Aug. 21st, 2017 - Total Solar Eclipse - What It(and eclipses in general) Mean Astrologically
This summer, we have an unusual astronomical event occurring on Aug. 21st (12:30 pm MDT, to be exact). It is a total solar eclipse, which can happen up to two times in a year. Most of the time, we would have to travel to some faraway place in order to actually see the total eclipse. What makes this one very rare for us is that we wouldn’t have to go very far to actually see it. For those of us in Colorado, we can go a little north into Wyoming and see it. The viewing area of this upcoming eclipse goes from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina in an approximately sixty mile wide path. Casper, Wyoming is right in the middle of this path.
So, for the curious and adventuresome among us, this can be an event that can be looked at as a ‘must see’ event.
A total solar eclipse is not just an astronomical event - it is also an astrological event. By this I mean that there are special or unique energetic qualities, or influences, that happen, or don’t happen, at a total solar eclipse. First of all, a total solar eclipse happens when the moon gets directly into our line of sight of the sun. It is right at the New Moon. And it, of course, blocks the sunlight from hitting the earth, at least along this relatively narrow 60 mile wide path.
Even though we don’t see the stars in the background, this sun and moon conjunction is always in a particular sign of the zodiac, and a particular degree of that sign. This August, the total solar eclipse happens at about 5 degrees of Leo, in Vedic Astrology.
In your personal Vedic Astrological chart, if you have a planet or your Rising Sign in Leo, especially in the early part of Leo, you may feel this eclipse more strongly. Interpreting the effect of the eclipse on your chart would involve seeing which of the twelve divisions of your chart (or houses) that the sign of Leo is in. If Leo is your first house, aka the Rising Sign, the eclipse could affect your physical health, vitality or your sense of self and identity. If Leo is your 7th house, the eclipse could affect a relationship strongly. If Leo is your 10th house, it could affect your career strongly, and so on.
One of my astrological teachers used to say that what is happening astronomically is symbolic of what the astrological interpretation can be. So in this case, the moon is blocking the light of the sun. Astrologically, the Sun represents our vitality. It also represents our divinity, our soul, our Spirit or our Self. And so, it can represent our spiritual path or our process of realizing our Self.
One of the first things that I learned about a total or even partial solar eclipse is that these things represented by the sun, get blocked by the moon. And the moon represents our minds. So it can easily be a time when we let our minds (literally) get in the way of some greater Purpose or Dharma that we have. Our minds can obscure our Consciousness (Sun).
We can also manifest situations that challenge our vitality on some level. It can be a time when, if we expend a lot of energy, we can become depleted since we are not getting the normal vital energy (Sun) we usually have to recharge ourselves. This depleting expenditure of our energy can be physical, mental, emotional or even spiritual/psychic.
Physically, this can be using our Ojas through any strong physical activity including sexual activity. Mentally, of course, this can mean getting stuck in our minds, continually trying to understand or fix things. This can also just be studying too much around the eclipse, or engaging strongly in other mental activities. It can also drain our energy if we get too much into some emotional release or expression at the time of the eclipse.
Psychically, we can drain our energy by spending it too much on any of those other levels. Artificially opening up our psychic system in some sort of drug related activity or doing some sort of extreme pranayama, like the breath of fire can also be draining at the eclipse time.
So, to put it simply, an eclipse is a good time to just lay low, even though it can be a time when we feel a lot of ambition or desire to manifest something. This ambition can be to the point of being out of balance and, thus, more likely to create difficult results and more difficult karma.
We all know that there is a new moon every month. As we, on Earth, orbit the sun and as the moon orbit’s the earth, once a month there is this lining up of the earth, moon and sun. Most of the time, the moon is either above or below our line of sight to the sun, making it impossible for the moon to block the light of the sun.
Technically speaking, we can look at the orbit of the moon around the earth as happening on a two-dimensional plane. And on a slightly different plane is the orbit of the earth around the sun. (These planes are only about 5 degrees tilted from each other.)
From our geometry lessons we learned that the intersection of two planes is a line. Likewise, the intersection of the plane formed by the moon’s orbit with the plane formed by the earth’s orbit creates a line in space. (And you can think of these planes expanding out infinitely.) From our viewpoint on earth, one end of this line is going in a northerly direction, and the other end is pointing in a southerly direction.
In Vedic Astrology, this northern pointing ‘end’ of the line is called Rahu. And the other end is called Ketu. These points have such strong influences in our lives that they have been given the status of being planets. They are called Chaya Grahas, or Shadowy Planets, because they are strong influences, but they are not physical planets like the planets in our solar system.
A total solar eclipse occurs when the new moon is right with, or conjunct, either Rahu or Ketu. Another way to put it is that the new moon is happening on one end of the line where our two planes intersect. So, to interpret what the astrological impact of a solar eclipse is, we have to combine the possible meanings of a new moon with the fact that it is with either Rahu or Ketu and what all that can imply. (On top of that, as I mentioned earlier, we can interpret how the eclipse lines up in our own charts. )
Rahu and Ketu are usually looked at as being two parts of the same line, or axis. As an example, when Rahu is with your Sun, Ketu is exactly opposite your Sun. So they both strongly influence a planet when one of them is with a planet.
Ketu can represent our natural urge to connect with Higher Consciousness or more refined ‘other worldly’ energies. It represents our urge to become enlightened or our urge for spiritual freedom or Liberation. It has to do with a sensitivity and a connectedness to higher or more refined energies. So it can have to do with psychic sensitivity and intuition.
Where Ketu can represent a sort of ascending or ‘upward’ direction, Rahu represents a descending flow that originates in some higher form of Consciousness and comes to us on the worldly level. Rahu can represent a Creative Flow of energy that we can align ourselves with.
Very creative people are often just getting out of the way and allowing some Flow to come through them. It can be artists, simply being in the present, letting something come through them. It’s not so much about the individual as it is about letting what is possible come through. This Flow can happen no matter what a person does. Another example is that this creative Flow can happen when someone giving a talk is open to it.
By not being in the present, we don’t allow for this Flow because it can only happen in the present. By being too involved or identified as the doer of our actions, we can also get in the way of this flow.
So the eclipse this upcoming August has the planet Rahu with the Sun and the Moon. What are some of the difficulties of having Rahu, Sun and Moon all together? And what are some good ways to consciously and constructively be present with the energies involved? Any actions that we perform while being present with the energies involved, will more likely be initiated from a place of clarity, thus more likely to have positive outcomes.
Rahu can represent very subtle, but high vibrational, energies that we experience. Because of this, we cannot easily understand these energies in our normal intellectual/analytical mind. This disconnect can trouble our minds or make things hard to see clearly.
One of the beauties of having a good, regular meditation practice, as well as being balanced on all levels (as with Ayurvedic Medicine) is that we can simply just ‘be’ in the present more of the time. This allows us to see more clearly what is, and what is possible. When we dwell in the past, or keep worrying about the future, then we seriously restrict being open to a Rahu Creative Flow that can come through us. The more we can be present, or ‘mindful’, the more we have the ability to witness our minds and what is playing out in our minds.
Part of a solar eclipse is that the moon is with Rahu (or Rahu is influencing the moon by being straight opposite it). The moon represents our mind and all of the thoughts that are running through it. The moon also represents our sensitivity on any level. So this is a time when we can be unusually sensitive to the subtle Rahu energies.
Rahu, being this flow from above, wants to manifest somehow on our worldly level. It can be Higher Consciousness, Shiva, or however you want to put it, manifesting itself in countless beautiful ways.
When a person is feeling Rahu strongly, but is more small-self oriented, Rahu can represent desires to have certain things manifest and have to do with ambition. When the desires and ambitions are out of balance (usually from a lack of the ability to stay present and have perspective with our thoughts) we can act from a certain amount of delusion and illusions about the outcome of our actions. This usually results in some sort of unforeseen result that also leads to undesirable karma.
On the other hand, by being present and by having a certain wish to not repeat difficult patterns and karmas, combined with a wish to evolve in a yogic or spiritual sense, we avoid acting in illusionary desire-filled ways. This allows us to be a part of a nourishing Flow from a higher level because the Rahu energy doesn’t disappear when we don’t allow it to manifest on one level. It still has to manifest one way or another. And it also has unexpected results. But this time, what you didn’t see coming is some sort of boon, some sort of Grace manifesting in your life.
On a solar eclipse the Sun is getting blocked. Our spiritual (or yogic) urge can be blocked. It can be easier to get into the desires and ambitions represented by Rahu. Rahu becomes the strongest influence on our minds (the Moon).
At a normal new moon, the Sun is strongly influencing the Moon. Here, with the addition of the Rahu influence and the blocking of the Solar influence, Rahu can have the upper hand. But, if our ability to stay focused and in the present, is strong, our mind is strong. This gives us the capacity to not get pulled into reacting with what our minds might be coming up with as being really great to do. A strong meditative practice, or our ability to be Present, creates an inner Sun that influences our mind (our Moon). And it can balance out the difficult affects that Rahu can have on our minds and it can influence Rahu in positive ways. The Sun has to do with a strong purpose and dharmic activities. It has to do with our Soul’s journey or evolution.
In fact, this strong inner Sun can then influence the Rahu to be ambition and desire for experiencing the Sun, or our Spirit, or Self. It can also allow the Rahu to be some Flow from something higher or more refined. And it can be infused with a higher Purpose or Will, which is what the Sun can represent.
A solar eclipse, especially a total one, can be a time when things that the Sun represent get very challenged or blocked. The Sun represents the government, kings and leaders. As such, strong eclipses can represent big changes on a national or worldly level. They can represent the overthrow of governments or the rulers of governments. And Leo also represents kings or rulers. So this eclipse might be a big point of critical mass or change in Washington. It could especially effect governments or rulers that are already unstable somehow. It could possibly be a time when a nation’s leader acts in a very irrational, delusional or ambitious way.
The Sun represents a Higher Purpose. The Moon represents (like the feminine Shakti) the Creative Energy. And Rahu represents the urge for this Creative Flow. As we saw from the astronomy, the Rahu/Ketu axis is where the Sun and the Moon have a strong connection, with us on earth being the link between the two, where in the ascending Ketu direction, we connect to our Self (Sun/Shiva) and in the descending/Rahu direction, we become agents for the Creative Manifestation of the Self (Moon/Shakti).
Rahu represents our ability to be a vessel, in our unique ways, for manifesting or expressing the Self. And Ketu represents our urge to reconnect with, or just ‘be’ in a state of experiencing the Self.
So, to put it simply, an eclipse is a good time to just lay low, even though it can be a time when we feel a lot of ambition or desire to manifest something. This ambition can be to the point of being out of balance and, thus, more likely to create difficult results and more difficult karma. On the other hand, if you are being active, it can be a time to bring extra awareness, mindfulness or witnessing to what you are doing. It is also a very good time to meditate and connect to higher energy and consciousness (as opposed to spending too much energy).