2009 is unusual astrologically in that there will be five, rather than the usual four, eclipses this year. Three of these will be lunar events. Given that lunar eclipses always occur during a Full Moon; and solar eclipses, at the New Moon, we could say that overall, 2009 looks as though it will be characterised by the ending of old ways, rather than the beginning of new cycles.


This theme is also echoed in other key astrological events  – the recent ingress of Pluto into the sign of Capricorn, signalling a time of major reform to power structures of all kinds, including large corporations and the banking system; and a slow-moving opposition aspect between Saturn and Uranus, symbolically bringing to our attention the current tensions in society between the tendency to cling to the safety of tradition and convention, on the one hand, vs. the desire for innovation and reform, on the other.

The polarity between old vs. new was so brilliantly played out on the world stage during the US Elections, which occurred on the very day that this opposition was in exact alignment in the sky. The conservative Republicans, traditionalists and protectors of the establishment, were represented by the oldest presidential candidate in history, John McCain (Saturn) whilst the youthful and dashing Democratic candidate, Barack Obama, talked continually of the need for change (Uranus.) If Barack’s election victory, and the stars are anything to go by, then it would seem that the overall theme for humanity right now is one of transformation and change for the better.

All around us are signs that the time has come to put an end to selfish ways of living. No longer is it acceptable to pursue individual goals at the expense of the communities in which we live. Individuals are being asked to make more responsible choices that not only enrich themselves but also benefit the environment and empower humanity as a whole. Corporations are being asked to consider the welfare of both their employees and the environment before their bottom-line – something that would have been unheard of only 20 years ago during the ‘Greed is Good’ culture of the 1980s…These themes are also inherent in the Leo-Aquarius zodiacal axis that will be so active throughout the year. The first and last eclipses of 2009 occur in these signs, so it is worth bearing this in mind both in January and August, as well as casting your mind back to events that happened during August 2008 to see if there is any thematic connection.


The January-February 2009 eclipse series kicks off with an annular solar eclipse in Aquarius on the 26th, and is followed by a lunar eclipse in Leo, on the 9th of February. Just prior to the solar eclipse, both the Moon and the Sun will make a conjunction with Jupiter, the Great Benefic, which will either mitigate any negative consequences that arise during the period of the eclipse, or serve to amplify the energy of the eclipse. On the day of the solar eclipse, a stellium of planets in Capricorn and Aquarius will be constellating around the Sun and Moon, adding extra power to the sign and house in which the event takes place. Mars and Mercury, both in the sign of Capricorn, will be within a 10 degree orb of Jupiter, who will in turn, be separated by only 2 degrees from the Sun and Moon on the 26th. Nearby, and also in the sign of Aquarius, will be Neptune and Chiron – both slightly ahead of the eclipse, at 20 and 23 degrees.

Sun in Detriment

In traditional astrology, the Sun, as the natural ruler of Leo, is in it’s detriment in the opposite zodiac sign of Aquarius – the constellation in which the solar eclipse is taking place. At the time of the eclipse, the dark New Moon will also be blocking out the Sun’s light, so metaphorically-speaking, the eclipse may represent an inflated ego being brought back to Moon through a well-intentioned lightning bolt of reality. With a stellium of planets flanking the eclipse in Capricorn and Aquarius, Saturnine energy (Saturn co-rules Capricorn and Aquarius in ancient astrology) will be strong right now, emphasising cool restraint and objectivity over passionate enthusiasm and child-like exuberance. Saturn rules duty and personal honour, two qualities that are now being emphasised by the stellium and the eclipse. The modern ruler of Aquarius, Uranus, is symbolised by the slogan of the French Revolution, “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity”. It is no coincidence that the planet Uranus was discovered at the time of this important historical event.

Although Mars and Mercury will not be in strict technical orb of a conjunction with the eclipse, both the luminaries will have made contact with them prior to the event – the Moon, on around the 24th of January and the Sun, with Mars, around the 21st of December and again, a month later, on the 21st of January.

NOT with a BANG, but a WHIMPER…

This means that, in the days leading up to the eclipse, the Moon, which moves faster in the sky, will have made a conjunction with Mars, then Mercury and finally Jupiter before its makes its mysterium coniunctionis with the Sun at the time of the solar eclipse. In horary astrology, the Moon is said to carry the light of whatever planet it has recently made contact with, taking it to the next planet it encounters. In this case, the Moon is bringing the light of Jupiter to the Sun, before extinguishing its own light (darkness of the new Moon) and then blotting out that of the Sun itself during the eclipse. The words of TS Eliot’s poem, The Hollow Men spring to mind here – “This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper.” The Moon starts out very strongly with a lot of positive energy from Jupiter. However, it then seems unable to sustain this energy and burns itself out as it becomes darker and darker, entering the shadow of the Sun and simultaneously, blotting out the light of the Sun. The eclipse, in contrast to the brightness of the encounters with Jupiter, appear hollow and dark – mere shadows of what had just occurred:

Once again, quoting Eliot:

“Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow”

Eliot’s poem strangely echoes the energy of this eclipse – a sort of extinguishing of light and energy into something cold, formless and dark – a time of shadows… Interestingly, neither the Sun nor the Moon at the time of the eclipse is making any aspect to other planets, making the event almost like a void Moon. And, as we know from horary astrology, void Moons are not good times to start new things. In fact, the only aspect that the Sun and Moon make after the eclipse is a very weak semi-sextile angle to Venus and Uranus, and this only reaches exactitude the next day – the 27th of January. This slightly irritating angle is likely to bring about mild feelings of confusion and restlessness or slightly erratic behaviour, surprises and reversals in creative pursuits or in relation to money or love.

On a purely mundane level, it may indicate unexpected or unwanted emotional scenes occurring at social events, such as perhaps running into an ex at a party. It can also indicate the possibility of someone making improper suggestions about investments or relationships, or perhaps someone conveying information or showing off about an artwork, object of beauty or talent in a manner that smacks of poor taste or lack of tact.

Bernadette Brady says that this eclipse series is considered gentle overall and suggests that, as a result, individuals can have faith that whatever arises will be in their best interests and so a “go with the flow” attitude is probably the best way to handle events at this time.

Given this decidedly uneventful eclipse, I suggest that people take time out to think about any changes they would like to make to their lives that involves contributing to society, or has humanitarian overtones since these are themes that will be highlighted at this time. Areas that might be brought into focus include: inventions that help a cause, new sustainable or green technology, gaining membership of a group or society, friendships, the internet, scientific endeavours.


During the lunar eclipse on the 9th, the Sun will only be making one other angle  – a quincunx (150 degree) or inconjunct aspect to Saturn in Virgo, which is currently in opposition to Uranus. This aspect calls for the readjustment of personal priorities and the need to reassess old structures in your life to see if they still provide healthy systems through which you can go about expressing yourself or attaining personal goals, or whether they have become outdated and now hold you back or cramp your style. If change or reform is required, make sure you attend to the details before acting – otherwise you may have to come back and fine tune again at a later stage, or possibly face criticism for not being thorough enough to check the small print.

The eclipsed Moon is equally inactive and mirrors the angles of the Sun. Instead of making a quincunx to Saturn, it makes one to Uranus – the other half of the Saturn-Uranus opposition. This angle calls for emotional readjustment, possibly due to receiving a mild shock of some kind, or as a result of receiving new information which changes how you perceive someone or a particular personal circumstance.

According to Brady, this eclipse pair forms part of what she calls the 11 North Saros Series. This eclipse family is associated with the switching of group affiliations, possibly as a result of travel or a change of heart brought about by encounters with new ideas. A break with old structures is considered to be a positive thing, in the interests of growth and is likely produce positive outcomes. She also hints at the possibility of sudden realisations that lead to greater commitments within relationships, so you could witness a turnaround in those people who have been holding back from taking the plunge up till now. Elopements, sudden engagements, or friends suddenly announcing a pregnancy or decision to move in together are all likely between now and the 9th of March…

Astronomically, the solar eclipse will be visible over southern Africa, south-eastern India, Australia and Antarctica. It is due to pass directly through the Sundra Straits between Sumatra and Java and right through the path of the volcanic island of Krakataua. Given the recent research which links lunar activity with volcanic eruptions, hopefully this eclipse is not a bad omen signalling another cataclysm. A minor eruption occurred here in April 2008 and since then, scientists monitoring the area have warned people not to go within 3km of it…

According to Bernadette Brady, this eclipses belong to the 11 North and 11 South Saros series, which began in 1900. This eclipse ‘family’ is characterised by the departure of individuals from a familiar group or affiliation, either through a decision to travel or because of a change in ideology or viewpoint. One wonders if in the UK, this will translate into certain politicians defecting to a rival party, or whether we’ll see any more bank bosses resigning as a result of cosmic goings-on. Brady suggests that this move will produce positive outcomes for all concerned.

Overall, she characterises this eclipse as ‘gentle’ and advises that individuals trust that whatever they decide to do will have a positive outcome. The 11 North series is also associated with sudden decisions to make relationship commitments, so marriage proposals could be on the cards for some…

Previous eclipses in this series during the 20th and 21st centuries occurred in: 1901, 1919, 1937, 1955, 1973, and 1992.

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