Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Look Skyward: Eclipses, Eclipses, Eclipses

22 July 2009 total solar eclipse.  Image Source: World Culture Pictorial.

June and July bring three eclipses, spaced two weeks apart.  The first is a partial solar eclipse, visible in the Arctic regions, on June 1; the second will be a total lunar eclipse, visible in Africa and India, on June 15; the third is a partial solar eclipse, visible in the Antarctic regions, on July 1.  A short comment from National Geographic reminds us: "Watching an eclipse, even a partial one, is an opportunity to witness the ongoing cycles of our solar system, Telus's Dyer said. ... 'Though we can predict eclipse with astonishing accuracy, they are created by forces far beyond our control,' he said. 'Eclipses remind us of our place in the universe.'" But because these events inspire such awe, superstitions are never far away. They seem to mark moments when the clockwork of the heavens, which can be rationally measured by bodies like NASA, overlap with our sense of the larger meaning of that clockwork (however defined). Hence, there is an eclipse in Homer's Odyssey: "The sun has perished out of heaven, and an evil mist has overspread the world."

Incidentally, astronomers have calculated the one noon-time full solar eclipse in the time when and region where Homer might have written his epic poem - April 16, 1178 BCE. However, the actual time when Homer lived is disputed, and is set either as the 12th or 8th century BCE. The debate over when Homer lived and who he was is called the 'Homeric Question.' There are no reliable sources from antiquity to confirm the life of Homer as an individual, and the Iliad and Odyssey are dated differently (8th century BCE) than their author is.

4 May 2004 Lunar Eclipse in Prague © Astronomy by Frank.

At any rate, astrologers are making a very big deal about this month.  Janet Kane at Janet's Planets reflects:
Eclipses appear often in the mythology of different cultures most often as symbols of obliteration, fear, and the overthrow of the natural order of things. Eclipses were the great omens of fated, large-scale events. The word eclipse comes from a Greek word meaning "abandonment." Quite literally, an eclipse was seen as the Sun abandoning the earth.

Every six months, eclipses show the turning points in our lives. They indicate what we are to accomplish for the following year to 3 years. They bring in news and events that are sometimes "out of the blue". Time seems to speed up. In a positive sense, eclipses can clear what may obscure the way forward. Remember that the key words for eclipses are emphasis and crisis. Eclipses are contrary to the status quo. If impacted by one of these eclipses, your life will not run on the same track it has been on. But that can be a good thing.
Susan Miller concurs, and believes we will all face massive changes in our lives: "eclipses are the most dramatic tool the universe uses to create vast change. We'd never make those shifts ourselves."  She's spending the whole month giving us eclipse updates.  Plus she has a page devoted to eclipses, where she says that eclipses, "always bring a twist that you won't expect."

2009 Partial solar eclipse as seen from Manila Bay in the Philippines. Image Source: National Geographic.

The blogger at Adventures in Astrology proclaims, "The eclipses are coming! The eclipses are coming!" and insists that eclipses pull the veils from our eyes, forcing us to see the truth in things: "Astrologers usually talk about how shadow and light are 'revealed' in an eclipse and how this symbolizes revelations in our lives as well--revelations that can cause big deal changes." Elsa P., astrologer at Astro Dispatch, declares: "Doors must open. ... Have a back-up. Know when to give up. Or when to click over to the other thing. The summer 2011 eclipses may close doors and open new passageways previously unimaginable."

Solar eclipse of 1 August 2008, at the Jiayuguan Fort on the Great Wall of China. Image Source: Telegraph/Reuters. 

Cornelia Jones at Horoscopes Within asserts that the changes apparently brought by eclipses, and even their associated omens, are all secondary to the fact that eclipses mark the turn of time. They mark the points at which time bears fruit, so to speak. Jones believes this particular 2011 eclipse cycle is characterized by the theme, 'holding the powerful accountable':
The Babylonians were the first to discover that eclipses belong to a larger pattern with a beginning, middle and end. Each eclipse belongs to a series of eclipses and each series has its own unique characteristics. The characteristics of an eclipse are repeated approximately every 18 years 9 -11 days with some minor variations; however the eclipse will have moved approximately 10 degrees through the zodiac. This long term pattern is called the Saros Cycle. ...

At any given time there may be several dozen different series of this cycle in effect and each Saros Cycle will take well over a thousand years to complete.

The ancients believed an eclipse to have irrefutable consequences if it touched a key planet in a persons birth chart. The ancients could often predict an eclipse, however they did not know what caused them. They were feared and viewed as omens due to the appearance of a dark shadow consuming the light of the moon. The reddish color of the moon during a lunar eclipse put fear in their hearts believing that the moon was being eaten or consumed. Though the ancients did not understand what modern science has discovered about the causes of an eclipse, they did know that an eclipse could change the course of history for an individual, or a nation.

Astrologically, eclipses have been viewed as wild cards in a person’s horoscope. ...

A solar eclipse signifies a fresh start which can also bring about radical change, like a new chapter beginning in your life. The effects of a solar eclipse are shown in the outward expression of our circumstances and can present us with very exciting and joyous developments. What develops due to a solar eclipse will be visible to you and others in your life. On the other hand, if a solar eclipse afflicts planets in your birth chart, the message of the eclipse could present a challenge that must be overcome before something new develops.

A lunar eclipse occurs at the time of the full moon when the sun and moon are in opposition to one another. The sun and moon are at the point of maximum stress and represent the culmination of events or the end of a matter. Lunar eclipses often influence relationships because of the polarity between the sun and moon. A lunar eclipse becomes a catalyst from which dramatic change occurs based on what has already been experienced in your life. A lunar eclipse often brings with it a sense of finality, or unavoidable conditions to the area of your chart that it touches.
There you have it. According to the astrologers, the wheel is turning. For those who prefer a more sober outlook, the NASA page on eclipses is here.

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