Discover what the eclipses of 2017 mean for you

written by Ed Tamplin

Moon illustration watercolour drawing

Credit: Getty Images

There is no more awe-inspiring event in nature than the majesty of a total solar eclipse. In those brief enchanting minutes, the natural becomes the supernatural. Day shifts to night, the temperature dramatically drops and stars magically glow in a rapidly darkened sky. The ancients marvelled at this miracle of the Sun being swallowed in the heavens. Its mystery and appeal are timeless.

Some are calling 2017 the year of the great American eclipse. On August 21 at 18.30 UT (Universal Time), a total solar eclipse will move right across the US, from west to east. It will attract as much publicity as the great eclipse of August 1999, which it is related to. Earlier in the year, on February 26 at 14.58 UT, an annular solar eclipse, when the Moon moves across the Sun yet the rim of the solar disk is still visible, will cross the southern tips of South America and move into central Africa.

Historically, the recording of eclipses is a cross-cultural phenomenon. They were feared not only by the ordinary people but by kings and emperors too. The triple alignment of the two celestial lights, the Sun and Moon, with the plane of the earth was deemed a harbinger of potent change. In Babylon, the stargazing capital of the arcane world, a commoner was appointed king prior to an eclipse. But the honour was short lived, with both the individual and his title sacrificed to appease the celestial gods and protect the king.

Astrologers who failed to predict an eclipse could expect a similar fate. Such is recorded in the annals of Chinese astronomers, who kept meticulous records dating back to 2400BCE. The Sun represented the emperor and the earliest Chinese word for an eclipse was shih, meaning to eat or consume. The Sun being devoured by Rahu, the famed dragon’s head of Hindu mythology, or the Sun Dogs of Viking and Korean legends, are part of cultural eclipse traditions.

A change to the order

Eclipses upset the natural order. They interrupt the regularity of the two most important hands on the celestial clock. In earlier times, the Sun and Moon determined the annual calendar of hunting and harvest, both of which were essential for early survival. This disturbance to the cycle was, not surprisingly, interpreted as a heavenly sign of change or displeasure. Any change to the established order was the last thing a power-obsessed ruler would want. More recently, in Australia, folklore became fact with eclipses literally eclipsing leaders.

Eclipses have long been known to change the political order.

A solar eclipse appeared the day before the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott was deposed on September 14, 2015. Australia’s third longest-serving Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser, died on the morning of the previous solar eclipse of March 20 that same year. Fraser’s great adversary, Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, passed away three days before the prior solar eclipse of October 24, 2014. Eclipses have long been known to change the political order.

England’s foremost royal historian, William of Malmesbury, wrote on the death of Henry I: “The elements manifested their sorrow at this great man’s departure from England. For the Sun on that day at the sixth hour shrouded his glorious face, in hideous darkness, agitating the hearts of men by an eclipse; and on the sixth day of the week early in the morning there was so great an earthquake that the ground appeared absolutely to sink down.” The legendary eclipse of Henry’s passing plunged England into a civil war of 19 years, equating to one full eclipse cycle.

But no greater change of order came to any empire than that witnessed over Constantinople on May 22, 1453. This was the evening of a lunar eclipse, where the shadow of the earth cloaks the Moon. The city was under siege. Legend had it that the Byzantine Empire would eventually fall to an eclipse — and so it was. The Ottomans took Constantinople seven days later, ending an empire that had endured for more than a thousand years.

Eclipses and royalty

To the ancients, eclipse visibility was considered a vital factor in its power. This is evident in RC Thompson’s translations of The Reports of the Magicians and Astrologers of Nineveh and Babylon, written on tablets which are stored in the British Museum. He writes, “The great gods wherein the king dwells have obscured the heavens and will not show the eclipse; so let the king know that this eclipse is not directed against the king, my lord or his country. Let the king rejoice.”

Some eclipses were actually beneficial. Thompson writes of an eclipse occurring with Jupiter, which would grant the king great honour and further exalt his status. Astrologically, Jupiter is recognised as the royal planet of good fortune. The kingmaker planet Jupiter helped the British astrologer Charles Harvey successfully predict the birth time of Prince William for around 9pm on June 21, 1982. William was born at 9.03pm, as Jupiter reached the top of the skies on the day of a solar eclipse.

The Columbus eclipse

Eclipses have also coincided with saving lives. Christopher Columbus, credited with opening the gateway of trade to the New World of the Americas, owes his life to one. It happened when Columbus was forced to beach his ships in Jamaica in February 1504. As he and his crew awaited rescue, they lived off the generosity and food supply of the indigenous people.

Some of the sailors mutinied and stole from the natives, who then cut off the food in retribution. Fearing starvation and with supplies exhausted, Columbus had a brainwave. He called a meeting with the tribal chief and announced that the gods were extremely angry at this shabby treatment. To display displeasure, his god would darken the Moon.

Columbus, like all mariners, was conversant with the starry firmament. His planetary tables had indicated a forthcoming lunar eclipse, visible on the evening of February 29, 1504, in the Americas. Luckily, that evening was one of clear skies. As the Moon rose a darkened blood red, the frightened natives began to panic and cried to restore the lunar light.

This August 21 eclipse occurs near the fixed star Regulus, one of the four royal ancient stars of Persia. The fall of important leaders or statesmen must be factored in with this star near the eclipse.

In the hours of the eclipse, they brought offerings of food and gifts. Columbus retired to his cabin to conduct prayers of thanks and forgiveness but was actually timing the eclipse via his hourglass. Just before totality ceased he returned to inform the tribe that the lunar god had granted a pardon for their actions. The eclipse was a lifesaver: it was not until four months later that the rescue boat arrived.

In 2017, scientists, eclipse hunters and amateur astronomers will, like Columbus, head for the Americas. Location is essential for viewing the totality of a solar eclipse, which occurs in a relatively narrow path or band approximately 100 kilometres wide. Cities such as Idaho Falls, Lincoln, Nashville, Columbia and Charleston will all experience eclipse totality on August 21, 2017, with Kansas City and St Louis at the edge.

The eclipse will also be visible, although not fully, in cities as far north as New York and as far south as Las Vegas, Houston and Miami, all with around 75 per cent visibility. The locations at the centre of the August 2017 eclipse are already gearing up for a tourist invasion of sky watchers, astronomers and scientists. Not since June 8, 1918, has a total eclipse travelled all the way through America’s heartland. But, to astrologers, the eclipses of 2017 are special as they all have a meaning for humankind.

Decoding eclipse patterns

By the 6th century BCE, Chaldean astrologers had perfected a method of identifying the precise eclipse path. It involved identifying specific families of eclipses, which began at either the North or South Pole and gradually made their way toward the opposite pole as they traversed the globe in a longer 1000-plus-year cycle. Each successive eclipse in a particular family occurred 18 years, 11 days and eight hours apart, and was part of a numbered series called the Saros cycle.

Another equally important eclipse cycle was the Metonic. Here, eclipses occurred in practically the same degree of the zodiac, and therefore on the same day every 19 years. Astrologers can interpret the meaning of eclipses by using the two cyclical methods, as well as considering what planets are involved with each individual eclipse. The events of the past can also be considered as the basis of the future potential of the eclipses of 2017, with the total solar one the obvious standout.

The August 21, 2017, solar eclipse is associated with Saros series number 145. This extremely important family of eclipses started in 1639, but this family didn’t produce a total eclipse until 1927. Since then, each one has been associated with breakthroughs in aeronautics, television and satellite communications and the political division known as the Cold War.

The first total eclipse of Saros series 145 occurred on June 29, 1927. On the day, four adventurous aviators set off from New York bound for France. Americans had honoured Charles Lindbergh, the first man to cross the Atlantic in the monoplane Spirit of Saint Louis, with a New York ticker tape parade a fortnight earlier. While attempting a repeat performance, the four ran out of fuel, crashing near the French coast. Luckily, all survived.

More successfully, but also on June 29, Lester Maitland and Albert Hegenberger piloted the Bird of Paradise to Hawaii, flying all the way across the Pacific from California. On the same eclipse day, in Australia, Sir Charles Kingsford Smith and Charles Ulm completed a marathon around-Australia trip of 10 days and five hours.

Five days after that eclipse, Lockheed began mass-producing a monoplane called the Vega with a top speed of 135mph. The Vega became famous for around-the-world flights and gave birth to a new age of aviation. Something that would influence airwaves in a completely different, but equally influential, way was the first US demonstration of television, a month before the eclipse.

Tracking the eclipse

When Saros 145 reappeared on July 9, 1945, it was exactly one week before the US detonated the first atomic bomb. It was unleashed on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki within a month, via aircraft, and the world entered a new age of nuclear warfare. When the US and UK refused to share their nuclear research with their WWII ally Russia, the Cold War between the East and West began.

As Saros series 145 returned in 1963, X-15 test pilot Joe Walker became the first person to fly a plane through space, just one week before the eclipse. A week later, NASA launched Syncom 2, the world’s first geostationary satellite and the forerunner of satellite television.

The February 11 lunar eclipse will fall upon Prince Phillip’s birth Moon. As the prince and his son Prince Charles both have the Jupiter Uranus opposition in their own birth horoscopes, this eclipse will be important for both.

The next time Saros series 145 appeared, on July 31, 1981, it accompanied the largest television audience in history. Over 700 million people watched the much-anticipated royal wedding of Prince Charles to then Lady Diana Spencer, which was broadcast globally from Westminster Cathedral on July 29, 1981. This eclipse was influenced by the deceptive planet of Neptune, which would later prove prophetic as the fairytale union dissolved.

Saros series 145 accompanied some of the biggest news stories of the 20th century. Expect it to do so again in 2017.

It last appeared on August 11, 1999, producing a frenzy of eclipse watchers from the UK, right across Europe, the Middle East and into India. The 1999 Saros series 145 eclipse was widely regarded as being the one that Nostradamus was referring to when he wrote the controversial quatrain 72 in Century 10 of The Prophecies:

“The year 1999 and seven month,
From the sky will come a great King of Terror:
To bring back to life the great King of Angolmois (the Mongols),
Before after Mars to reign by good fortune”

Earlier in 1999, NATO’s aerial bombardment of Serbia had brought war to Europe for the first time since WWII. But perhaps it was a little-known event two days prior to the eclipse that holds more importance for today. Vladimir Putin was appointed the new Prime Minister of Russia and, by the end of that year, would be president.

Therefore this eclipse is important to President Putin and the fragile US-Russia relationship, especially regarding nuclear matters. The Caucus area of Europe could also be a key one to watch for political unrest. Based on past evidence, the August 2017 eclipse should present significant achievement in the field of aeronautics and space flight. Also expect technological breakthroughs affecting television and global communications.

Geographically, the August 2017 eclipse will be the first total eclipse that moves across the entire continent of the US since June 8, 1918. It will stress the importance of quickly containing any contagious outbreaks, as this was also the time that the Spanish Flu pandemic was first detected at Fort Riley in Texas. But, with cyber warfare ever present, we must look at a new kind of bug: the computer virus.

Last, this eclipse occurs near the fixed star Regulus, one of the four royal ancient stars of Persia. The fall of important leaders or statesmen must be factored in with this star near the eclipse. For Australia, it will oppose the Venus (vales) and Saturn (land) of our First Settlement horoscope, and have a downward effect on mining and property values. As this is the only total solar eclipse of the year, it holds dominance over all others.

Solar eclipse: February 26, 2017

A lesser annular eclipse will move across the southern tip of South America, across the Atlantic and end in central Africa on February 26, 2017, 14.58 UT. It is Saros series number 140 and is also connected to difficulty for leaders. US president Bill Clinton was lucky to escape impeachment at the last eclipse of Saros 140, which is not friendly to US leaders. Expect a major scandal or security threat in the first quarter.

This eclipse also arrives with Neptune and will undermine authoritarian rule and may indicate resignations or scandal. One person whose birth Sun is markedly affected is the president of Turkey, Recep Erdogan. This eclipse family is also associated with computer worms, which could become an international issue during the year. Neptune eclipses also impact water supplies, navigation routes and maritime construction.

The lunar filter

Lunar eclipses are less potent than their solar brothers yet inextricably linked to them, falling within 15 days. It’s useful to examine both for extra clues as to how events will unfold.

The lunar eclipse of February 11, 2017, at 00.42.38 UT is the first of the year. It’s unique in that it forms an extremely rare aspect pattern involving an opposition of both the Sun and Moon with an opposition of Jupiter and Uranus. All planets are joined in a formation known as a Mystic Rectangle. Only three in 10,000 horoscopes have this formation at a Full Moon.

The time of eclipses can be used to symbolically clear and cleanse stagnant areas of your own life.

The combination of Jupiter and Uranus is known to bring technological leaps and advancements, and will be prevalent throughout 2017. Expect landmark announcements from CERN (The European Organization for Nuclear Research) or NASA, which will further explain the history of the universe and the evolution of life within it.

The lunar eclipse will fall upon Prince Phillip’s birth Moon. As the prince and his son Prince Charles both have the Jupiter-Uranus opposition in their own birth horoscopes, this eclipse will be important for both. This is further verified by the fact the eclipse will fall on the birth Sun of Princess Anne.

In financial markets, the combination of Jupiter and Uranus in opposition has usually brought fast fluctuations, moving shares up rather than down within days. The prevalence of the Jupiter-Uranus opposition in the opening months of 2017 should see a flurry of investment activity.

Lunar eclipse: August 7, 2017

The lunar eclipse of August 7, 2017, at 18.11 UT places the Moon in Aquarius opposing the Leo Sun, which also lies with the warlord Mars. This eclipse has a definite connection with Melbourne’s 1987 Hoddle St shootings, which occurred on an identical Full Moon with the Leo Sun joined to Mars, a planet representing weaponry. Thankfully, Australia dealt decisively with its rising gun problem then, and all has been well since. The eclipse also occurs close to the famous eclipse of August 1999, mentioned earlier, which may confirm important changes for Russia and Vladimir Putin on or near this date.

Eclipses and you

The last word is a personal one. The time of eclipses can be used to symbolically clear and cleanse stagnant areas of your own life. New initiatives are in season, especially if you are born around February 26 or August 21. Home and relationship changes are favoured if your birthday falls on or near the February 11 or August 7 lunar eclipse. May you utilise the eclipse to powerfully refocus and turn shadows into light.

 


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Ed Tamplin