Two significant astral events are happening this week, reflecting part of the broader whirlwind of great cosmic intensity that we have been in and will be in for some time to come. First, there’s Mercury retrograde. Second, a solar eclipse.
This will be the third of Mercury’s four retrograde cycles in 2016, this one spanning from August 30 to September 22. Mercury disappeared and ended his sojourn as evening star at the retrograde station at ~9:04 AM ET on the 30th of August. On September 13, Mercury will be at inferior conjunction; after that, Mercury will move toward its morning star apparition around the time of his direct station which will occur on the Fall Equinox, Northern Hemisphere, on September 22.
Mercury will retrograde from about four degrees of sidereal Virgo back to about 21 degrees of sidereal Leo, stationing direct on September 22 near the Moon’s North Node Rahu in the September 1 solar eclipse axis, indicating that whatever changes are coming for you in this eclipse season may start to become more fully integrated by the time of the Mercury direct station.
The operative pattern for re-trograde cycles can be found among a variety of words prefixed by “re,” as in this being a time to re-consider, re-check, re-organize, re-energize, re-affirm, re-formulate, re-generate, re-define, re-negotiate, re-novate, re-discover, re-consider, re-group, etc. It is suggested that we be cautious with travel, transportation and communication systems during Mercury retrograde cycles, as various kinds of snafus tend to happen more frequently. At a deeper level, Mercury retrograde is a time when Mercury/Hermes awakens in his role as “psychopomp,” a soul guide according to ancient Greek mythology.
When retrograde, Mercury guides us into the underworld, reminding us to slow down and take time to journey within. This is a propitious period in which to do some deep body-mind-and-soul cleansing and healing, so that when Mercury goes direct, emerging as the morning star, we will be rejuvenated and full of new insights. Mercury moving back from Virgo to Leo also points to the need to pay attention to health and work matters in the coming weeks, which is also indicated by the upcoming change of seasons, which is always a sensitive time.
The second significant astrological event this week will be a solar annular “new moon eclipse” on Thursday, September 1. The eclipse will begin at 06:13 UTC; the maximum point will take place at 09:01 UTC (~5 AM ET) and the annularity will last for 3 minutes and 6 seconds. The annular solar eclipse will be visible from Madagascar and locations in Central Africa. The Moon’s shadow will also cross parts of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. For most viewers in Africa, the eclipse will be a partial solar eclipse.
Though eclipses are said to have the most dramatic effects in the geographical areas where they are visible, they also electromagnetically influence the entire world and all of us. So it is most important to remember that the best time to perform contemplative practices and set new intentions is during a solar eclipse which immensely magnifies spiritual energies!
In individual or mundane astrology, we need to see where and what an eclipse is stimulating by house, sign and planet in order to assess its impact. Generally speaking, eclipses as “shadow events” often occur around the unveiling of lies and errors through the revelation of shocking truths. I also find that there is an awful lot of adverse and inappropriate psychological projection and false accusation that takes place in the weeks around eclipses. In addition, chronic problems can seem to intensify to the acute stage and can feel suffocating. They are showing us where change is needed and possible.
An eclipse to a natal planet or chart point activates and arouses a new expression of that planet or point.The eclipsed luminaries will be at ~15 degrees sidereal Leo, conjoined Rahu at ~19 degrees sidereal Leo, all within Purva Phalguni nakshatra. A solar eclipse within three degrees in aspect to a natal planet or chart point is the most significant; in this case, the luminaries are almost five degrees from the eclipsing node, so the degrees that are most significant would be from ~12 to 22 degrees of sidereal Leo. A more general rule of thumb is that natal planets/grahas in the eclipse nakshatra will be the most powerfully affected, and the Sun, Moon, Ascendant (Lagna) and Midheaven/MC (Madhya Lagna) will carry the most weight.
The eclipsed Purva Phalguni nakshatra tends to signify new growth and regeneration. The same theme is further indicated by the presence of Rahu in the eclipse, pointing to some expansion, initiative, insights, and new beginnings,. This can bring the feeling of breakthrough (or breakdown if not handled properly). The impact may initially be difficult and indicate loss, as old paradigms break down to allow for rebirth in the weeks and months preceding and following the actual eclipse. Eclipse-day events for individuals or mundane charts are not the most typical except for those with the transiting lunar nodes in conjunction with either the Lagna, Sun or Moon, in which case the days around the eclipse can be quite stressful. Usually though, eclipses set the wider stage for new beginnings that are evolving during the last few months and during the next six months.
Eclipses come in families that are designated by their “Saros Number.” This idea came from the ancient Babylonia astrologers who observed that eclipses occur in Saros cycles or families that link together the eclipses that happen every 18.5 years. These Saros cycles evolve over cycles that last many centuries (like ten or fifteen) and there are 80 eclipses in a series. Tracking these cycles is a very specific area of astrological research. This eclipse is part of Saros 19N which is about “realism, a coming down to earth. The individual will become aware of an old situation and see it for what it is rather than what he or she thought it was. This can be a constructive time for tackling the truth” (p 335, Predictive Astrology: The Eagle and the Lark by Bernadette Brady).
The solar eclipse in Leo is in exact square with Saturn and the fixed star of war Antares, and Mars is also involved within close orb. The eclipse chart contains a stressful T-square involving Neptune-Ketu in Aquarius (and Jupiter-Mercury in the navamsa of Aquarius); Saturn-Mars (and Antares) in Scorpio; and Rahu-Sun-Moon in Leo. This aspect pattern reflects some of the internal and external pressures we have felt through most of 2016, many of which will be ongoing through next summer 2017.
The transformational Scorpio constellation is at the apex of the T-square and thus represents the area of greatest pressure release. Wherever we have Scorpio in our own natal charts, or wherever it falls in mundane charts, there we might undergo the most severe losses, problems, lessons and exponential transformations. The eclipse T-square is tightly wound, potentially aggressive, ready to explode, and may suggest some coming upheaval as in a massive breaking point, dangerous weather pattern or seismic activity. However, we have a choice as to how we respond to planetary pressures like this. The good news is that the T-square gives us the steadiness, fortitude and determination to flow with the power of grace when we choose to remain so aligned.