Eclipses 101: Astrological symbology, interpretation & predictive forecasting

“During an eclipse an astronomical situation arises where the Sun and Moon “meet’, “equalize” or “combine” to create a different kind of astrological influence as experienced from Earth.”

Adam Gainsburg

New Moon and Solar Eclipse

At the culmination of a New Moon, the Sun and Moon form a conjunction-meaning they position at the exact same degree of a zodiac sign. This marks the beginning of the new lunar cycle. Astrologers use the Synodic Lunation cycle – New Moon to next New Moon, which calculates at 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, 2.8 seconds.

At their conjunction the night sky is dark, and with the absence of the Moon’s luminosity this is considered a highly potent time for renewal. This dark phase has come to symbolize a magical time of beginnings, when one can recharge intentions and goals, or set new ones. Since the solar eclipse can only ever happen on a New Moon, it fortifies the astrological potency of this new beginning.

Total Solar Eclipse

A solar eclipse heralds a new energetic cycle in of itself with the potential to harness immense power for great change and transformation here on Earth. And since the dawning of time its sudden shadowing effect has arrested our human attention, captured our imaginations, and acted as a portent for things to come. Historically, they became  harbingers of catastrophe, with astrologers using their predictive forecasting skills to prepare for the incoming energy. Part of the reason for this is that this phenomenon can only take place in proximity to one of the Moon’s Nodes – either North or South – bringing an additional energy into an otherwise normal New Moon.

Illustration of Ancient Peruvians Worshipping the Eclipse
Eclipses as Harbingers

Since the Moon and Sun are at the exact same position during a Solar eclipse the location of the eclipse is easily identified by its zodiacal longitude. The zodiacal degree opposite the eclipse is then said to be weakened by polarity.

Wherever the shadow (umbra) touches Earth and the eclipse is visibly seen, this locale is directly affected by the eclipse energy. Where the total eclipse culminates (directly beneath the path of the umbra) becomes the focus of the world’s attention.

Line of totality for the Great American Eclipse, August 21st 2017

Historically astrologers have used various methods to calculate how long the effects will last for any eclipse. One method is to calculate the number of minutes of the duration of totality for a solar eclipse in order to predict the number of years of effects:

1 min/60 seconds = 1 year/ 12 months

“An eclipse creates a disruption to life’s regularity, and injects something foreign and mysterious or seemingly out of synch. Normal reality being overtaken by the unexpected , by the past , plus one arena of life being outshone by another.”

Adam Gainsburg

Full Moon and Lunar Eclipses

On the Full Moon, Sun and Moon are at opposition (180 degrees of separation) and this represents the midway point and the culmination of the lunar cycle, symbolizing illumination and a time of reckoning. This is because the polarity of the Sun and Moon brings heightened tension, and so balance is sought between the two extremes. The lunar eclipse fortifies the astrological potency of the Full Moon and the location of the eclipse is identified by the Moon’s zodiacal longitude.

Stages of a Lunar Eclipse

The Number of hours duration of a lunar eclipse is used to calculate how many months its effects may be felt on Earth:

1 hour/ 60 mins = 1 month/ approx. 30 days

The Moon moves fastest at the time of New Moons and Full Moons.

Daily speed of the Moon: 11° 30’ to 15° 15’

Sun & Moon Symbology

“I’m not alive if I cannot participate with my environment. If I can’t breath in the air I die. I have to engage with life. Life has to be in flow, has to engage. Otherwise, it cannot exist. It can be created by the sun, but it can’t function and it will die without the moon’s participation.”

Bernadette Brady


The natural balance of Sun and Moon

The Sun is regarded as the most powerful luminary in our solar system around which all the planets orbit. It generates life on this planet through the luminosity and radiance of solar generated light and heat. This giant bright star is the light body of the day, who’s energy is described as masculine, yang and therein represents our consciousness. The Sun is the ruler of the zodiac sign Leo – the mighty lion. The Sun in the natal chart represents the Self -one’s way of being in the world encompassing the ego, the higher Self and soul purpose. In myth the Sun takes on the hero archetype and is our path to individuation.

Yin and Yang

In a nativity the Sun’s position is so important that it’s zodiacal sign is used for generating horoscopes. The natal Sun specific to a zodiac sign in any nativity whether that be a person, country, or event, takes on the attributes of that signs characteristics and radiates those qualities. This conscious conductive energy is the core theme at birth and onward in the life for that person/place/event.

The Sun : Rulership in Leo ~ Exaltation in Aries ~ Detriment in Aquarius ~ Fall in Libra.

The Moon is Earth’s satellite companion whose gravitational pull affects the ocean tides, and creates the flow of life on this planet.  As the Sun moves below the horizon the Moon reflects the Suns light deeming it the luminary of night. Energetically it has come to represent the feminine, yin and the unconscious realm. As the ruler of the zodiac sign of Cancer- the Crab, the Moon represents our personal needs, our basic habits and reactions, our instincts, feelings, and imagination. The nature of its zodiacal sign reveals how we protect ourselves, as well as make ourselves feel secure, comfortable, and safe. It is the second most important planet in any nativity. This is because in spite of the huge difference in their actual calculated physical size- from Earth they look to be the same size and spend equal time up in the heavens casting their illumination from up above.

The Moon : Rulership in Cancer ~ Exaltation in Taurus ~ Detriment in Capricorn ~ Fall in Scorpio.

The Lunar Nodes ~ The Axis of Life Purpose

“Together, the nodes frame or bookend our personal development with a tremendous ‘structural integrity’ or persistence of cellular memory.”

Adam Gainsburg


The Moon’s Nodes are not planets. They are points in space indicating the intersection of two orbits. The lunar nodes are determined by the points where the moon’s orbit crosses the ecliptic—the apparent path the Sun makes around the Earth, because in reality, the Earth is revolving around the Sun…but from our vantage point on Earth, it appears that the Sun is moving. The Moons lunar nodes across every skywatching culture throughout antiquity came to signify our relationship to the cosmic principle of change – the equal and opposite principle of yin and yang.

Lunar nodes are either calculated as “True” or “Mean.” True is the ‘ exact’ position of the Nodes at any given time, while Mean is the presumed position based on the average speed. The Mean Node is always retrograde, whilst the True Node may occasionally be direct, as if it’s wobbling. That’s because the True Node takes the gyroscopic relationship of the Sun/Moon into account.


Astrologers use the lunar nodes to determine where your destiny lies -north node, and karmic theme of past lifetimes -south node.  People born within the same lunar node group sense the familiarity of a “soul tribe” and so souls incarnated with the same zodiacal lunar nodes could be said to incarnate in batches to learn the same lessons. The Nodes are polarized, magnetized and move for the most part backward through the zodiac signs changing sign approximately every 18 months.

It is apparent through the texts and writing from ancient Mesopotamia and India that the earliest astrologers were able to calculate the lunar nodes and used the symbolism of the dragon as well as a light eating monster in reference to the nodes proximity during eclipses and how the light of the world is temporarily swallowed up during the eclipse alignment. In Vedic astrology the nodes are differentiated as the head -Rahu, and tail -Ketu of the dragon. In this ancient tradition astrologers take a harsher view of the south node’s karma -considered malefic, with Rahu being comparable to Saturn, as Ketu is to Mars. Astrologers today may reject the idea of a node being malefic and view them essentially as karmic signatures…in other words the karmic adjustment the soul must make in this life relative to ones past.

Dragon eating its tail

The South Node reveals gifts or natural abilities  brought in from past lives. It is a spot of familiarity and a comfort zone. There’s a sense of ‘been there done that’ every time ones goes back to that mode, however the best way to reap its rewards is to use this as a springboard, or take off point for journeying to the polarized landing spot of the North Node. From an evolutionary perspective the South Node involves release, leaving behind and expressing our karmic/ genetic identity.

The Dragon and the Sun

Since the North Node falls in the exact opposite position in the zodiac from the South Node, its sign describes the arena and attributes of a new destiny for this lifetime. It is through the learning curve of developing these traits that activates the souls life mission. A person feels more spiritually satisfied aligned with the North Node and more driven with life purpose than continuing in the arena of the South Node. From an evolutionary perspective the North Node absorbs, receives, and embodies our current identity in process.

“During eclipses, the dependability and integrity of the nodal axial vortex is interrupted. This results in a kind of portal or new opening for other information to enter and exit, which is normally inaccessible. This will fundamentally challenge or significantly liberate our normal sense of ourselves and our life purpose. Our attachments to limiting belief, things, and people come sharply into focus.”

Adam Gainsburg

Eclipses and astrological prediction


“An eclipse is a position of power.”

Christine Arens

The ancient Babylonians and Assyrians determined that the Moon like the Sun was masculine. This was because the Moon as ruler of the night was seen as equally important as the Sun, and as pointed out before -through the human eye from our perspective on Earth they look the same size, along with the fact that they share equal time above and below the horizon. It is only in relatively ‘modern’ times that the Moon was attributed with feminine qualities. It is of consequence too that with the development of Jungian psychology, influenced by Greek archetypes and myths, alongside scientific research it was discovered that 90 % of the brain works subconsciously/unconsciously, while only 10% of our minds activity is conscious. This again highlights the importance of the primal-lunar side of our nature, now considered feminine.

Sun and Moon

From an astrological perspective solar eclipses are thought to be more favorable to women, this is because in astrological terms the Moon representing women (in general) blocks the light of the Sun- representing men (in general). It is said that the Moon overcomes or overpowers the Sun. Lunar eclipses are determined as more favorable for men, since the Earth blocks (or ‘bends’) the Sun’s light to the moon, thereby the Sun overpowers the Moon.

Sun and Moon opposition

Great attention was always given to total, annular and hybrid eclipses. The brilliant astrologer, astronomer and mathematician Ptolemy focused on visible eclipses but not necessarily on the line of totality. Traditional astrologers didn’t regard an eclipse as simply a transit but saw it as an unfolding process. They based their calculations on how long it takes from the moment the sun begins to be eclipsed until it ceases to be eclipsed completely. The total duration of eclipses is 2 hours + and so;

2 hours was equal to 2 years/ 24 months of effects.

According to Ptolemy’s theory where the eclipse takes place in the heavens – east, mid or west is important because it tells us how long it will take before the effects begin and when those effects intensify.  If the eclipse was in the eastern third of the heavens, Ptolemy said that the effects will begin in one to four months, and within those effects, the first third of the effects will be more intense. Now, if the eclipse happens in the middle of the heavens, the effects won’t begin until five to eight months from now. Within that period of the effects, the middle third will be the most intense. Finally, if the eclipse was towards the West, in the western third of the heavens, the effects won’t begin until nine to 12 months later and within that period, however many months the effects are, it will peak in the last third of that period. Even though there might be an energetic inkling around the time of the eclipse, Ptolemy would have viewed these events as a little preview. His theory is based on this organic idea of a build up, a peak and then a decline to the energy signature of an eclipse.

Claudius Ptolemy AD 100 – c. 170

Traditionally eclipse interpretations were used mundanely by astrologers especially for politics and Kings. The sun represented the King or the leader. Also, because of the heat and light that comes from the sun, he also signified things like crops and the growth of animals. This whole symbolism of growth and expansion and then decline and death was symbolized by the eclipse and its shadowing effect. There were a few general things that they tried to predict, like the death of a king, natural disasters, problems with crops or animals, and economics.

Mesopotamian Agriculture

A more modern example of the eclipse omen – ‘The Death of a King’, was the assassination of Abraham Lincoln April 14th 1865; 4 days after a lunar eclipse and 10 days before a solar eclipse (so in midst of eclipse season). In the following eclipse season -September and October 1865, the path of totality tracked across the US over the ocean and into the continent of Africa.

Abraham Lincoln was an American politician and lawyer who served as the 16th President of the United States from March 1861 until his assassination. Lincoln led the United States through its Civil War—its bloodiest war and perhaps its greatest moral, constitutional, and political crisis. In doing so, he preserved the “Union”, paved the way to the abolition of slavery, strengthened the federal government, and modernized the economy. Thanks to Abraham Lincoln and his fight for equality, the 13th amendment which formally abolished slavery in the United States, passed the Senate on April 8, 1864, and the House on January 31, 1865 and was ratified on December 6, 1865. The solar eclipses of 1865 connected the continent of America and Africa since both received the umbras path. There were transits in play too in Abraham Lincolns natal chart at the time of his assassination, but all in all this is a striking example of how literal astrological eclipse forecasting can unfold…

The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln

In Mundane astrology a chart is interpreted by determining the Lord/Lady of the Eclipse and the Lord/Lady of the Ascendant and deciphering what that planet is doing in the eclipse chart. The most angular planets too, and if they had any harm or benefit on other planets or angles was also considered. These findings and planetary positions were transposed onto a natal chart to determine how the eclipse would affect the native. Most important too is the degree of the eclipse and what planets or aspects are in orb of this degree in the transit of a nativity. Most astrologers use a tight orb of 2 degrees or less for planets or stars aspecting an eclipse. Nowadays this is termed the ‘sensitive degree’ and depending on the duration of effects of the eclipse this is the trigger point for events just prior (generally during eclipse season or possibly before) or post, as luminaries and personal planets make their transit or aspect the sensitive degree.

As the Suns annual journey through the 12 zodiac signs draws near to the transiting nodes of the Moon then any New or Full Moon will become eclipses. This happens twice a year and each solar/lunar sequence denotes what astrologers call “eclipse season” which is about 36 days long. Generally the solar and lunar eclipses culminate on the polarity axis of the zodiac signs since they fall on the new and full moon- 2 weeks apart. For example the upcoming “Great American Eclipse” activates the Aquarius/Leo axis- the total solar eclipse in Leo preceded by the partial lunar eclipse in Aquarius. Either one activates the sign and house opposite the eclipse location, weakening it through this polarity but also weaving a pattern that builds mutual reception either to the energy of the one to follow,  or through an echoing of the one that just passed.

Eclipse season starts approx. 18/19 days before and ends 18/19 days after the solar eclipse. Astrologers will watch for any predictions that may well be triggered by the eclipse at any point during that eclipse season, when the astrological climate holds the energetic potency of the Saros theme and its own flavor created by the planetary aspects activated at the time of the eclipse.

Solar and lunar energies conjoin

Each Saros series begins as a tiny partial eclipse at one of the poles. Every 18 years a few days later another eclipse in the series occurs a little closer to the equator where they become total, and position about 10.5 degrees further along in the zodiac. An eclipse series transit through the zodiac by a leap frog motion rather than touching each degree. At any given time there are 18 to 19 Saros series active from both poles. Each Saros series has a first eclipse and astrologers cast a natal chart for this first eclipse to discover the energetic quality and character that becomes the blueprint for the rest of the series. In this way each series is unique and carries forward an energetic theme over a span of about 1296 years with 72 to 73 eclipses.


Astrologers can locate the origin chart of the lunar or solar Saros series to discover the nature of its origin that links the whole series. Traditionally for solar eclipses 4th harmonic aspects are most important ie. conjunctions and oppositions and for some astrologers -also squares. In regards to the Lunar eclipse the focus is given to 3rd harmonic aspects – the conjunctions and trines, although the opposition can be considered too by some astrologers.

An astrological chart of the solar or lunar eclipse at a specific location reveals the planetary positions and aspects, plus which node of the moon the eclipse will align with. Astrologers will use this information to determine the positive or negative short and long term affects of the eclipse and make their predictions.

A natal eclipse chart is extremely rare, perhaps only seen in 1% of individuals. This includes individuals born within 24 hours of an eclipse. They are  considered ‘karmic’ charts, and it is said that this individual has a ‘destiny’ in this life. If the person is born prior to the Eclipse New/Full Moon any planets the Moon will conjunct/major-aspect prior to the eclipsed Sun or Moon should be noted. In predictive astrology the Moon is almost always read as unfortunate in a Lunar Eclipse chart – at best ‘neutral’

“In a solar eclipse we have something very special. Because now the sun is not overwhelming the moon, or any other planet, but she is overwhelming him. So this is a very dramatic event, because the sun is the primary source of heat and light for the world. When that heat and light – which signifies growth, magnification, and development – when that is obliterated, it means that the light of the world is going out in some way.”

Benjamin Dykes

Solar Eclipse

Since the dawning of civilization eclipses have had powerful transformative effects on Earth herself, humankind and all life forms. Historically, significant earth changing events appear to have been triggered by the Moon’s gravitational pull during lunar eclipse events, and rapid temperature and geomagnetic shifts during solar eclipse events. This is why astrologers pay special attention and use their powers of prediction to prepare people for the energies to be received by the planet.

Examples of Earthquakes correlating to Lunar Eclipses

6 March 2007 – Two earthquakes struck Sumatra measuring 6.4 and 6.3. Over 60 deaths and 460 injuries. 3 days after the lunar eclipse.

21 February 2008 – 7.4 magnitude earthquake in Indonesia killed 3 people and injured 25. 19 hours before the lunar eclipse.

21 December 2010 – 7.4 magnitude earthquake in Japan, on eclipse day. The following day there was a 6.5 quake in Iran, killing 11 people.

September 16, 1978, an earthquake in Iran was the most devastating quake of that year, killing more that 25,000 people. It occurred just 3.5 hours before a total lunar eclipse was visible there.

Unlike lunar eclipses, solar eclipses do not have an obvious earthquake connection, but for those that do, the quakes can be horrific. The pair of earthquakes with the most fatalities in the last 6 years were in Haiti on January 12, 2010 and Kashmir on October 8, 2005. Both of these devastating quakes occurred within 5 days of a solar eclipse.

Examples of tidal flooding correlated to Eclipses
March 20th 2015- The Total solar eclipse (in Pisces) generated a supertide and river flooding in UK. The “tide of the century” was reported in northern France as Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy, was cut off from the mainland.
Mont St Michel – ‘The Tide of the Century”
September 28th 2015 – The Supermoon and Total lunar eclipse (in Aries) generated a supertide and flooding of the UK coastline

Eclipses are known to be the wild cards in astrology. They are powerful, dramatic, and may herald all sorts of twists, turns, challenges, opportunities, shifts and unexpected surprises. As celestial catalysts for change they bestow great illumination, with the potential to accelerate karmic evolutionary growth for the individual and collective. They provide an energetic platform for our advancement. Sometimes they bring fated events and there’s a sense something is cosmically working behind the scenes to reconfigure destiny. The shadowing and overpowering effect of one luminary over the other brings attention to our own obscured light; to the shadow world of our psyche. In many ancient cultures monsters and demons ate the luminaries and so at this stage in our human evolution we would be wise to take this omen and discern what inner and outer darkness still overpowers us and steals our light.

This article was written as an accompaniment to the previous explaining the astronomical phenomena of eclipses. In showcasing the science and astrological means of interpretation side by side I hope it has shed more light on the nature of eclipses and how important they have been as evolutionary catalysts since the dawning of humankind.

“Eclipses always test our attachments to –

Who we believe we are, what we believe we need or want,

where we believe we should be, and what we believe we should be doing”

Adam Gainsburg

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