May Eclipse

Solar Eclipse In Gemini 2012

Annular Solar Eclipse @ 00 degrees Gemini 21'
May 20, 2012
4:47 PM Pacific
7:47 PM Eastern

I've really struggled writing this article, in fact, I've gone through about three different versions. This eclipse feels really significant--it's not the most powerful eclipse, based on the rules, but it is quite interesting and unique. I found myself, in previous versions of this article, attempting to articulate the whole "2012" transition we're about to embark upon, because this Eclipse connects us to the Transit of Venus event (in June), which I believe, was a major factor in the Mayan calender prediction. I've since realized that I don't know anything about 2012, or the Mayan calender. Sure I've read some books, articles, listened to lectures, and all that--but I don't really understand it. I've never taken to a serious study of the subject--and while I've spent many hours contemplating the whole thing, and have had some "mystical" revelations about it at various points in my life--I can't say that I really feel confident in explaining what it's all about. Every time I started writing, my process led me into making some kind of conclusion about it all--and I've realized that I can't, I don't think anyone can. That's a major theme to this eclipse--it's this complete disintegration of our ideas, beliefs, and delusions about what we 'think' reality really is--and a simultaneous expansion and awakening of entirely new realities and possibilities.

I guess here I go again, coming to some, maybe a part of 2012 is just what I said. We're entering an era where it actually becomes less certain about what we know. In our current modern paradigm, we're led to believe that science and technology has led us to this pinnacle of knowledge and awareness--but actually, in many ways, it's entirely the opposite. It would take an entire book to elaborate on that statement, so I won't. In the mainstream New Age, we're led to believe that were embarking upon the "Ascension" of the planet--bathing us all in this sort of abstract notion of love and light. I don't know, I guess if that's what you want to believe, and it works for you, then there it is. In the mainstream "consensus" ideology (if you can classify it as an ideology), we're told it's the "end of the world", and la de da--that whole doomsday apocalypse thing again. And then we succumb to this sort redundant comparison of it all to Y2K, and then most people sort of shrug it off as some crazy media hype, or just another way for people to sell some books, produce sub-literate films, and make lots of money--which, in way, is partly true. Still, for me, there's something really significant about it, something really, actually, quite profound--and it's pretty damn elusive.

The truth is, nobody knows what 2012 really is, because it's mostly an experience, not really an ideological construct. I think Terence McKenna was probebly the closest in getting some idea actually. Apparently, using the Chinese lunar calender (I-Ching), McKenna concluded that 2012 was a significant marker in time, or rather, that it somehow symbolized the end of history, and in a way, time itself--prior to even knowing anything about the Mayan Calender end date. As someone who studies and practices astrology, it's a bit hard not to take notice, we're witnessing some of the most profound astrological configurations in recorded history. So is it the end of the world, the end of time, or the Ascension of the planet? I suppose, in a way, it's all of those things--and it's all a matter of perception. I don't really believe the masses are going to become enlightened, whatever enlightenment is. I see, well, the opposite--I see the world, like McKenna said, slipping deeper into "novelty", and so for me, that's likely a deeper sleep than has already taken place--as we become increasingly more saturated with the distractions of technology. For the general populace, it is unfortunately, a seemingly ugly prospect and future in many ways--there's nothing really too spiritual about it. These are challenging times, and no amount of love and light is going to change it. I have to ask the question though. Who are we to change it? Really? What if all the woes and sorrows of the world were merely apart of the process, a process that's actually, working in our favor. From our limited and narrow perception, we can't see the bigger picture--we just see the shadows. We have also lost our faith in the universe, in the concept of a higher power--since we're surrounded by so many examples, historically, and currently, of the corruption of authority and power on so many levels.

In Buddhism we learn that "all is impermanent, all is without a self". What that means is that, whatever we attach ourselves to, will eventually get taken away. This is a world of impermanence. Everything around us is dying. Now, for some, that might sound depressing--so love and light is a more appealing prospect. Upon deeper inspection, actually, it's quite liberating. It liberates us from our attachments to the impermanent. In really understanding this concept, we are freed from the "wheel of suffering", we escape the confines of the illusion of life and death--and thus, the inevitability of sorrow. When we look at pain and suffering, we see only the illusion, but we don't see the bigger picture--that really, for whatever reason, it's apart of the divine unfolding--it's actually a step in the process of reaching enlightenment. From this perspective, we can see that whatever is falling apart, decaying, and dying, is simply in the process of moving toward a more authentic state of being. In other words, the universe is taking care of it. In all ancient mythologies, there's this notion of descending into the underworld, and returning on the other side renewed.

Many of these myths often involved a goddess, such as Ishtar or Innana--which are all references to Venus. This process was also transposed upon the Solar cycle, such as at the Winter Solstice, when the Sun disappears for three days in the extreme northern latitudes. When Venus reaches an inferior conjunction with the Sun, which occurs during the Transit of Venus this summer, she also disappears for three days. This process was symbolized as a death and resurrection--not really on a literal level, but more so in an archetypal, and even psychological way. What it symbolized, as Joseph Campbell often described, was the "shattering". It was this realization that in order for one to reach their true authentic state, and thus, truly become enlightened and experience the bliss of all existence, they had to be "torn apart"-- broken open. All the external decor has to be stripped away, completely. This process, the opening the psyche, the softening the ego, is also mirrored in the classical shamanic mythos--of the shaman entering the underworld, and becoming dismembered.

There's this deeply ingrained human desire to create the perfect utopia on earth--it was, obviously, the root of the "American Dream"--but, the American dream, like all delusions, must some day be shattered, torn apart, to reveal the true heart of the matter--the truth of existence. For me, 2012 is sort of like that--it's a collective shattering--which, you could say, leads us eventually to bliss. We can't create a utopia here on earth, it doesn't exist, and even if it did--it wouldn't last. All is impermanent, all is without a self. The ideals we aspire to aren't really in this dimension, they're somewhere else, and solidifying them is not really what being here is all about. We're here to become apart of the unfolding, apart of the process. We're here to get torn open--and any pain we experience is our resistance to the truth--the truth that nothing is real, and everything is an illusion. So if 2012 signifies anything, it is, for me, a collective ego death of sorts--which could be beautiful and ugly, depending on where you stand. So there it is, I have succumb once more to making a conclusion of 2012--I suppose that's my mind's inability to accept the unknowable--at least a collective ego death still makes things concrete and definable.

Photograph by Aaron Favila/AP Photo

So, after that digression, let's take a look at the horoscope of the Eclipse. The eclipse falls at 00 degrees of Gemini, conjoined the central star of the Pleiades, Alcyone. There are actually two New Moons in Gemini this year, another in June, at 28 degrees, the day before the Summer Solstice. With Venus Retrograde, and the Transit of Venus in Gemini, there's a lot of emphasis on Gemini here.  The Gemini archetype essential deals with information gathering, and governs all forms of communication either verbally or written. Gemini is the acquisition of facts, details, ideas, and knowledge--usually without much attachment to the end result--making Gemini inherently inductive and subjective. Mercury, the ruler of Gemini, is the construct of the "monkey mind". This is the aspect of our consciousness whose job is to to make sure everything is in place, that the system is running smoothly, and to let us know otherwise. When given too much command, this monkey mind keeps us constantly on high alert--and we're taken out of the moment, and into a cyclic and seemingly endless mental loop--which has us constantly fixated on whatever stimulus is within our immediate environment, so that it can acquire more information about it, which essentially lets us know that things are all and good, and there's no threat to survival.

Gemini primarily governs the concerns of the everyday environment, and its rulerships include: books, teaching, public speaking, writing, analysis, research, primary education, intellect, learning, literature, mechanics, mathematics, studying, translating--essentially anything that can help make rational and logical conclusions about the world and the environment itself. We can anticipate all these themes to be prominent at this moment, and especially as we enter the beginning of Summer. This is a south nodal eclipse, which means that it occurs near the South Node of the moon, roughly 5 degrees away. There's a difference between a North Nodal, and a South Nodal eclipse--one deals more with accumulation (North), and the other deals with emptying and releasing (South). In Gemini, what this essentially means, is that we are receiving a collective transformation of past mental constructs, ideas, knowledge, information, and all that Gemini inherently is. Don't be surprised to find yourself redefining what you know about the world, and letting go of what no longer fits right, or what's been keeping you from seeing things clearly. We felt this similar impulse with the Pisces New Moon back in March--and this Eclipse signals a major shift, challenge, and transmutation of those issues we were introduced to then.

The Solar Eclipse forms a T-square formation with Neptune in Pisces, and the North Node in Sagittarius conjunct Juno in Scorpio. This is a time to really challenge our perceptions, to essentially shatter various delusions, and to get really clear about which direction we're taking, or where we're essentially heading. Eclipses bring about powerful changes and transformations--mostly for those of us who are personally effected by it in our natal chart--or also, if you happen to be a Gemini Sun sign, you're likely feeling it deeply on some level--I know I am. Jupiter and Mercury in Taurus are also widely conjunct the Eclipse. This Eclipse has a lot to do with letting go of limiting perceptions about what's really possible in our lives, allowing ourselves to become more flexible and open to new horizons--to expand our awareness of what we're able to do. On a collective level, this Eclipse has the potential to be extremely creative, inspirational, and rather spiritually liberating. On the negative end, the more resistance one has to "the way things are", or the "way they see it", the more darker shadow material will get revealed, creating more confusion, and possibly intense paranoia--feeling hopeless and directionless.

The best advice: embrace the mutable nature of Gemini--which is inquisitive and open to new ideas, concepts, and information. Again, on the collective level, look out for misleading information, propaganda, and delusional ideologies fermented with a spiritual overtone. There's a powerful possibility of getting swept up by various causes and movements which are really directionless and lack perspicacity. Passion is generally a good thing--it brings greater depth and meaning to our lives. When one allows passion to take control, especially misguided passion--one misses the forest for the trees, and inherently lacks the bigger picture. When it comes to this Eclipse, think before acting, speaking, and coming to solid conclusions about the way things are--there might be more to this whole thing than we initially assume. That's a critical understanding for the world right now, because of so much political and economic tension in the air--which is only going to increase this Summer all the way through 2017 with the Uranus/Pluto square getting ready to explode (June 24th).

This is a time for "revolution"--but as I always say, the real revolution starts with the individual, and a powerful process of de-conditioning ourselves from what isn't real. There's no better time than this Eclipse to receive powerful insights and new ideas about how to go about that--so, remain open and mutable--the Gemini way! These signatures, also, unfortunately, foreshadow a lot of collective delusion in regards to this "revolutionary" spirit. It's not that people aren't justified for wanting change, it's just that, well--it's really hard to see whose running the show right now. In other words, trying to get clear about "the man behind the curtain", is a bit like playing with Russian dolls--there's just endless layers leading to more dead ends. Just when we think we've found the answer, that is, the "root" of the problem, there's just another layer, hiding in the blind spot. But, with that said, people will do what they need to do. In fact, if there's one thing I've learned about life in my mere 26 years or so of living, it's this: We don't get what we want, we get what we need. Everyone is getting and doing exactly what they need to, because it's all apart of their own process. The less attachment there is to any kind of end-result, the easier it will be to remain flexible and open to the unfolding. Allow this to be more of a heuristic process, that is, a gradual and slow unfolding of awareness over time. This is a time to challenge our personal and collective perceptions, and to keep on searching for that elusive, yet powerful hidden truth.

Now, as I mentioned above, the Eclipse is in alignment with the Pleiades star system, specifically Alcyone, the central star. I'm not an expert on the influences of the fixed stars in astrology--it's kind of sad really, since the word Astrology conjures images of stars. That's sort of the way it is, or well, the way it's becomes. Tropical astrology, the art I'm practicing here, is pretty devoid of stars--which is actually changing, and will likely re-emerge with the help of pioneering practitioners and researchers. Hmm....maybe this Eclipse has something to do with that? When I think of the Pleiades, I think of the Pleadians--I don't really know any, personally--well, that I'm aware of. Pleadians are supposedly beings from the "5th dimension", that is, two steps above our own. According to The Pleadian Agenda by Barbara Hand Clow, and Bringers of the Dawn by Barbara Marciniak--these beings are assisting us in this current transition, and "Ascension" process somehow--helping to essentially wake up and activate our dormant DNA and, thus, human potential. I can't say that what the Pleadians say is true or not--it sounds good, well some of it. Anyway, it's interesting though, because the Pleiades was pretty significant to the ancients, particularly the Maya. It's not even really that bright--it's actually quite faint. You need to really look for it to see it. Along with the Transit of Venus, this Eclipse, for me, brings in more of this "2012" type energy, which as I "concluded" above, is this sort of collective ego death and resurrection thing.

Alcyone, the central star of the Pleiades, means: the central one. Simple and logical enough. The Pleiades star cluster as a whole, are also known as the "seven sisters", or "weeping sisters", since, while there's actually nine stars, only seven are visible to the naked eye. The Pleiades forms part of the constellation of Taurus, the Bull. In Greek mythology, Alcyone was the daughter of Aeolus, God of the wind. She was married to Ceyx the king of Thessaly-- son of Lucifer, the light-bearer. Alcyone and Ceyx we're pretty happy together, they were madly in love, and never spent any time apart. Suddenly, however, Ceyx decides to leave Alcyone, for a while, and set sail across the sea. Alcyone begged for him to stay or to take her with him--but, although deeply moved, he persisted in pursuing his purpose (whatever that was). The following night after his departure, an intense storm breaks out, and ends up sinking the ship, killing all on board--including, dear Ceyx. Meanwhile, Alcyone awaits back at home, counting down the days of her lover's return. She apparently prays to the goddess Juno, who, out of compassion, decides to help Alcyone by gifting her with a dream which would reveal the truth of Ceyx's death. Juno ends up contacting Sommus, God of Sleep, asking if he could send a dream to Alcyone--who then, refers to his Son, Morpheus due to his innate skill of, well, morphing into any form he wished. Morpheus then pays a visit to Alcyone, in the form of Ceyx, and explains what happened--that there is really no more hope for him, and that Alcyone must weep and let him go.

 Overwhelmed with grief, Alcyone decides she can no longer live, and so attempts to kill herself by jumping off into the sea, to meet the same fate which struck her beloved.  But, suddenly, instead of falling to her death, Alcyone finds herself in the air, with wings, and the realization that she's been turned into a bird. She flies up into the air, higher and higher, and meets Ceyx, who is also turned into a bird as well, and off they go and live happily ever after--always seen in the sky together hence forth. In another version of the story, Ceyx and Alcyone took to calling themselves Zeus and Hera, which apparently didn't sit right with Zeus, who actually threw a thunderbolt at Ceyx's ship. As Alcyone mourns the loss of Ceyx, it's Zeus who turns them both into birds, after feeling bad about the whole thing. Both Alcyone and Ceyx were turned into Halcyon birds in the latter. Interestingly, this is the source and origin of the now outdated phrase, Halcyon Days, which correlates to a time of peace.

According to the myth, Aeolus, God of the wind, keeps the winds stable and calm so that Alcyone can nest and lay her eggs for seven days. Halcyon days also refers, in popular culture, to looking back at the good old times--coated with a sense of idyllic nostalgia--conjuring images of warm and fuzzy summer days, filled with carefree joy and relaxation. So basically, Halcyon days refers to a peaceful, calm, and idealistically memorable time. I feel this is an important symbol in understanding this Eclipse, because it seems to say that, "the good old days" are over. Now, on a collective level I feel this has tremendous significance for the shattering of the American Dream--the energy of this Eclipse holds with it, the awakening and realization that things will never go back to the way they were, or the way we imagined it was. In our own lives, we can perceive this in different ways. Obviously, for those of us who are personally effected by this Eclipse in particular, this is likely to be a prominent theme, of leaving the past behind. For me, it also seems to say that we need to move on from our idealistic memories of the past--because, it's our attachment to these memories which keeps us stuck in the present. By opening oneself up to different and more expansive possibilities, new memories can thus be created or experienced. This isn't to say that good times are over in general, but just that our definition and perception is about to dramatically change--and that we need to leave certain things behind now.

There is also, however, an inherent contradiction to this Eclipse. The ruler of the Eclipse, Mercury, is in Taurus conjunct Jupiter, and in mutual reception with Venus retrograde in Gemini. Venus, is also in a very tight trine aspect to Saturn in Libra. If we follow the north node in Sagittatius (which, by the way, is joined by Juno), we are shown that, well actually, we are invited toward a different perception of the past--we are guided to a more primal, and perhaps, more authentic essence of the past, as opposed to our mental perceptions or ideas about it. On a collective level, this seems to say, that the solutions to our problems actually come from connecting to a more authentic, natural, and grounded understanding of the roots of existence--and if we trust our intuition, we are likely to be guided to a new understanding which connects all the pieces and puts things all together, in a seemingly effortless flow of movement. The chart seems to say that there are critical missing steps that we have overlooked collectively, and we need to go back, and look deeper before we can go any further. This Eclipse has the power to allow us to truly bridge and bring together mind and matter in a beautiful coalescence and synchronicity.

The myth of Alcyone and Ceyx is pretty interesting, and I suppose we could conjure up all sorts of ideas about what it could mean in terms of the 2012 transition. If we look at the sinking ship, as, well, our current modern dilemma, it seems to offer some hope of a powerful transmutation, and "Ascension". We could also look at this another way, that perhaps the human race needs to die and become resurrected into a new realm of being. Hmm....that's quite possible. Alcyone and Ceyx were transformed into an entirely different species altogether, and completely released their attachment to their previous human form. For me, the whole Ascension idea isn't rightly understood, and I don't think it's really what many people think of it. There is actually much we can gleam from this story about the supposed Ascension process---but, I'll let you use your imagination to come up with more insight on your own. One thing is clear though, the horoscope shows that this is an era where we need to learn more about the natural laws of nature, and the way things were intended to be--as a species we have become disconnected from the truth of our existence, and now is a critical step in returning to our roots--and working with reality the way that it actually is.

Now, speaking of synchronicity, it seems that this is also going to be greatly heightened in our lives now, especially with Venus retrograde. The more we trust and follow this synchronicity, the more we'll be guided to our true and authentic path--and also, toward highly significant meetings with others who will have a very significant impact on our lives. Many of these connections may actually be with individuals from the past, that we have already formed relationships with--and it could relate to a rekindling of those bonds. So, it seems, this Eclipse offers a breath of fresh air, in many ways--and after moving out of most of the retrograde confusion over the past few months--we can, at least, feel that new life is on its way, but only if we're open and receptive to it. The more resistance we have to this "shattering", I guess you could say, we'll likely experience more of the painful and confusing side of this Eclipse. The Eclipse gets an expansive activation on June 13, 2012 (my birthday, hint hint). Aside from being rather quite significant for me, it also shows that the energy potential of this Eclipse is ripe and ready to go--it shows a lot of momentum building and getting ready to explode. The Eclipse also gets an activation from Saturn from December of 2014 through September of 2015. We can see that the potential of this Eclipse is going to expand now, that is, blow open and take us beyond the horizon--and whatever changes we experience, are likely to carry on for the next few years, receiving a critical challenge and solidification later on.

Many of these symbols also point to a critical need for collaboration with others, and exposure to foreign ideas and experiences--we must open our minds to the varying perspectives and values of other interests, and to begin a process of synthesizing these ideas slowly over time. Both Mercury and Jupiter are in a sesquequadrate with Pluto in Capricorn, square Uranus in Aries. Many of these ideas will have the power to greatly alter our current systems and structures--there is going to be a radical, and sudden shift and change of direction, leading to entirely new forms. With the upcoming Transit of Venus, we can look at this time as very critical for the development of new solutions for the world, and entirely new ways to live and experience our lives. Like I said earlier, this process is most effective when we release attachment, and thus, when we allow ourselves to simply experiment and test things out. Neptune could potentially create confusion when we blindly follow the herd, or if we simply just believe what we're told. The truly creative and inspirational effects of this transition, will come as a result of a conscious combination of intuition, imagination, critical thinking, and skepticism.

Solar Eclipses can also be viewed as a powerful release of built up energy, which takes place in multiple dimensions simultaneously. This effect is believed to greatly alter and influence natural forces within the earth, expressing itself in anomalous weather and even earthquakes. In my experience this depends entirely upon the strength of the eclipse--but I have always noticed an increased emotional and even psychic shift within myself around the time of the eclipse, as well as a heightened sense of awareness. This eclipse will culminate in a Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius on June 4th/5th--just one day prior to the Transit of Venus event, on June 5th/6th. This summer indeed proves to be quite an eventful time, both for the individual and the collective. We can anticipate many changes to occur both within ourselves, as well as around us. Ground yourself firmly, and reach for the stars. If you set intentions around the New Moon, then Solar Eclipses are extra potent in their effects. Equally, this is the most propitious time to begin new projects, and to start pushing things into motion that you want to be successful.This eclipse also greatly favors new intellectual pursuits, and embarking upon new fields of study--or, most likely, adding deeper knowledge and understanding to what you've already been pursuing.

Sabian Symbol

The sabian symbol for the Eclipse reads:

"A glass bottomed boat in still water"

This image suggests transparency, and seeing through into other realms, unhindered. We get a sense of effortlessly peering into the deep, into a world which is usually hidden from perception--but due to the technology of the boat, one is able to experience what would be normally completely inaccessible. The ocean can also be looked at as symbol for emotions, and the unconscious realm, and could relate to the ability to use thoughts (air) to understand and comprehend this foreign reality. Here we get the sense of exploration, and of discovering new dimensions of being, and new aspects of reality. With the assistance of a window, the awakening of a new faculty within the psyche is catalyzed, allowing it to witness what was only seen from the surface dimension.It's interesting the repeating themes with the ocean, and calm peaceful waters--with the myth of Alcyone. Hmm....things to ponder.

Technical Notes & Viewing Locations

This will be an Annular Eclipse of the Sun, which means that as the Moon passes over, there will be a small ring of light, kind of like a Halo, visible. For the US, this will be the first central eclipse of the 21st century--meaning that the central line of the umbra will pass through the continental United States. In addition, this is the first annular Eclipse in the US since May of 1994--which, incidentally, coincided with the conjunction of Neptune and Uranus. The Annular phase will be visible here in the United States, on the west coast--as well as the Chinese coast, southern Japan, and western Canada. Tokyo, Albuquerque, and Guangzhou will be on the central path. Most of Asia, Russia, and northwestern North America will be able to view a partial eclipse--and the maximum will occur in the North Pacific and end in the western United States. This Eclipse is apart of Saros cycle 128, series 14, which began in August of 984 AD.

May 20, 2012

Eclipse begins--20:56.1 GMT
Southern limit of penumbra begins---21:42.4 GMT
Southern limit of umbra begins--22:07.4 GMT
Central Eclipse begins---22:09.0 GMT
Northern limit of umbra begins---22:10.6 GMT
Central Eclipse at local apparent noon---23:59.1

May 21, 2012

Northern limit of umbra ends---1:34.8 GMT
Central Eclipse ends---1:36.4 GMT
Southern limit of umbra ends---1:38.0 GMT
Southern limit of penumbra ends---2:03.1 GMT
End of Eclipse---2:49.3 GMT

Image courtesy of Sky & Telescope