Solar eclipses can occur only at a New Moon. Tuesday’s New Moon (late Monday in Western time zones) is just short of 9 degrees Taurus, placing it at a favorable angle with Jupiter and Pluto, two of the planets in the grand cross. So, while the grand cross dominates the chart for this New Moon, there is a strong connection between the grand cross planets and the Sun/Moon conjunction. I interpret this as a relief valve for the extreme pressure associated with the grand cross formation.
Relief valves can take many forms, and when powerful energies such as these are dammed up, the relief isn’t necessarily positive from a human perspective. An earthquake is a good example. The eclipse also might be the astrological “trigger” for events related to the grand cross. World events corresponding to certain planetary aspects don’t always occur when the aspect is exact. They can, and there are some stunning examples, but more often events take place before or after – weeks or months later, in the case of aspects between outer planets such as Uranus and Pluto – and often when a faster-moving planet moves into a critical position. The Sun trines Pluto on Saturday (May 3) and sextiles Jupiter the following week.
Nonetheless, there’s also potential for some stability around this eclipse, especially if you’ve already experienced a major breakthrough. Likewise, events associated with the grand cross that are triggered around this eclipse could be followed by a period of rest and recovery. Whereas the cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn) are about initiating change, Taurus is one of the more-stable fixed signs (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius) – actually, the most stable of the fixed signs, to the point that it can be stubborn and resistant to change. However, Taurus also has a well-deserved reputation as rock-solid, reliable, and grounded – precisely what we need in a long period of stress and chaos.
At least we have a pretty good idea by now what we’re up against and where we still need to make progress. We know, because we’ve been grappling with the same situation or set of circumstances for the past four years and especially since last summer. That goes for our personal lives as well as world affairs (more below).
One interesting thing I’ve found is that there is an ironic aftereffect in resolving long-standing issues. Even though you’ve broken through in both external circumstances and internal attitude (not necessarily in that order), it actually can be difficult to relax when you’ve spent months or years struggling. It’s as if your fight-or-flight mechanism has been switched on permanently, and you can’t suddenly just shut it off. It’s programmed into your body. “Mind over matter” can work, but not instantly. It takes vigilance and mindfulness over time to adjust. Fortunately, the New Moon in Taurus supports physical and material adjustments.Mercury, the planet of communication, also is in Taurus and at an even closer angle to Jupiter and Pluto in the eclipse chart. Relief could come through communication based on practical considerations and common sense. Still, Mercury in Taurus needs time to make important decisions, and solutions tend to be conservative and safe. At worst, he can be unmoving in his position, refusing to compromise or even to talk at all. Mercury’s trine to Pluto on Tuesday represents an awareness that certain ideas and positions need to be shed, while the Messenger’s sextile with Jupiter on Wednesday is about replacing them with a broader perspective that supports growth and progress.
The New Moon also makes a favorable trine to Neptune. Once again, we’re reminded to have faith in something bigger than ourselves. Our lives are a drop in the ocean of time and space. And yet, what we do with our lives does matter. As part of the collective mind, we are constantly uploading and downloading information, and it seems like this process is speeding up by orders of magnitude.
Venus, the ruler of this eclipse, is in Pisces, which I see as a positive indicator. Venus in Pisces is more willing to put herself in another’s shoes, but it won’t last long. There will be a noticeable shift on Friday, when the planet of peace moves into aggressive Aries. Mars currently is retrograde in Venus-ruled Libra, so when Venus moves into Mars-ruled Aries, the two will be in mutual reception. I’m reminded of the old “peace through strength” concept promoted by Ronald Reagan, the idea being that if you arm yourself to the teeth, no one will dare attack you. It’s related to the doctrine of “mutually assured destruction,” with the appropriate acronym MAD, in which adversaries with vast supplies of nuclear weapons know that if they launch a nuke, the other will respond in kind, and they will annihilate each other.
Although these concepts are antiquated Cold-War strategies, we’re hearing a lot of similar talk, with the United States in direct confrontation with Russia. I’d like to think that this is the last dying breath of patriarchal culture and that it will be replaced with “strength through peace.” That’s not likely to happen anytime soon, but human evolution is a process, and our actions and responses in this critical astrological period will have a ripple effect far into the future.
It’s hard to foresee which way international tensions will go this week. It’s possible that there could be a breakthrough, but it’s hard to envision what a relief valve will look like. Perhaps Mercury’s favorable aspects to Pluto and Jupiter will bring a level of pragmatism to international diplomacy, especially in matters of ideology, natural resources, and finances. Unfortunately, it’s also possible that the stubborn nature of Taurus could prevail, and talks will end entirely. What happens after that is anyone’s guess.
In particular, I’ve been watching the situation in Ukraine, which is a culmination of international tension that started to build when cardinal planets began moving into alignment in 2010. With each successive popular uprising, it has become more and more apparent that foreign governments have been active in fomenting unrest, even if they didn’t create it. And we’ve seen that the underlying motivation isn’t ideological but economic. The United States is heavily implicated, but it most certainly is not alone.
In the past, I’ve written about eclipses primarily in the context of sign pairs. Although I’ve known about Saros cycles, I haven’t included them as part of the discussion. However, for some reason I was moved to look at the history of the cycles of the eclipses in April. Eclipses in a Saros series are about 18 years apart. If you want the full astro-geek explanation, check out NASA’s page by Fred Espinak, “Mr. Eclipse.”
The lunar eclipse on April 15 was a member of lunar Saros 122, which began in August 1022. This week’s solar eclipse belongs to solar Saros 148, which began in September 1653, two weeks after a lunar eclipse in the lunar 122 cycle (this is mathematical and not a sign of Armageddon). As you know, I like to look for correlations in astrological events and history, remembering, of course, that events don’t necessarily happen on the day that aspects are exact.As I was scrolling through a list of events in 1653, I saw a reference to Russia annexing Ukraine. For a second, I thought I was on the wrong page. But no, that really happened in 1653! At the time, Ukraine was part of the Poland-Lithuanian Commonwealth. There was an uprising, and rebel leaders sought support and protection from the tsar of Russia in their bid for liberation. The tsar called a session of parliament, which on Oct. 1, 1653, approved annexation of Ukraine. The move set off a 13-year war between Russia and Poland-Lithuania, after which the eastern part of Ukraine, including eastern parts of Kiev, came under Russian rule. Poland-Lithuania retained the western part. (Keep in mind that national boundaries were different back then.)
The history of Russia and Ukraine is mind-numbingly complicated and goes back more than a thousand years. In 1022, Ukraine and Russia were part of Kievan Rus’, a dynasty that began in the late 9th century and at one time stretched from the Black Sea in the south to the White Sea in the north. Kiev was declared the “mother of Rus’ cities.” I couldn’t find a reference to any particular event in 1022, but that time period was during the Kievan state’s Golden Age, when it was at its height of power under Yaroslav the Wise, son of Vladimir the Great.
Less than a week before the next eclipse in solar Saros cycle 148, the United States has deployed hundreds of paratroopers to Poland and Lithuania for military exercises, ostensibly in response to fears that Russia is preparing to invade Ukraine and won’t stop there. One would have to do an exhaustive historical study before declaring that events in Ukraine and Russia or anywhere else are repeating themselves according to Saros cycles, but nonetheless, this is an intriguing synchronicity.
Tuesday’s New Moon occurs at 2:14 a.m. EDT, but the eclipse peaks more than an hour earlier, just after 1 a.m. We won’t see the eclipse in the United States; it will be visible only in Antarctica, Australia, and the southern Indian Ocean. Incidentally, that’s where Malaysian Flight 370 is believed to have gone down, prompting some astrologers to wonder whether there is a connection and whether there will be significant developments around this eclipse. It’s possible. According to news reports, an announcement is expected this week on a new phase of the search. I’m watching and waiting on this one, and in the meantime withholding judgment.
Wishing you all much love and courage,
© Pat Paquette, RealAstrologers.com, 2014.