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Eclipses in Action

by April Elliott Kent This week’s Solar Eclipse at 2.37 Sagittarius falls less than one degree from my natal Ascendant. Eclipses tend to get feisty when they fall close to a critical point in your birth chart. No point is more critical than the Ascendant. It basically represents a collection of coping mechanisms you’ve honed over years of experience to help you deal with a threatening world.

The Ascendant and Descendant are, of course, important relationship points in the chart. When an eclipse falls close to one of these angles, it’s common to find yourself getting into or out of an important relationship. This was certainly true for me when I was younger. An eclipse close to my Ascendant in 1984 brought a bad relationship to a critical point so that it could finally end. In 1993, an eclipse opposed my Ascendant nine days before a good relationship reached a critical point, and I got married.

The common denominator of these eclipse/Ascendant events is that relationships changed. And yes, the astrology of eclipses is about change – but change can be joyful and welcome as well as tragic and miserable. And not all eclipses in aspect to the Ascendant bring such dramatic changes. You have to have a dramatic ascendant to begin with (mine kind of is, squared by Uranus, Pluto, and the Lunar Nodes). And honestly, you have to be at a developmental stage in your life when dramatic events are more likely. One’s twenties and thirties are pretty much a long-running soap opera.

Since my marriage, eclipses near my ascendant degree have not been nearly so dramatic. In recent years, they’ve emphasized changes in my environment, also first house territory, rather than relationships. In 2002, an eclipse to this point brought a dreadful home renovation experience to a close;  and a 2003 eclipse at this point heralded a firestorm that caused us to flee our home for a week, unsure whether we’d have a home to come back to.

This week’s eclipse? Short of a sudden firestorm (always a possibility in San Diego in autumn) or a contractor felling a tree onto the roof of our house (we do have epic bad contractor karma, after all), things have been pretty quiet. We did, however, take a whirlwind trip to New Zealand a couple of weeks ago.  It was an enjoyable trip and uneventful – except for one thing.

Other than about fifteen minutes of crushing my husband’s hand as we took off from Los Angeles, this trip marked the first time since 1993 that I’ve flown without anxiety.

Again, there’s still time for this eclipse to bring more dramatic events than this. But trust me: flying without fear is a huge development in my life. Huge. When I was young, I adored flying. Being on an airplane, looking down at the clouds, was about the happiest I ever felt. Then I got married, and the next thing I knew, I was terribly afraid to fly.

Ironically, I had married a man whose native land and family are a 12-hour plane ride from California. Avoiding flying altogether was never going to be an option. So after 18 years of white-knuckle flights, flying without anxiety feels like I’ve been released from jail.

As I said before, the Ascendant represents a collection of coping mechanisms. I made a lot of changes in my life between 1989 and 1993 – found a new vocation, went into business for myself, moved to a new city, got married. The years that followed were a long, bumpy ride that included many moves, deaths in the family, career ups and downs, buying and renovating a house. My Ascendant went into protective overdrive, I think, trying to slow me down so that  my feelings catch up with all of that action.

For awhile now, life has been calm. No one in the family has died lately. My marriage remains close and happy. We’ve lived in the same house for 14 years. We have good health and a little money in the bank, and what passes for careers in this uncertain age. There aren’t nearly as many dark clouds of pain and fear floating through my subconscious as there used to be. It’s one of those rare moments in life when things are just kind of humming along and there are no fires to put out.

It’s been a long, eventful march toward middle age, but this eclipse’s message to my hypervigilant Ascendant seems to be, “At ease, soldier.”

Eclipses mark change. Sometimes, change – even when you’ve chosen it – feels like something that happens to you. A hurtful relationship, a good marriage, bad contractors, a bad fire; they feel so arbitrary, stories that could just as credibly have had completely different endings. Other changes, such as deaths in the family or serious illness, are something that happens to you; these are, of course, the changes we fear most when we anticipate eclipses.

But sometimes, change is a release; we let go of the bad lover, the fear of a good man, the dream of the perfect home, the unease over letting a pilot take control of our well-being. Sometimes it’s just the quiet acceptance, at last and if only for a moment, of normalcy – sinking comfortably into quiet rhythms, with a fond, final glance at the battlefield behind you.

© 2011 April Elliott Kent. All rights reserved.

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