eclipse in the legislative 11th.  There's a lot of attention given to the upcoming election and negative ads are in abundance.  Two planets traditionally referred to as "malefic", Mars of war and heat, and Saturn of lack and limitation are in the 1st House that has to do with the health of the community.  Hawai'i currently has the highest drought rating (by far, as high as the scale goes) of any of the fifty states.

Eclipse season comes again about the time of the Winter Solstice.  Part IV of this series will consider:

The Total Eclipse of the Moon, December 21, 2010, at 3:13 AM Eastern/12:13 AM Pacific.  It occurs on the Gemini/Sagittarius axis with Moon in Gemini, Sun in Sagittarius, 29° 21'.  Moon opposite Sun 8:13:27 AM GMT, Maximum Eclipse at 8:16:53 AM GMT.

The Partial Solar Eclipse, January 4, 2011, 9:02:36 AM GMT (Moon conjunct Sun), 8:50:33 AM GMT (Maximum Eclipse), occurs with Sun and Moon at Capricorn 13° 38'.

Thanks to Janus for charts and to NASA for eclipse path map.  Questions?  Ask away.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Another Moon out of bounds October 25, 2010

Another Moon out of bounds for you and the post is too long for Facebook.

We've got another little blip of the Moon out of bounds, OOB, from the 25th until the 27th.

Due to the tilt of the earth in relation to the Sun we get seasons and the latitude markers of the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn that are 23° 28' north and south of the equator.  Imagine the equator and those north and south limits extended out into space.  Most of the time the planets stay within those limits set by the Sun.  But sometimes, some of the planets swing beyond the limits that the Sun sets.  The Sun, Saturn and Neptune never go OOB, but periodically the rest do.

When a planet is OOB it doesn't relate normally to other astrological factors.  For the time it is out of bounds it is a bit of a wild card, a bit eccentric, and independent. 

This OOB began today, October 25 at 637 PM UT, 237 PM Eastern, 137 PM Central, 1237 PM Mountain, 1137 AM Pacific, and 837 AM Hawaii.

The Moon returns to the fold 208 AM UT on the 28th, for US times it will be October 27 at 1008 PM Eastern, 908 PM Central, 808 PM Mountain, 708 PM Pacific, and 408 PM in Hawaii.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Few Notes on October 2010 Astrology

October 11, 2010:  A lovely Crescent Moon in the early evening last night went out of bounds (OOB) a few minutes after her exact forty-five degree separation from the Sun.  She’ll remain OOB until
Wed 10/13/2010 1:35 PM UT, 9:35 AM Eastern, 8:35 AM Central, 7:35 AM Mountain, 6:35 AM Pacific, and 3:35 AM here in Hawai’i.

Additionally, a longer term aspect came to perfection last night.  The aspect, a parallel in declination, is not one that gets a lot of press.  It’s a measurement analogous to latitude on the surface of the planet.  Saturn and Uranus reached the same precise distance south of the celestial equator.  The aspect suggests some emphasis of the dynamic between the planet of order and structure, Saturn, and the planet of revolutionary change, Uranus.

This is an enhanced continuation of one of the big picture planetary alignments that’s been discussed quite a bit in terms of the opposition of those two.  Saturn opposed Uranus for the first of five times November 4, 2008 and then the opposition repeated (due to retrogrades) 5 February 2009, 15 September 2009, 26 April 2009, with a final exact opposition on 26 July 2010.

The expression represented by the aspect in opposition is far from over as the aspect in declination reminds us.  Saturn wants to put a straight jacket on the impulse for democratic advance as represented by Uranus that the writer Richard Tarnas has compared to the archetype of Prometheus.  Prometheus was the Titan who looked out for the well being of man and is famous for giving the gift of fire (a modern comparison might be technology and the democratizing Internet).

At this point in a global economic recession the forces of Saturn represent the conservative impulse to go with what is tried and known while the progressive impulse of Uranus is to protect and find benefit for the masses.  The obvious parallel (pun intended) is apparent to the astrologer as another of the connections to be found between the sky show and life on this miracle planet.

What a time!  SuperMoon-New Moon and Venus retrograde October 7, Jupiter retrograde in aspect to Neptune retrograde on the 8th for more on the “adjusting” going on about faith, religion, and beliefs, and a Mercury with the Sun “Superior Conjunction” on the 16th to suggest continued focus on relationship communication.  We need to listen to one another more than we need to talk to one another.

I thought to just post the OOB Moon information to Facebook but this grew a bit beyond the mild lunacy that the OOB suggests so I’m putting this on the blog instead.  Look for the day-to-day effect of the OOB to see a bit of jitter to life, the ball takes an odd bounce.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Eclipse ~ Part II

The Total Solar Eclipse of July 11, 2010 & more, more, more!

Most of what I write about in this blog is in response and reply to your questions and issues* and I want it to be interesting and relevant to you. I’m back to the eclipse now more than a month later. I hope it does not seem irrelevant after the fact.

Some astrologers suggest that the resonance of an eclipse may be measured in years, with one year given for each minute of totality (in this case 5 minutes 20 seconds is 5 years 4 months). It is not uncommon for astrologers to consider the degree of an eclipse a “sensitive point” in the Zodiac for years to come (this eclipse at 19°23’ Cancer). Personally, I give greatest focus to a particular eclipse until another similar eclipse occurs (the next total solar eclipse occurs November 13, 2012). There are exceptions, but there is so much in astrology to take into account that I try and apply the KISS principle (keep it simple sir). In short, a) this eclipse is still relevant, b) some principles that I offer here have been utilized for centuries, and c) occasionally my fifty plus years of study allows for a useful observation.

“The second solar eclipse of 2010 occurs at the Moon's descending node in central Gemini just 45 arc-minutes east of the 3rd magnitude star Delta Geminorum.” So begins my favorite source for eclipse information via NASA from astronomers Espenak and Anderson. Astrologically that suggests a look-up of that star for whatever insights it may give us. We might phrase it that the eclipse is conjunct Delta Geminorum, a star with the traditional name Wasat.

Astrology gets information from placement (in the apparently fixed background of space) and proximity or relationship (to bodies or points in motion). “Sign” measurement (placement) is longitude (east-west, right-left) along the ecliptic (the path through the sky traveled by the sun, moon, and planets). The 360° circle of the ecliptic is made sexier, more fun, and gets suggested meaning by naming the 30° degree segments, Aries, Taurus, and so forth. The segments are linked precisely with the Earth’s seasons, Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and the Solstices and Equinoxes that mark those. That is why the Zodiac of the seasons is known as the Tropical (seasonal) Zodiac. Once, some two thousand years ago, named constellations matched the Signs of the seasons, now they are nearly a full Sign out of synch. Various matches of Zodiac to constellations are referred to as the Sidereal (constellational) Zodiac. There is easily a small book about what that suggests.

The longitude degree of the lunation or New Moon of the July 11, 2010 Total Solar Eclipse is 19°23’ Cancer (the point of greatest eclipse is very slightly different). Our NASA astronomers tell us that is minutes of longitude from the star Delta Geminorum. The traditional name of that star is Wasat, Arabic for “middle”. That refers to the star’s location either in the middle of the constellation Gemini or near the middle of the constellation Orion - to know which, you had to have been there when they named it.

Now Wasat is at 18°39’59” Cancer. It is Yellowish-White, Magnitude +3.5 (not all that bright), and according to Ptolemy has the nature of Saturn. From deVore’s Encyclopedia of Astrology we have: “Wasat, Delta Geminorum. A pale white and purple double star in the right arm of the Northern Twin. (Saturn) Malevolence, violence and destructiveness; associated with poisons and gases.” And, “Interpretations given are mostly from ancient authorities, who apparently were inclined to place undue stress upon the direful.”

Wasat is only two-tenths of a degree south of the ecliptic and therefore is occasionally occulted by the Moon and more rarely by a planet. The last occultation by a planet was by Saturn on June 30, 1857 and the next will be by Venus on August 12, 2420. This may be a contributing factor to the negative quality ascribed to Wasat since the occultation by Saturn may have given a saturnine taint or color to Wasat. Maybe 25th Century interpretation will give a nicer, Venusian quality to that star.

In Chinese astronomy, Delta Geminorum was one of a triangle of stars on the ecliptic forming Tianzun, a wine cup or water jar with three feet. Maybe some connection with water and its presence or lack. I don’t know about how the entire Pacific is doing but Hawai’i is experiencing a devastating drought, the worst by far of any US State.

We would not be mistaken to link this eclipse with the worst environmental disaster in US history, the oil spilling into the Gulf as a result of high tech poking into the sea bed. The substance of mundane (Earth events) astrology comes from combining many astronomical/astrological events of which eclipses are near or at the top of the list.

A wee bit beyond the customary degree for involvement by conjunction (within one degree) we may also take note of the proximity of the geocentric North Node (NN) of Pluto at 20° 26’ 33” Cancer (heliocentric node, 20° 28’ 13”) to the degree of the eclipse. Pluto’s node is suggestive of death and rebirth transformation. Pluto is of course the Lord of the Underworld and in charge of hidden riches buried deep within the earth.

In many references one can find, “20°... Degree of limitation and hindrance.” (A degree and one or more minutes is customarily regarded as the next whole degree, e.g., one degree one minute is two degrees, one degree fifty-nine minutes is two degrees.)

This is a total eclipse, spectacular to those able to view it, but the path is sparsely populated. Good viewing locations were Easter Island, Tahiti, and Mangaia Island (Cook Island). One might have seen some of the eclipse way south where it ends in Chile and Argentina (dead winter there) and some other islands in the South Pacific.

One reason we look to the eclipse path is visibility, where can one view the eclipse? Where is the eclipse to be seen? Just as the degree of an eclipse is said to sensitize that degree, the path of an eclipse is thought to indicate a geographical area that may be likely for events that correlate to the astrological themes given by the eclipse degree and aspects.
For millennia, events have followed in regions where an eclipse was witnessed, events that people have connected to the fact of the eclipse. Some interesting connections I recall are that the eclipse prior to the birth of Alexander the Great traced the extent of his empire; in a similar way the eclipse prior to the birth of Karl Marx indicated the area of the Soviet Union. I’d like to give more examples but my library has mostly been donated to the Bob Mulligan School of Astrology and I can’t play my research game of pull books from the shelves.

SKIP NEXT THREE PARAGRAPHS unless you are the complete astro-nerd!

To add further depth (or to further complicate) the study of the symbolic effects of an eclipse, we can consider the “family” to which an eclipse belongs. There, we look especially to charting of the first eclipse of a family (Saros Series) for themes that might “color” all the eclipses of the series.

“This is the 27th eclipse of Saros 146 (Espenak and Meeus, 2006). The series began on 1541 Sep 19 with the first of an unusually long series of 22 partial eclipses. . . . The 2010 eclipse marks the longest totality of Saros 146 because future durations will decrease. . . . The series ends with a set of 13 partial eclipses the last of which occurs on 2893 Dec 29.

“In all, Saros 146 produces 35 partial, 13 total, 4 hybrid and 24 annular eclipses. Complete details for the series can be found at:


Astronomy measures while astrology draws meaning. The suggestion of the eclipse is the extinguishing or dimming of light. That often has been linked with the passing of leaders. The Sun represents, the center, the king, the chief.

Another kind of information gleaned from eclipses that is crossing the astrolo-astrono divide is geophysical phenomena (earthquakes, volcanoes, all kinds of storms, etc.). The precise alignments that result in an eclipse also contribute to gravitational anomalies that are linked to the geophysical. Things tend to speed up during eclipse season.

For a lovely article on the eclipse, NASA Science News offers the story and great pictures at

* I haven’t yet got a good handle on this Internet communicating and am trying many avenues (this blog, Facebook – Astrology with Tim Rubald – a fan page, a Tim Rubald Facebook page,, and some dozen other places as well). Any way you want to get in touch to have me address a particular topic is fine; there may be more continuity if it is here in the blog, but any way is fine.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Saturn's in Libra now. Isn't that nice?

Saturn entered Libra 
July 21, 2010

The change really makes me glad.  I don't go on much about the personal in this blog but Saturn in my life lately brings to mind those apartment building size tractors they use in open pit coal mines; a huge, inevitable, unrelenting machine.

Saturn moved into Virgo September 2 of 2007*.  On October 29, 2009, it made an initial duck from Virgo into Libra.  January 13, 2010, Saturn began a retrograde that took it back into Virgo from Libra on April 7.  May 7 it resumed forward motion and on July 21 was back in Libra where it will travel until October 5, 2012, when it goes into Scorpio. 

I wish I could draw a picture; dates, retrograde, direct, blah, blah, blah.  It's summertime, how about a metaphor?  Saturn jumps in the Libra pool and swims a bit then gets out in order to take care of a chore, then goes back in the pool for the duration.  The swimming pool metaphor's a little weak because Virgo is Earth and Libra is Air.

Traditional, conventional, long time astrology has Saturn EXALTED in the Sign Libra.  Planets are said to have affinity for certain Signs and to not work so well in other Signs.  The astrobabble for this is "dignity" and "debility."  DIGNITY refers to conditions of placement where a planet is strengthened and DEBILITY to conditions that are said to weaken a planet.  A planet is said to have dignity here and debility there ("here and there" can be Signs, degrees, Houses, etc.).

Saturn's stuff includes RULERSHIP of the Signs Capricorn and Aquarius (until the 19th Century astrologer(s) Raphael came along with a wish to fit the then freshly discovered Uranus and Neptune into the scheme of things and suggested Uranus for Aquarius and Neptune for Pisces - traditionally under the lordship of Jupiter).  Personally, I like Uranus for Aquarius but also give Saturn equal time for that Sign.  That's just me.

Traditional sign rulership has more to do with how the signs reinforce, positively or negatively, the essence of a planet - hence, the term "essential dignity." 
-- Rob Hand

Rulership is one sort of dignity.  Saturn is DIGNIFIED in Capricorn and Aquarius because it RULES those Signs.  Saturn is thought to be weakened in the opposite Signs, Cancer and Leo.  The astro-babble is that Saturn is at DETRIMENT in Cancer and Leo.

Saturn gets his greatest dignity in the Sign Libra, the Sign of his EXALTATION.   Conversely he reaches his FALL in the Sign opposite, Aries.  What's with Saturn in Libra being so good, said to be the best Sign placement for the planet?  That's such a big question that I am going to skip it. Too involved, too technical, and too boring to all but a few astrologers. I'm not trying to shirk an explanation, only saying that to do an explanation justice is more fitting to a long book chapter or a pamphlet, not a blog entry.  Suffice to say, Saturn works well in the Sign Libra.

Here's some of what the 17th Century astrologer William Lilly wrote about Saturn:

[Houses] In the Zodiack he hath two of the twelve Signes for his Houses, viz. Capricorn his Night-house, Aquarius his Day-house; he has his Exaltation in Libra, he receives his Fall in Aries; he rejoyceth in the sign Aquarius.

[Triplicity] He governeth the Aiery Triplicity by day, which is composed of these Signs; Gemini, Libra, Aquarius;

Lilly also gives more detail on Saturn in what are called "terms" but we'll skip that in favor of some basic Saturn information.   Saturn takes about 29.46 years to circle the Sun, spends about 2.5 years in a Sign and about 4.5 months of each orbital period appearing to move backward through the zodiac from our perspective on earth (called retrograde motion).

Let's be happy now with a lighter touch from the old man, a more considered, humanitarian application of structure and authority.  Maybe there will be a better crop of political candidates this November, more amenable to care for people rather than the current batch, which are mostly in the pockets of corporate interests.

The Sign Saturn leaves, Virgo, is an Earthy work Sign.  Saturn's now in Libra; more concerned with harmony and humanity than with the world as a work farm.  Cheers for Saturn in Libra!

* UT/GMT dates

Monday, June 28, 2010

Eclipse ~ Part I

In my email this morning (June 25, 2010) was an inquiry about an upcoming partial lunar eclipse.  While I’ve written many times and lectured and taught about eclipses, I thought it might be as good a time as any to revisit the topic.

My friend commented that she’d heard this was an auspicious eclipse.  One gets a sense of benefit from that word, auspicious, that is not (in my experience) usually connected with an eclipse.

In the simplest terms, an eclipse is an obscuration, a dimming or elimination of the light from one of our planet’s most important lights, sun or moon.  For that reason, eclipses most often have a negative connotation with regard to the astrological “what does it mean?”

Where astronomy splits from its mother, astrology, is that astrology offers some meaning we might derive from an analysis of the greater whole while astronomy is primarily about measurement of a piece of the whole (how far, how bright, elemental composition, motion, etc.)

The question of auspiciousness comes to some degree from the lunation process.  A lunation follows the waxing and waning moon through eight stages:  New, Crescent, First Quarter, Gibbous, Full, Disseminating, Last Quarter, Balsamic, and back to New.  The process of New Moon to New Moon takes about 29.5 days.

“Moons” are one of the first and most obvious markings of astronomical events experienced by us critters on this planet.  Moons are utilized for everything from hunting and fishing, to the timing of religious observances (Easter, Diwali, Saga Dawa, Ramadan, Passover, etc.)  New Moon timing for religious purposes usually doesn’t kick in until the moon begins to pull far enough from the sun’s rays to be visible in or after the sunset (crescent).  The more obvious Full Moon is the one that gets popular names such as Harvest Moon.

Some lunations or “moons” are deemed positive or auspicious and some not so much.  Every eclipse will also be linked with this or that “moon" because an eclipse is a "moon".  Considering lunations from an astrological (it means something) perspective, the more precise alignment that results in an eclipse steps up or enhances whatever the meaning of the lunation.

We can get an idea of the auspiciousness of certain moons by their names.  I’ve picked a few at random.  Some North American indigenous peoples call the midwinter Full Moon, the Starvation Moon.  That would likely be an inappropriate name for it in the southern hemisphere where seasons are flip-flopped.  The name Harvest Moon was given to the first Full Moon after the Autumn Equinox and northern hemispherites from North America (some tribes refer to the Grandmother Moon) to Europe celebrated it for much the same reason.  I’ve heard it said that its light extended the hours available to harvest.  Personally I’d rather not be swinging sharp harvest tools by moonlight.  The bounty of the harvest gave way to celebratory feasts such as the Thanksgiving holiday in the USA.

 For much of the world, the calendar is lunar based.  Probably the oldest lunar calendar in use is that of China which begins with the first New Moon after the Sun enters the Sign Aquarius.  Chinese New Year is an example of auspicious endeavor coming by way of splendid celebration, parades, fireworks, new clothing and special foods.  While celebration and ritual are practiced to “seed” the year ahead, some years are said to be more auspicious than others and a year may be said to benefit or challenge the native of one Chinese Zodiac year Sign more or less than it does the native of another Sign.

This is given to offer some hint as to how an eclipse might or might not be auspicious.  Many other factors can go into the mix.  For example, an eclipse that occurs in a good relationship to a benefic planet (Venus or Jupiter) might be considered auspicious.

A Hindu blog I came upon informs us that the eclipse is a “Chandra Grahan”.  I know that Chandra is Sanskrit for Moon; I will assume Grahan indicates eclipse.

(Although I’ve given a few years of my more than fifty years studying astrology to an investigation of Jyotish, Vedic, or Hindu astrology, I am no expert in those techniques.  I believe that any form of astrology when understood and practiced with expertise and heart has value; Western Tropical (my practice), Vedic, Chinese, Classical, Mayan, etc.  I remember a Mick Jagger line, “It’s the singer, not the song.”)

Here is information on the Chandra Grahan given by Paramahamsa Swami Sivananda

“At the time of the eclipse, people bathe in the sacred rivers. They do charitable acts. They give cows, money and gold. The day after the eclipse they feed the poor, the Brahmins and the Sadhus. After the eclipse they clean their houses, vessels, etc., and take a bath before they start cooking.

“Those who do Japa [mantra] at the time of the eclipse derive great benefits. The effect of Japa and Sankirtan [sacred song, call and repeat] during the eclipse contributes towards relieving the suffering of humanity and also of the planets. These people receive the blessings of the gods. They attain perfection quickly. . . .  You will shine in your own glory. This is the spiritual significance of the eclipse.”


There are many, many variants to the moon’s motion and relation to Earth.  There’s a slightly less precise alignment than an eclipse that is very nearly as dynamic in effect as the eclipse alignment that astrologer Richard Nolle’s named a “SuperMoon”.  Eclipses and SuperMoons are often linked with geophysical phenomena like earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and the like.  I’ll write more about these special lunations at some point in the future.

Eclipses tend to occur in groups so the Lunar Eclipse this time is followed by a Total Solar Eclipse on July 11.  I’ve been writing about eclipses here in a general way in order to address the question of auspiciousness.  Many times I’ve been called upon to evaluate a specific eclipse in the sense of meaning and effect as applied to the world and individuals.  I will leave that for another blog entry since this one has grown large enough.

 Eclipses in 2010 (UT/GMT dates)

Annular Eclipse of the Sun
, January 15 at 25° 01’ Capricorn
The instant of greatest eclipse occurs at 07:06:33 UT

Partial Eclipse of the Moon
, June 26 at 04° 46’ Capricorn
Greatest Eclipse:  11:38:27 UT

Total Eclipse of the Sun
, July 11 at 19° 24’ Cancer
Greatest eclipse occurs in the South Pacific at 19:33:31 UT.

Total Eclipse of the Moon
, December 21 at 29° 21’ Gemini
Greatest Eclipse:  08:16:57 UT

Astrological information from Jim Maynard’s Celestial Guide.  Best astronomical eclipse data is from Fred Espenak at

The time of greatest eclipse will be near but not exactly the same as the time of the New or Full Moon alignment.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Welcome to Spring!

It is the time of the Vernal EquinoxThe Sun enters the Sign Aries on March 20 at 17.32 UT (that’s 1:32 PM Eastern, 10:32  AM Pacific). 

The longer night of the winter season is now in equal balance with daylight.  From this point the length of daylight grows. 

It is the beginning point of the Zodiac that astrologers use as measure.  An astrological chart for the equinox moment is said to contain information relevant to at least the Spring season and perhaps for as much as the twelve months to follow.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Imbolc, Brigid, and Groundhog Day

We often talk about the connections of astrology with the season cycle. The Solstices and Equinoxes mark zero degrees of the Cardinal Zodiac Signs. The midpoints in time between Solstices and Equinoxes are "Cross Quarter Days," holy days based on the seasons.

The middle of Aquarius comes early in February and brings Imbolc or Brigid ~ Candlemas (February 2) ~ the newborn Sun God is seen as a small child nursing at the breast of the Mother. Energy is directed toward blessing and empowering new beginnings. At this Holy Day the Goddess of Fire and Inspiration, Brigid, is honored. To the Irish she is the Triple Goddess of Poetry, Healing, and Smithcraft. The Light of the days continues to increase.

Aquarius tells us it is a time for our unique individuality to manifest as well. It is a time of Initiation ritual, of beginnings. Coming at lambing time, Imbolc (or Oimelc) celebrated the beginning of the end of winter. New lambs were born, and a dish made from their docked tails was eaten. This survived into Christian times as the Feast of Brigid: the saint was a Christianized version of the pagan goddess of the same name.

Brigid's festival is Imbolc, when she ushers Spring to the land . . . This mid-Winter feast commences as the ewes begin to lactate and is the start of the new agricultural cycle. During this time Brigid personifies a bride, virgin or maiden aspect and is the protectoress of women in childbirth. Gailleach, or White Lady, drank from the ancient Well of Youth at dawn. In that instant, she was transformed into her Maiden aspect, the young goddess called Brigid. Wells were considered to be sacred because they arose from oimbelc (literally "in the belly"), or womb of Mother Earth.

Imbolc also is known as Oimelc, Brigid, Candlemas, or even in America as Groundhog Day. As the foundation for the American Groundhog Day, Brigid's snake comes out of its mound in which it hibernates and its behavior is said to determine the length of the remaining Winter. "Brigid." Encyclopedia Mythica from Encyclopedia Mythica Online.

-- from handout material at a January 2005 talk I gave. Although there are a couple of sources given, I'm not certain where I got some of this. It didn't just pop out of my head or from the belly of Aquarius for that matter even though I have Venus quite near that place. -- Tim