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Eclipses: Defending Your Life

by April Elliott Kent

defending Albert Brooks’ gently amusing film Defending Your Life presents a vision of the afterlife in which the newly deceased are sent to Judgment City, a sort of cosmic Ellis Island. Here, each spends four days in court viewing days from his or her life, defending the choices and decisions made on earth and examining his progress in overcoming his fears. Someone who led a fairly fearful life might examine events from as many as twelve or fifteen days, while the relatively fearless might only look at a few days. A defense lawyer helps the deceased “defend” their choices, while a prosecuting attorney points out their most serious miscalculations. Finally, two judges rule whether they “move on” or return to earth to try to get a better handle on their fears.

Brooks, as we soon see through the filmed excerpts from his life, didn’t do a great job of mastering his fears in life. His troubles continue in Judgment City, where he falls in love with the radiant and fearless Meryl Streep but limits his involvement with her out of fear he’s not good enough for her. Not even his own death was enough to persuade Brooks to live his (after)life to the fullest!

One way of thinking about eclipses in astrology is to imagine an afterlife in which you will be asked to defend your life based on how you handled the most fearful planet or aspect in your chart. A tortured Sun? A debilitated Mars? How did you handle the challenges related to this planet and its stressful configurations? Imagine viewing scenes from five days of your life: The days on which, at 19-year intervals, solar eclipses conjoined that planet in your natal chart. You were at a turning point in your development, struggling to overcome one of your darkest fears. What events defined these turning points, and how did you cope with them? How effectively did you handle your fear?

Eclipses, like those scenes in Brooks’ imagined afterlife, throw particular challenges in our charts into bold relief through crisis. Eclipses closely conjoined, opposed, or square your most stressed natal planet or aspect can bring dramatic events — the death of someone close to you, an illness, a job change or relocation, a great romance, a divorce. These eclipse moments seem to take place in a dream state of suspended animation; when we regain consciousness, the entire landscape of our life has changed.

Look to the fast-moving planets in your chart, particularly the Sun and Moon, in difficult aspect to the outer slow ones (Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto) to find your most sensitive planetary combination. Something like a square between the Moon and Saturn in your birth chart will likely bring tougher eclipse seasons than a nice Venus/Jupiter trine.

Unless an eclipse triggers this kind of highly charged aspect in your natal chart, or one of the angles, you’re likely to experience it as a subtle or psychological influence. About every nine and a half years, a solar or lunar eclipse will conjoin or oppose this spot, and each time you navigate this pivotal eclipse “season” you have another opportunity to face your fear.

Not all eclipses are associated with unhappy events. Many bring joyous ones, such as a marriage or the birth of a child. In some ways, happy eclipse events are tougher than tragic ones, because we don’t expect to be frightened or disoriented by them and receive little support from others for our feelings (“For heaven’s sake, can’t you even enjoy it when something good happens to you?”). But the energy of eclipses is crisis, a crossroads, a turning point. Choosing something good for your life — a partner, a child, a high-powered career — can mean closing the door on something else (life as a single person, total freedom, relative lack of responsibility). It’s normal to mourn loss, even loss that’s necessary to clear your path to joy.

Fears are nothing to be ashamed of; we all have them. But when you think of how many of our harmful and limiting choices are motivated by our fears, it’s clear that we have to make peace with them in order to “move on” to a fuller and happier life. Observing the cycle of eclipses awakening our fears every nine years or so helps us identify these moments of truth when they come our way, and even perhaps to prepare to do battle with them when they appear on our astrological horizon.

At the end of his film, Albert Brooks’ character is condemned to return to earth while the woman he loves is allowed to “move on” to the next level of evolution. It’s a defining moment, calling for desperate action. In the face of separation from his great love, Brooks musters the courage he lacked in life (and, until now, in death): He escapes from the tram taking him back to earth and jumps onto his lover’s speeding tram, suffering electric shock as he dangles from the moving vehicle, unable to get inside.

Elsewhere, his judges and attorneys observe his desperate attempt to escape his destiny and be reunited with the woman he loves. Brooks’ defense attorney turns to the judges and asks softly, “Brave enough for you?” The judges smile and intone to some unseen force, “Let him go.” The door of the tram opens and Brooks slips inside, next to the woman he loves, hurtling alongside her toward the great unknown.

© 2001 – 2024 by April Elliott Kent. All rights reserved.

What will this year’s eclipses mean for you? Order my exclusive natal eclipse report, “Followed by a Moonshadow” – a guide to your personal eclipse patterns. Only $35 for a three-year report!

7 comments to " Eclipses: Defending Your Life "

  • Pamela.

    Hi April:
    Sounds like a great movie! I have your Moonshadow report, the solar eclipse is squaring Pluto in my chart! I’m treading lightly these days if it’s anything like this summer when it hit Mars, this could be another doozy. 🙂
    In the meantime, planning for Thanksgiving. Hope you have a nice Holiday!

  • Tina

    Great writing! Thank you. Question: what is the flavor or impact when this New Moon/Eclipse falls directly on my natal Pluto? (20* Virgo, in my 2nd house; nothing in my opposite Pisces house). Thanks so much. Happy Eclipse!

  • I remember that movie! Loved it. Oy, this eclipse exactly opposes my Sun and squares my Saturn. The Virgo eclipse in Sept 2007 happened just 10 days before my mom died. Sigh. Various other transits going on that time, though. Well, we’ll see what this one brings.

  • Natori

    It’s normal to mourn loss, even loss that’s necessary to clear your path to joy.

    Good reminder, April–thank you.

  • Ana

    What is the orb for the conjunction to a natal planet, April?
    Thanks, Ana

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