Let’s Talk About Eclipse Cycles
Solar and Lunar eclipses have been a feature of human psyche since time immemorial. Even before astrology was formalized into a system, eclipses were seen as omens and predictive of the future. The truth is that they were almost always seen as negative, since what happens is that one of the two major lights in the sky — either the Sun or the Moon — disappears.
It’s all about the light
Astrology is essentially about light and what can be seen. Celestial phenomena that can be seen carry external significance. Phenomena that can’t be seen (based on its cycle or some other criterion) are either impaired or more active behind the scenes. When the Sun or the Moon is “swallowed” during an eclipse, it’s always significant on some level.
Dragons in the sky
The ancients imagined that a dragon swallowed the Sun or the Moon during an eclipse. The point in the sky where the path of the Sun and the path of the Moon cross is known as the Lunar Node. Because these two paths form complete circles, there are two places that they intersect. Of the two intersections, one is the point where the Moon is crossing from below the plane of the Sun to above it. It’s moving North of the Sun, and this is the North Node. The other is the South Node, where the Moon crosses the path of the Sun heading south of it (the path).
The North Node is also known as the Dragon’s Head (Caput Draconis) and the South Node is the Dragon’s Tail (Cauda Draconis).
Total and Partial eclipses
When the New Moon occurs close to the Node (either North or South Node), an eclipse will occur. If it is within about 8 degrees along the arc of the sky, the eclipse will be total or near-total. If it happens between about 8 and 18 degrees, the eclipse will be partial.
Each year, the Sun and the Moon line up near the nodes at the new and full moons at least twice. There are typically two solar eclipses, each accompanied by a lunar eclipse approximately two weeks before or after the solar eclipse.
The transiting eclipse cycle
The eclipse cycle moves through zodiacal sign polarities at the rate of about 18 months. For example, the Lunar Eclipses (Full Moon) and Solar Eclipses (New Moon) happened for a couple of years in Gemini/Sagittarius (opposite signs), then in late 2021, they started to move into Taurus/Scorpio. This week’s eclipse is the first as the cycle moves to Aries/Libra, though there will be a few more in Taurus/Scorpio before the full shift. In late 2024, they will begin moving into Virgo/Pisces for the next year and a half.
Here we see the Sun and the Moon at the eclipse of April 20, 2023. They are both moving from Aries into Taurus (to the left in this image). The Moon moves much more quickly than the Sun, and will cross the face of it here because the two planes of their orbits come together at the Node, just 4.5 degrees away. This is a total Solar Eclipse.
What does this mean for me?
Eclipses tend to shine a huge metaphorical spotlight on whatever area of a person’s chart where they fall. So if you have Aries on the first house of your chart, this is likely to affect you in terms of health, your body, personality, and your overall self. If Aries is on your second house, it will focus a good deal of attention on your finances, etc. Look to your own chart to see where this 18ish-month cycle is likely to shake things up for you.
At the same time, you can probably anticipate some relaxation in the areas that the eclipse cycle is leaving. There’s another lunar eclipse coming up in Scorpio in a couple of weeks, and one in the Fall of this year. But then the Taurus/Scorpio axis will be left behind by eclipses for about 18 years.
Often an eclipse triggers some challenging changes. Sometimes the changes can actually be super positive. But there will always be some change.