Eclipse Fact Sheet
New Moon or solar eclipses occur when the Sun’s light is blocked by the Moon. Full Moon or lunar eclipses occur when the Moon’s light is blocked by the Earth.
Eclipses occur in seasons, which happen twice a year, six months apart. Eclipse season is defined by the proximity of the Sun to the North and South Node axis. When the Sun is within 18 degrees of the nodes, eclipse season is in play. Any new or full Moon that occurs while the Sun is within this 18 degree space (either side of the nodes, so 36 degrees in total) is an eclipse. The closer to the nodes the Sun, the stronger or more total the eclipse.
Eclipses follow the nodes. The Nodes spend about 18 months moving through a pair of zodiac signs. Typically most of the eclipses occurring happen in the signs in which the nodes are placed. In an 18 month period, eclipses occur at different degrees within the same pair of signs, which often means the same pair of houses in your chart too.
Eclipses also occur in groups or families, known as Saros Series. Each Saros Series lasts approximately 1300 years. They are some of the longest cycles to be used in astrology.
Bernadette Brady has an excellent book which includes eclipse info like Saros Series, ‘Predictive Astrology: The Eagle and the Lark’. In it she discusses the connection of the English Royal Family and a particular eclipse grouping.
The Saros Series of an eclipse adds flavour and feeling to each eclipse, that is separate from the sign in which it occurs. The meaning of a Saros Series is based on the planetary aspects and themes in play in the first eclipse in that series (the series’ birth chart). Eclipses within each Saros Series occur every 18 years.
Eclispes also have rulers. This is the (traditional) ruling planet of the sign in which the Moon is placed at the eclipse. In a solar or new moon eclipse, this is the planet ruling the sign in which the New Moon Sun/Moon conjunction occurs. In a lunar or full moon eclipse, this is the planet ruling the sign in which the Full Moon is placed.
Each eclipse has its own path around the globe, and is visible in certain bands across Earth. Seeing or experiencing the eclipse directly is said to make its effects stronger.
To work with eclipses, you need to consider:
- the themes of the sign in which the eclipse occurs (and those of whichever house this activates in your birth chart)
- the quality and strength of the eclipse’s ruling planet
- the themes of the Saros Series to which the eclipse belongs
- the strength or totality of the eclipse