Memory Eclipsed

I still have a clear memory of the first time I discovered what an eclipse was. I was five years old and sat on the windowsill of my bedroom window. I still recall the vivid purple paint in that room. 38 years and many miles away later, my bedroom is still vivid purple – some part of me reaching through the rainbow for a semblance of security.

It must have been late. I’m sure my Mother had been in to suggest it might be well past my bed-time but my Father was busy showing me the Moon. I honestly don’t know what the date was but I like to think it was the Lunar eclipse on the 15th June 1973 – the eclipse that was conjunct my Vertex in the 5th house. The Sun was conjunct Saturn that day as I watched the sky with my Father.

I still can feel the tingle of excitement as I recall that night. This big huge thing was happening right in front of my eyes – a monster was eating the Moon! I knew it wasn’t really a monster. My Father told me it was the shadow of the Earth. I held my fingers up to the Moon to measure it.

“The Earth must be very small” I thought…

But then my Father told me an even bigger story. Of how one day there would be an eclipse of the Sun and we would see it in England. I know he said it would happen in other places before then but I had no concept of other worlds outside my own. All I knew was that I wanted to grow up fast so that I could see the dark Sun.

So in 1999 myself and some friends travelled down to Cornwall to watch the eclipse of the Sun. I can’t explain the sense of excitement, the anticipation. A long held dream coming true.


We stood on the beach with hundreds of others, drawn to the sea and her gentle hush. The clouds threatened to blot out my dream but there was enough break of blue to bear witness to such a monumental event. We stood looking slightly ridiculous in our ‘eclipse glasses’ freely distributed with some newspaper. I took off my shoes and traced a circle in the sand with my toes, revelled in being barefoot.

I watched as the Moon’s shadow nipped away at the Sun piece by piece; listened to the skies growing silent as the gulls settled on the water. Soon there was only the breathing of the sea and darkness.

I don’t think words will ever explain those moments. Terror, excitement, utter stillness. I could hear the beating of my heart.

Then the diamond ring broke and my pulse speeded up. I realised I was crying and even now as I write, tears leap to my eyes. I caught a glance from a stranger, a young man standing alone and he was crying too.

And then the Sun burst into life again. Cheers rang across the beach and applause. Almost at the end of the millenium with computers and 9 – 5, tv and international travel, we humans could still be moved by an ancient phenomena. It stirred some deep ancestral memory, reminded us of how we need the Sun and the light. Reminded us that our home is intricately bound with the movements of the cosmos.

Tomorrow’s eclipse occurs at 19 degrees Cancer. The Sabian Symbol is: –

“Venetian Gondoliers Giving A Serenade”

April Elliott Kent wrote a beautiful post on this New Moon eclipse and described the yearning need sometimes to escape – to experience a holiday love affair, to find a new home and leave behind everything we once knew. We all need moments where we step outside of our lives, drift down the river and listen to a different song.

Last weekend I helped someone move and that yearning need to find a new home welled up inside of me. I have lived in the same place for nearly 20 years and have been desperate to move away for half that time but my fears and insecurities have prevented me. I built a safe world for myself and slowly but surely it strangled me.

As the eclipse takes place deep in my 12th house, square my nodal axis I find myself reflecting upon what has held me here. A billboard sign caught my attention as I worried over how people moving away affects my relationship with them. A beautiful synchronicity reminded me that

“Distance has nothing to do with closeness”

In the Solar eclipse chart, Pluto sits in the 12th house conjunct the Capricorn Ascendant. Certain structures must fall in order to rebuild ourselves from the bottom up. We need to change how we look at the world. The cardinal t-square sees Saturn in the 9th and Jupiter-Uranus in the 3rd square Pluto. It’s time to compare what we know and what we believe – they are two different things with transformational potential.

The Sun and Moon reside in the Cancerian 7th house. It’s time to care for each other as one big family. The sextile from the Sun-Moon conjunction to Mars shows that we have the opportunity to put our differences aside and learn what connects us to each other.

For me personally it is time to take on the challenge and strive towards my destiny. My 9th house North Node calls me to leave behind what I once knew, to stop fighting my path. Mine has been an unconscious struggle, deep ingrained issues of abandonment, a tormenting need to protect myself at all costs. These are my 12th house struggles laid bare.

The eclipse point is in a wide trine to my natal Neptune in the 4th house and with a Piscean Father, I am truly Neptune’s daughter. I’ve come a long way in distance and years since I sat on the windowsill watching the lunar eclipse. The family connections have dissolved and I have been haunted by their memory. I settled for something safe yet there have been so many tears shed within these walls. It has been less of a home, more a refuge. Now when I think of moving away, I sense that in the future it may be easier to remember the happier moments that occured in this house. Perhaps I will remember it as a home.

Each eclipse belongs to a certain Saros cycle. The endless winding up and down of the eclipses across the aeons. In ‘Predictive Astrology’ Bernadette Brady says this eclipse “…will bring successful outcomes to long-term worries or illness. An issue which has worried or drained the individual for some time will at first seem worse and then clear with successful outcomes”.

With the cardinal t-square and Pluto conjunct the Solar eclipse Ascendant it seems there has been some foreboding connected to this eclipse. I do not sense that myself. I feel some affinity to the interpretation that Brady suggests and have a deep abiding belief that not only can I change my own life, the human race has the potential to change the destructive course we have been headed on. We just need to change the way we see things.

The solar eclipse allows us to see our shadow self – to look it in the eye and give it a name. No longer can we pretend that it belongs to another. By owning it completely the shadow becomes light and we can return to hope. It’s not that we have left anything behind, it’s that we have become more true to ourselves. By embracing our shadows we can truly see the light and the path is illuminated once again.