An Eclipse (“the act of seizing or holding”), or occultation, is formed when the Sun/Surya or Moon/Candra is obstructed from view by a certain set of circumstances involving the Earth, Sun, and Moon.
The Nodes, in Vedic astrology described as demons, are the ones responsible for the eclipse. Rather than planets with shape or mass, the Nodes are simply the places where the orbit of the Moon intersects with the “orbit” of the Sun. The point formed after the Moon has traveled from South to North is called the Ascending Node, or North Node.
More commonly known in many cultures as the Dragon’s Head, in India, Rāhu (North Node) was found in the Puranas as the demon who caused eclipses. It is a disembodied serpent’s head that devours and never digests, so that the appetite is insatiable. In the birth chart, Rāhu is said to have the qualities of Saturn. They are both material, disciplined and calculating.
More commonly known in many cultures as the Dragon’s Tail, in India, Ketu (South Node) is the serpent’s tail, or disembodied entity from the head down. There is heart but no head, so it is inspirational and artistic, but also wasteful, since it is part of the body where the waste material goes. Ketu, originally a comet, or mass of smoke, became identified with the tail. In the birth chart, Ketu is said to have the qualities of Mars. They are both action oriented, but also can obliterate and become potentially violent. Because the Nodes were thought to form eclipses, which rob the heavens of the Sun and Moon, they are considered in India to be the demons or malevolent forces. They rule foreigners, the unconventional, the technical, drugs, excess, and that which is most tempting and dangerous. This is because they were uninvited guests and they intruded.
In western astrology, the Nodes are considered to be points of evolution. The South Node is where we are comfortable, or according to some, where our past life has been and therefore we stay at that comfort level. The North Node is the place we are compelled to move towards in order to evolve and be the best we can be. Ultimately we must balance the two points, that is, the signs and houses.
The Nodes are called shadow planets since they are always lurking in the background, and when you have an eclipse suddenly things that were hidden come out in the open. In keeping with that symbolism, during eclipse season secrets frequently come to light, and things get revealed, forcing us to deal with and transform them, or be destroyed—literally sink or swim. In addition to the Nodes connecting with Sun and Moon to form an eclipse, planets conjoining eclipses make a difference, and give the eclipse an added intensity as well as the house that the Eclipse falls in.
The story of how the Nodes and eclipses were formed is called the Churning of the Ocean, and the most common form of the story is from the Mahābhārata perfectly describing the symbolism of the Nodes and Eclipses.
What is a Lunar Eclipse?
A lunar eclipse can only occur at Full Moon (Sun opposite Moon), when the Earth comes between the Sun and the Moon blocking the Sun’s rays from reaching all or part of the Moon. The Earth passes through some portion of its shadow blocking some or all of the Sun’s rays from reaching the Moon. That shadow is actually composed of two cone-shaped components, one nested inside the other. The outer or penumbral shadow is a zone where the Earth blocks part but not all of the Sun’s rays from reaching the Moon. In contrast, the inner or umbral shadow is a region where the Earth blocks all direct sunlight from reaching the Moon.
What is a Solar Eclipse?
A Solar Eclipse can only occur on the New Moon (Sun Moon conjunction) when the Moon comes between the Sun and the Earth. If the Moon’s shadow falls upon Earth’s surface at that time, part or all of the Sun’s disk is covered or ‘eclipsed’ by the Moon. When the Moon’s umbral or inner shadow strikes Earth we see a total eclipse. If the Moon’s penumbral, or out shadow, strikes Earth, we see a partial eclipse of the Sun from that region. Partial eclipses are dangerous to look at because the un-eclipsed part of the Sun is still very bright.
The symbolism of an eclipse like anything else in observational astrology is that the physical reflects the symbolic. The sky goes dark and the moon is blocked which is the only light. When you have an eclipse something is blocked from view that you are used to seeing, and this startled ancient peoples, and made them think they were seeing an omen of a major event. They often saw eclipses as heralding the births and deaths of rulers, when battles are formed, a declaration of war, or any period of intensity or physical phenomenon like earthquakes or floods.
There is nothing in classical literature that ties the eclipses to the natal chart. But if we understand the symbolism and different events that have concurred with eclipses we can get a good idea what can happen when they connect with our charts.
It is advised to do some type of soothing ritual during an eclipse, especially if it affects a planet or point in your chart. Stay centered, and maybe even go on a retreat. Ancients did not want you to look at eclipses, now we are doing the opposite. So if you do wish to see the eclipse, take time for prayer, meditation, and just centering and being silent. The intensity will be great.
Eclipses create energy and intensity and when eclipses occur within a week or two of planetary stations, especially malevolent retrogrades, often cataclysmic, momentous events (earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, meteorological changes, violence, plane crashes, political comings and goings, terrorist attacks, etc.) occur with the world taking notice. Although these types of occurrences are commonplace, those that take place around an eclipse and planetary station often have universal impact and reverberate around the world. One reason could be the juxtaposition of these two phenomena—retrograde stations (when a planet slows down and moves closer to the earth) and eclipses (which take place on a Full Moon or New Moon, and interferes with the path of the Moon or Sun).
What does the eclipse bring to our personal lives?
Anything that occurs globally that has great power and influence is certain to affect us. If the degrees of the eclipses concur with a point or planet in our charts, then it will cause occurrences as if we were experiencing an outer planet transit. But even if we do not have anything on personal points or planets, the eclipses will always fall in a house in our chart. It is important to see the area of your chart where the nodes and eclipses fall and if they hit a planet or personal point in your chart (especially when it is combined with a retrograde) it will activate that point, bringing things to light that the planet or point represents, sometimes positively and sometimes negatively, but be prepared for something to be activated. Remember, the Indian scriptures advise to stay focused, meditate, retreat from the maelstrom of the eclipse, and reflect so that you will have strength through whatever the eclipses bring.
Below are some definitions of the houses:
Western (Tropical) Houses: 1. personality, body, appearance; 2. finances, possessions, values; 3. communication, siblings, short journeys, learning; 4. Family, Mother, Home; 5. children, recreation, entertainment; 6. Health, service, pets; 7. marriage, contracts, partnership; 8. business transactions, sexuality, life and death matters; 9. Higher education, travel abroad, publishing, law; 10. profession, status, father; 11. gains, friendships, hopes, dreams; 12. compassion, spirituality, limitations, solitude.
Yannanda, The One Who Speaks With The Stars