Promise or Peril?
by Julie Gillentine
"The wise man
looks not at the finger, but at the Moon to which it points."
John Milton, Paradise Lost
On December 4, 2002,
at the New Moon, a total eclipse of the Sun will occur. Totality
of the solar eclipse will be visible in Africa, except the northern
portion, occurring at 7 AM GMT.
Eclipses have fascinated
and frightened humanity since ancient times. Astronomer priests
of antiquity tracked these dramatic sky events, searching for meaning
and gleaning portents. Ancient history tells how eclipses ended
battles and signified the birth of kings or saviors. Historical
records of eclipses date to around 800 BCE (Before Current Era).
A large stone from Nineveh is displayed in the British Museum which
enumerates a lineage of kings and the eclipses which occurred during
Although the Sun
is nearly four hundred times the size of the Moon it is almost that
many times as far from Earth, so from our viewing perspective the
Sun and Moon appear to be the same size. The Earth and Moon are
tilted on their axes, so eclipses happen when the horizontal alignment
of Sun, Moon and Earth is exact enough to cast a shadow on the Sun
There are two kinds
of eclipses, solar (eclipse of the Sun), and lunar (eclipse of the
Moon), and they range from partial to total. During a solar eclipse
a portion, or the complete solar orb as viewed from Earth, is temporarily
blacked out. Because of the dramatic size difference of the Sun,
Moon and Earth our perception of a solar eclipse is based on our
location on earth. Due to shifting orientation, a total eclipse
of the Sun may be visible only once in three hundred years from
the same place on Earth.
Because the Moon's
orbit is more elliptical than circular, when the Moon is farther
away its distance prevents it from completely eclipsing the sun.
An annular eclipse of the Sun occurs when the Moon's shadow does
not quite cover the entire solar disc. During an annular eclipse
a halo of sunlight surrounds the darkened Moon. Annular eclipses
occur about as often as total solar eclipses, and each year one
annular and one solar eclipse usually happens somewhere on Earth.
New Moons and
The phase of the
Moon called the New Moon cannot be seen from Earth because the Moon
is between the Earth and Sun and the lighted side of the Moon is
pointed away from us. The New Moon rises and sets with the Sun because
from our perspective they occupy the same place in the sky.
During a solar eclipse,
the darkness which temporarily conceals the light of the Sun is
the Moon, passing between the Earth and Sun. The Moon creates a
shadow which falls on Earth, and we experience this as an eclipse
of the Sun. A solar eclipse is only visible in the daytime (when
we see the Sun), and can occur only when the Sun and Moon appear
to be in the same place in the sky, or in conjunction.
The Moon's shadow
has two parts. The Penumbra is a faint outer shadow. Partial eclipses
are seen within this shadow. The Umbra is the dark inner shadow
and total eclipses of the Sun are seen inside this shadow. The track
of the Moon's shadow across Earth's surface is called the Path of
Totality and defines the parameters where a total eclipse can be
and Lunar Eclipses
When the Moon is
on the opposite side of the sky from the Sun, with the Earth in
between, the Moon is said to be Full, or opposed to the Sun. The
Full Moon fully reflects the Sun's light and is a brilliant, silvery
orb in the night sky. The Full Moon rises in the east at sunset,
is visible all night long, and sets in the west before sunrise.
A lunar eclipse,
or eclipse of the Moon, can only occur at a Full Moon and is visible
only at night. When the Sun, Earth and Moon are aligned in space
in a straight line, with the Earth in the middle, sunlight traveling
toward the surface of the Moon is blocked. During a Lunar eclipse
the black circle which moves across the surface of the Moon is actually
Earth's shadow, being cast upon the Moon.
Unlike a solar eclipse
everyone on the night side of the Earth can see an eclipse of the
Moon because Earth's shadow is so much larger than the shadow of
the Moon. During a partial Lunar eclipse, only a portion of the
Moon passes through the Earth's umbral shadow. During a total lunar
eclipse the Earth blocks all direct sunlight from the Moon as the
entire Moon moves through the umbral shadow of the Earth. As the
Moon is eclipsed it appears a coppery-red color, and during a total
lunar eclipse the Moon displays a vibrant range of colors during
Because of the
alignment of Sun, Moon and Earth, eclipses are new or full moons
with extraordinary alignment or focus. Therefore, extraordinary
insight is available. Eclipses can also be viewed as keys to the
lunar cycle of the year. It's possible to grasp the archetypal and
symbolic energies of the Sun, Moon, Earth alignment, sustaining
focus for spiritual work for the whole year.
Eclipses of the
Sun (New Moons) represent vision into the nature of our life and
offer insight into our personal world view. Solar eclipses occur
in the daytime, so our ordinary perception of day-to-day reality
is impacted. Our waking consciousness has access to what is generally
hidden within the realm of the dark of night, and we see stars in
the middle of the day. The experience of a solar eclipse is the
emergence of memory or subconscious knowledge, overtaking the sense
of the present. The light of the self-conscious mind is temporarily
overshadowed by subconsciousness and what is normally hidden from
view becomes uppermost.
Astrologer R. C
Jansky states, "During the period of totality (of the solar eclipse)
darkness falls and the electrical character of the Earth's near
cosmic field is drastically altered. Birds fly about excitedly,
night creatures come out of their dens, predators howl, roosters
crow, diurnal animals go to sleep and flowers close their blossoms."
Certainly a total solar eclipse must affect the biomagnetic systems
of humans too.
Because lunar eclipses
are visible at night subconsciousness and the dream state are activated.
The darkness of night, which has been illuminated by the Full Moon,
becomes completely darkened by the Earth's shadow. Too much focus
on the concerns of Earth can prevent the full reflection of our
spiritual light. Eclipses of the Moon (Full Moons) represent a waking
experience in the dream of our life. We can perceive where we have
placed too much emphasis on worldly things. The energies of a lunar
eclipse might represent dominance or conquest of materialism over
instinct and memory as the Earth obstructs the Sun's reflection.
Viewed another way this represents the conscious mind overcoming
instinct or habitual behavior.
R. C. Jansky reports
"It has been shown that at the time of the Full Moon, and especially
during a lunar eclipse, the surface tension of all fluids is increased
(the molecular cohesive forces at the surface of any fluid). " Since
our bodies are mostly fluid, we can surmise that there must be some
corresponding physiological response in our bodily system.
the sign in which an eclipse occurred in terms of its potential
affect on the whole Earth and believed the effect of a solar eclipse
lasted as many years as the eclipse lasted in hours, and the effect
of a lunar eclipse lasted as many months as the eclipse lasted in
hours. Ptolemy then looked at which star or planet the eclipsed
occurred closest to and described this heavenly body as the ruler
of the eclipse. He also took the time of year into account. If an
eclipse happened near the Spring Equinox, then the potential germination
of seed might be impacted. If the eclipse occurred near the Autumn
Equinox the yield of the harvest was considered.
- Moment of Truth
At Totality of
a solar eclipse the air takes on a mysterious quality, and the sky
becomes a strange twilight as complete, and temporary darkness falls,
and stars become visible in the heavens. The bright orb of the Sun
is replaced by the black disk of the Moon, and the Sun's normally
invisible corona spreads out around the black Moon as a translucent
halo. Totality can last for as long as seven and a half minutes.
The average time is four to five minutes, but the memory lasts a
The December 4,
2002 total solar eclipse occurs in the sign of Sagittarius at 11
degrees 58 minutes of the tropical zodiac. Sagittarius is the sign
of truth and the higher mind, offering a chance to take higher ground.
The fixed star which occupies this degree of celestial latitude,
and is the ruler of the eclipse, is the beta star of Draco, the
Dragon, named Rastaban, "the head of the Dragon." The nature of
this powerful, yellow star brings the mystical serpent power into
the head. This is an influence of illumination. The Dragon is also
the ancient symbol of China so we might expect that country to play
a prominent role in unfolding events.
The planets which
align with the eclipse (Sun and Moon), are Pluto and Mercury, forming
a stellium in Sagittarius, bringing hidden things to light. This
focuses considerable power on issues of communication, hidden agendas
and the use of force. Anti-war sentiment may increase, becoming
more strident. In August an Earth Summit was held in South Africa,
and the US was called on the global carpet for environmental negligence.
Since the path of Totality happens in Africa, that may be where
revelations or further accusations originate. The eclipse occurs
before the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere, offering
the potential to begin a new cycle with the awareness the alignment
If the chart of
the December eclipse is overlaid on the accepted birth chart of
the US the eclipse falls in the twelfth house of the US chart, in
conjunction with America's ascendant at 12 Sag 28, further highlighting
hidden matters. Previously held secrets may come out of the closet,
and American citizens may see truth unveiled about power-related
issues. Power might be interpreted as oil interests.
This eclipse could
bring an awakening experience from behind the scenes which will
break forth from the collective consciousness of America, changing
our world view, and expressing in a new and transformed manner in
America's personality. What have we forgotten as a nation about
our ideals and who we are in the world?
collectively we can consciously accept a new stage of experience
in readiness for the opportunity the eclipse will present. I find
this promising, but it may feel uncomfortable. As we each own our
personal hidden agendas and misuses of power, we create the space
for healing the collective. Americans may have to accept increased
accountability for certain attitudes and behavior. As we pass any
threshold, leading to a new realm of experience, we can choose to
meet certain requirements and adjustments willingly or perhaps face
a more difficult awakening.