When I was new to astrology, I was easily frightened by it. Astrology seemed accurate about so many things that I assumed it was right about everything, and so much of what I found in astrology books was profoundly scary.
Eventually I came to realize that the disturbing interpretations in those books were simply the way a few astrologers saw the world, and not gospel. Many years later, having watched all sorts of planetary cycles come and go, I’m rarely afraid of anything astrology can throw my way. Yet, I have to admit: When eclipses will aspect particular planets in my birth chart, I feel uneasy.
I hasten to tell you that this has nothing to do with eclipses in general, and I’m not saying that eclipses should scare you. To be honest, though eclipses are dramatic and interesting, few of them are truly life-changing. For many of us, this Solar Eclipse will come and go with some mild emotional disruption and perhaps some unexpected developments in some area of life, and that’s about it.
But watch your chart closely over a number of years, and you learn to identify its hot spots. And there is a particular eclipse cycle that triggers one of mine. When eclipses occur near a particular degree of the zodiac, it triggers sensitive and challenging aspects in my chart. My parents died suddenly after two separate Solar Eclipses near this degree, 27 years apart. Each of the three Solar Eclipses at these degrees since my birth coincided with important relocations and change in my life’s direction, including the purchase of my first house and the transition to my career as an astrologer.
Granted, even if history repeats itself (or at least rhymes), subsequent eclipses at this degree are unlikely to bring about the same events. I have no parents left to lose. I’ve lived in the same house since 1997 and am unlikely to move anytime soon, and my career is pretty stable. But if roughly four decades of astrological study have taught me anything, it’s that astrology is endlessly creative in the ways that it manifests. So, I’m always a little nervous to see what else the universe will dish up.
I’m not sharing this with you to feed any fear you may have about eclipses. I guess I just want to acknowledge that an intimate knowledge of how our own charts work means that we’ll be able to recognize our particular astrological bugaboos when we see them coming. It’s for this reason, in fact, that I refuse to learn anything about the astrology of death. I’d just as soon that particular transition came as a complete surprise to me.
When speaking with clients who are fearful of some important transit or progression that’s headed their way, I can nearly always find a comforting way to frame the situation. Faced with such a fear myself, though, I find I’m at a loss to come up with a soothing story or philosophical context for it.
Some transits, or eclipses, or progressions are tough, and the only way to deal with them is to simply face them down with as much courage as we can muster. Leonardo DiCaprio’s recent Academy Award win got me thinking about Titanic. I wasn’t a fan of the film, but I was impressed by the bravery of DiCaprio’s character in the face of a life-threatening peril. When faced with likely death on the high seas, many of us would freeze like deer caught in the headlights. But Jack Dawson fought for survival every step of the way, until it became obvious that (spoiler alert!) he had to sacrifice his life so someone else could live.
Part of me finds it a bit unrealistic when characters in books or film behave with such heroic pluck in the face of almost certain death. But it’s inspiring, too. Based on past experience, I know that raw courage is probably not my default setting in difficult circumstances, but it’s certainly the way I would like to act.
Even if this particular eclipse cycle doesn’t trigger a critical point in your personal birth chart, you don’t have to look far to see a lot uncertainty and worry in the world. The degree of the August 21, 2017 Solar Eclipse, visible across the United States, is conjoined the fixed star Regulus, the star of kings; solar eclipses here auger ill for those in power. This degree is also conjoined the Ascendant and Mars of our current President, and that has a lot of people talking.
We don’t really need eclipses or Saturn transits or Mars retrograde to tell us that life will periodically throw us personal and societal challenges—loss, uncertainty, illness, grief. It’s normal to fear these things. But as it’s often said, courage isn’t the absence of fear, but rather the refusal to let fear defeat you. When we see potentially difficult transits, the repeat of a troublesome eclipse cycle, or a painful secondary progressed aspect in our future, it’s natural to want to “let this cup pass away from us.” And it’s okay to be afraid—but we can’t let fear stop us in our tracks while the ship is sinking.
Previous eclipses near the August 21, 2017 Solar Eclipse degree at 28.53 Leo include Feb. 21, 2008 (lunar, 1.52 Virgo), Feb. 16, 1999 (solar, 27.08 Aquarius) and Aug. 22, 1998 (28.58 Leo).
© 2016, 2017 April Elliott Kent