Modern Takes on Eclipse Astrology
Unlike their babylonian predecessors, modern astrologers have begun to reinterpret eclipses, less as harbingers of disaster and more as ‘opportunities for growth and development, challenging but not doom laden,’ as Marjorie Orr puts it.[i]
That said, according to Bernadette Brady, certain eclipse families or Saros series, do seem to have affinities with difficult, sometimes even dire events. For example, Pope John Paul the II died six days before the solar eclipse of April the 8th 2005. His funeral took place on the day itself, ironically ‘eclipsing’ the wedding of Prince Charles to Camilla Parker Bowles which had to be put off until the following day. Interestingly, Prince Charles has Leo rising natally, so the Sun is the ruler of his chart, which makes the soli-lunar eclipse symbolism fit rather well. Strangely, one of the most popular pontiffs, Pope John Paul II, was also born on the day of a solar eclipse – May the 18th, 1920. If you are at all interested in the area of the papacy or the Vatican and astrology, you may wish to read my AstroInsights blog post on the resignation of Pope John Paul II’s successor, Pope Benedict.
Eclipses & the British Royal Family
When it comes to the British Royal Family, some astrologers have asserted that the fate of the Windsors seems to be very closely allied with certain eclipse events, in particular the Saros families of 1 North, 2 Old North, 11 North and 18 North. With new developments in the investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Princess Diana in 1997, coming within weeks of the birth of her grandson, Prince George of Cambridge, both sun sign Cancers, it is worth looking at how intertwined her life appears to have been with eclipses.
In his analysis of the late Princess Diana’s natal chart, Nicholas Campion points out that:
- Diana married Prince Charles two days after a solar eclipse (on July 29th 1981 – part of the 1 North Saros series).
- Their first born child, Prince William, was born on the day of a solar eclipse on the 21st of June 1982.
- Charles and Diana formally separated on the day of an eclipse (9 December 1992)
- Princess Diana died on the 31st of August 1997, one day before the solar eclipse of the 1st of September.
The Australian astrologer, Bernadette Brady also mentions that the previous eclipse in the same Saros cycle (18 North) took place on 22 August 1979 and was followed by the assassination of Lord Mountbatten, the Queen’s uncle, five days later. In her book, ‘The Eagle and the Lark’ she describes this eclipse series as indicating violent accidents. Marjorie Orr also notes that Lady Diana Spencer was born close to the solar eclipse that marked the previous episode in this very same Saros series in August of 1961, which is pretty spooky.
Another interesting point to bear in mind is that the sun is traditionally associated with royalty, rulers and leaders. Prince William was born into the 2 Old North eclipse series, which is due to end in July 2036, so some astrologers are askingwhether this date might herald the end of the British monarchy as we know it. Both Brady and Orr have suggested that this may be the case, with Marjorie Orr writing, ‘This cycle, called 2 Old North, is due to end in 2036, hinting that he may be the last monarch in the present dynasty and will outlive his royal position.’[ii] There has been a steady decline in interest and support for the monarchy in Britain so it will be interesting to see if this turns out to be the case. However, looking a little closer, this particular series has relationships as a major theme. Brady suggests that it revolves around friendships or relationships and that eclipses in this family may mark periods of ‘separation’ or the ‘ending of a union’ which could suggest problems in his marriage, rather than with the monarchy itself. However, there is a silver lining: ‘Although the picture may look glum as the eclipse takes effect, the actual results are quite positive.’[iii] Provided swift action is taken, things can be happily resolved. So perhaps just a bump in the marital road then?
The relationship between the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge has so far managed to avoid any obvious ties with any recent eclipses – until they decided to have a baby, which had to be announced prematurely within days of the lunar eclipse of 28 November 2012 because of Kate’s severe morning sickness. Kate Middleton was herself born on the day of a lunar eclipse, the 9th of January 1982. This particular eclipse family is part of the 1 South series, which began in August 1729 and is said to concern ‘ideas and their enthusiastic expression.’[iv] Since then, we have only experienced one other eclipse in this series in the year 2000 and won’t be due another until 2018. In the interim, if you’d like to read more about astrology and the royal couple then, why not visit my blog: http://wp.me/p3d6Dk-5Z .
Nelson Mandela & the 2 Old North Eclipse Series
Coincidentally, Nobel Peace Prize winner, Nelson Mandela, a Sun Sign Cancer like Prince William, was also sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island during an eclipse in this same Saros series in 1964. According to Marjorie Orr, his life seems strangely connected to eclipses – his inauguration as President of South Africa in May 1994 fell on the day of a Taurus solar eclipse (14 South saros series) and his release from prison happened two days after a lunar eclipse in Leo, sign of the leader…[v]
Eclipses & Royal Natal Luminaries
It is interesting that nearly all the people we have been discussing have one of the luminaries strongly positioned in their natal charts, including Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, who has the Moon in Cancer. As well as Prince William and Prince George, Princess Diana was also a sun sign Cancer which is ruled by the Moon…. Regarding Diana’s separation from Charles, who has Leo rising, which occurred on a lunar eclipse, one could speculate that she was ‘eclipsed’ out of Charles’ life by his love for another woman – Camilla. Interestingly, Camilla, born on the 17th of July 1947, is also a sun sign Cancer!
This should come as no surprise, given that eclipses only ever involve the Sun and Moon, so most astrologers would expect their lives to be strongly affected by aspects to, or planetary events involving, those strong or ruling natal planets in a horoscope. Although we tend to think mainly of Leo as the zodiac sign associated with kings, rulers and those in prominent social positions because of its solar connections, we also need to remember that the Sun reaches its highest point of declination in the northern hemisphere at the summer solstice, which is marked by the ingress of the Sun into Cancer in the western tropical zodiac. In this sense, although the Sun is in a lunar zodiac sign, it is also at its height in the sense of spending the longest amount of time above the horizon, which is how it comes to mark the longest day. Cancer is also a cardinal sign, so also associated with rulership.
In tarot terms, we might associate this with the Queen of Cups, and of course, the late Princess Diana (a sun Cancer) came to be known as the ‘Queen of Hearts.’ In ancient Egypt, this was associated with the heliacal rising of Sirius, the star of Isis, who represented the royal consort to Osiris and mother goddess to Horus, so perhaps a good way to look at this energy is as that of the Queen, Empress or Divine Feminine – the sacred spouse or heavenly counterpart to the king, pharaoh or Divine Masculine, who through marriage, is elevated from her role as royal consort (Venus) to that of Queen Mother (Moon). The fact that the Sun and Moon are known as ‘luminaries’ – the two lights – and that they were once considered to be the head of the diurnal and nocturnal sects, suggests that the association of the Sun and Moon with the archetypal royal couple runs very deep within the astrological tradition.
Of course, it is worth stating that in the West, lunar eclipses and the moon have come to be associated with the feminine archetype and with emotions and irrational events. However, this is not universally the case – in ancient Mesopotamia, the Moon god, Sin was male. Elsewhere I have mentioned the mythic links that Joseph Campbell has made with masculine symbols, especially cults around male fertility and bulls (with their lunar horns), which does provide food for thought. The Moon, after all, is exalted in the sign of the Bull – Taurus.
[i] Marjorie Orr. The Astrological History of the World. London: Vega, p. 247
[ii] Orr, The Astrological Hist, of the World, p. 252
[iii] Bernadette Brady, The Predictive Astrology – The Eagle and the Lark, USA: Samuel Weiser, 1999, p. 309
[iv] Brady, Eagle & Lark, p. 308
[v] Orr, The Astrological Hist, of the World, p. 252