Cancer/Leo Solar Festivals
The Three Eclipses: July & August 2009
Malvin Artley, our regular esoteric commentator examines the subtle meaning of the rare set of three eclipses surrounding the Full Moon in Capricorn for 2009. This is Cancer's Full Moon, as the Moon is full in the sign opposing the Sun. The full moon of Cancer (the full moon at Capricorn 15º24'), a lunar eclipse, occurred on the 7th of July at 09:39 UT. This was followed by a solar eclipse from the new moon in Cancer 29°27' on July 22nd at 02:36 UT, then the full moon in Aquarius 13°43, Leo's Solar Festival on August 6th, with a lunar eclipse at 00:40 hrs UT. Phew!
How does one climb to the top of a mountain? The obvious and annoying answer is 'one step at a time'. However, there are many answers to the question and procedures for the same. The Vajrayanist would say, 'Envision yourself at the mountain top, act as if and you will achieve all' (It's one of my personal favorites and never fails to get a roll of the eyes and a groan from the listener.) The Zen Buddhist would say 'Become the mountain. By doing nothing, all is achieved.' The American would say, 'Hire a helicopter and let that puppy plant you there!' (Another favorite, but not always affordable or practical.)
Most people would say 'Why bother? Let's watch it on the tellie tonight, love.' A true mountain trekker would hire all the gear, go into training for a month or so and meet the mountain head-on at the appointed time, reveling in the challenge and the beauty of it all. A person in the third world who lived in the area would simply shrug their shoulders, smile at all the silly westerners and be like the Nike ad and 'just do it'. If a horse was available they would be sensible and ride up. Common sense is a marvel to the mind of fantasy.
I recently partook in a climb up a mountain. I was with a tour group and the question was asked, “How far up is this place we are going?” “Oh, it's just a short little walk”, we were told. 3½ hours later I arrived, but the trek up was the interesting part. If you have ever tried to do anything the least bit physically challenging at high altitude one soon finds that a thing as simple as breathing can be a bit daunting, especially if you are climbing and you look forward on the path, only to see a seemingly endless track in front of you. That helicopter starts to sound mighty appealing at about that point. What you find after a while, though, is that you have to slow right down, take measured and even steps and find a rhythm that works for you without passing out from lack of oxygen. Our group soon resembled a bunch of winos on a long march in the way we were walking, some complaining the whole way up, others resolute, while still others were chatting away (which is one thing you are not supposed to do in those instances), happy as Larry, as we say here. The latter are the ones everyone loves to hate on treks like that.
I found that I had to set a rhythm between my heart, my legs and my breathing and I recited endless mantras in my head while I did it. It helped me to keep the rhythm and I felt that it sort of cleared a mental path for me. Maybe that was just the altitude, but anything that works – well, hey. I wasn't going to argue the point with myself. I made real headway. Then after a while I had the realization come over me that the same procedure could and should be used for any sort of trying situation – physical or otherwise. One of my teacher's words came to mind: Make certain you own needs are met first, otherwise you have nothing to give to anyone else. Nothing like a bit of stress or adversity to drive the point home. I thought back to other stressful situations and thought of how my little task could have been useful in those times. Basically, what is needed in times of stress is to pull one's head in, cut back on any extraneous activity (such as ceaselessly talking about how good this mountain-climbing was for us, how this was supposed to be hard and how purification is good for the soul) and chiseling away at the task at hand until the goal is reached or the stress factor has passed. As is often stated in occultism, “Plodding is ever-desirable.” And plod we did. We eventually got there, though. It was worth the trek at day's end, although that helicopter option might not be such a bad idea in the future.
The preceding is part of the reason I did not send out a Cancer Festival letter this year. I was overseas on 'family business' – an obvious Cancerian theme – except that I simply didn't bother to fill in the gaps for people about which 'family' the business involved. I needed to be in a private head-space, although when I got back to 'civilization' I found out the reason for my trip away was common knowledge. It matters little. I had the chance to go and I needed to take it, even though times are a bit lean with the economic situation. I had some things I needed to research, and my expectations were met beyond my fondest dreams. My research will be coming out in my writings over the next few years, but for now I need to fill in a few gaps about Cancer and Leo and the three eclipses we are experiencing at the moment, two of which have already passed.
The themes pertinent to Cancer this year as I see them relate precisely to 'family business' – one's inner or spiritual family. This inner group (or ashram as it is sometimes called) can be either small or quite extended in some cases, and there are few of us who realize the full extent of it. What is important to realize here is that there are relationships on the inner side of life that are often more meaningful to us that our outer contacts.
Cancer is a curious sign. Most people associate it with family, nurturing, women in general and motherhood. However, it is the sign that rules mass consciousness – instinctual consciousness, if you will – and as such, it conveys an energy that tends to bring disparate factors or people together into union. It is the first 'group' sign that we encounter in our journey around the horoscope wheel. It was the sign under which the first human beings of Earth took incarnation many millions of years ago.
Light within the Form
Cancer conveys the 'Light Within the Form', which is said to be the dark light of matter, awaiting the stimulation of the Soul. This 'dark light of matter' does not pertain to the 'dark matter' of current science. Rather, it is the light which all material substance gives off (latent energy or latent heat), and this becomes especially magnified when matter is brought together into groups or aggregates of form. Cancer is the sign that governs gestation and eventual birth and thus has a rulership over the binding together of the aggregates or bodies of a person (the bodies of the lower self: physical, astral/emotional and mental). It governed infant humanity when the aggregates or bodies as we now know them were integrated under the impress of the higher nature – Soul, higher Self, what have you.
The Festival of the Ashram
Cancer is a sign that governs integration of a kind, leading to the ability to function as an individual in the world. That is one of the primary purposes of family life, to enable the child to be integrated into society at large. The family is where we first learn to relate to others. Carried on to a higher turn of the spiral, as esotericists are fond of saying, the same could be said of the disciple in the ashram. The ashram is the training ground that enables and empowers the disciple to function eventually in full spiritual capacity and community. The family and the ashram both provide stability, care, nurturing and training in the larger responsibilities of life, mundane and spiritual. Thus, in the past I have termed the Cancer Festival the 'Festival of the Ashram'.
This year the Cancer Festival took place at an eclipse. At this juncture we will consider the two eclipses that took place in the sign Cancer and then move on to the discussion of the next solar festival, the Festival of Sirius (Leo). This is an unusual period in that we will have a total of three eclipses, whereas normally we have two at a time, twice a year for a total of four a year. The first eclipse took place at 7:39 PM AEST (9:39 AM UT) on the 7th of July 2009. This eclipse was a North Node lunar appulse eclipse. Appulse means that the moon is not actually eclipsed by the earth, but it does pass through the Earth's penumbra, meaning its light will be slightly dimmed. It is still classed as an eclipse, though, even though we will not see the Earth's shadow on the Moon. The eclipse of 6th of August this year is also a lunar appulse eclipse, and also conjunct the North Node.
The Festival of the Disciple
The second eclipse took place at 12:36 PM AEST (02:36 UT) on the 22nd of July 2009. This one was a total solar eclipse with a South Node emphasis, thus highlighting finalizations, leading to a new cycle of life in some area, depending on what it contacts in one's chart, whereas the two lunar eclipses are indicative of emotional expansion and new relationships. The third eclipse takes place at 10:40 AM AEST (00:40 UT) on the 6th of August 2009. As stated, it is an appulse lunar eclipse with a North Node emphasis and it marks the full moon of the Leo Solar Festival, which I call the 'Festival of the Disciple'. That solar festival has also been called the Festival of Sirius.
Trio of Eclipses
This trio of eclipses are all of the 11 South modified Saros series (no. 136 of the standard Saros). They are about sudden change, sometimes violent or tragic. The inaugural eclipse for that series took place on an Aries point (0 Cancer) in 1360 and it ushered in a period of instability in Asia, starting with the collapse of the Blue Horde (one of the Mongol empires) in 1361, resulting in a period of civil war in what is now east-central Russia. Its activation also instigated one of the largest naval battles in history (almost one million men) in China in the last years of the Yuan Dynasty on Lake Poyang in 1363. In fact, the 22 July eclipse passed over Lake Poyang. It was said to be the longest total solar eclipse of the 21st Century, not to be surpassed again until June 2132. The period of the eclipse that began the series in the early 1360s also saw another instance of the Black Plague in Europe and the French invasion of southern England. There was not much in the way of good news in the world at that time.
In recent times the 11 South series of eclipses has brought similar sorts of energies. With the 11 South eclipse in 1901 the NYSE had its first crash, there were racial tensions in the US South with the Mars activation, as well as the coal strike of 1902, the end of the Boer War, the establishment of the High Court in Australia, and the beginning of work on the Panama Canal, so there were some good changes to be had along with tensions with that eclipse. The eclipse of 1919 in this series was different, though. The first activation saw the eruption of Volcano Kelut in Java, which killed 16,000, but also saw the confirmation of Einstein's theory of general relativity, which revolutionized the science of the day. The next activation was the Wall Street Bombing of 1920, killing 38. Subsequent activations saw violent riots in Cairo and Alexandria, a major geomagnetic storm, the arresting of Mohandas Gandhi for sedition, the independence of Egypt from England, the founding of the Turkish council by Ataturk, the sinking of British submarine L-34 and the first purges by Stalin. The June 11 South eclipse of 1937 was violent, too, seeing the bombing of Alicante, Spain, The Czech mobilization against Germany, the recognition of Franco's government, a night club fire in Mississippi, the invasion of France, the Battle of Tobruk, the first rumors of the coming attack on Pearl Harbor and the fall of the Bataan Peninsula and the ensuing death march.
There was not much in the 1955 11 South eclipse, even with the Saturn activation of 1958. Hence, such eclipses do not always bring bad news. With the 11 South eclipse of 1973 we saw the beginning of impeachment proceedings against Nixon, the death of Juan Peron (Saturn activation), the murder of Martin Luther King's mother in church, the Weather Underground bombing of the US State Department, the Haicheng quake in China, killing 2,041, the control of the Khmer Rouge over Cambodia, the Tiananmen Incident in China, and an explosion in an ammunition factory in Finland. With the 1991 11 South eclipse we saw the founding of the European Union and the de-targeting of the US by Russian nuclear warheads, but those were the good points. There was a long transit if Neptune, followed by Uranus over that eclipse from February through the first half of the year, which was the crisis in the Balkans that led to the Bosnian Conflict. There were also large explosions and earthquakes, violence in Bombay, but also the removal of trade barriers in Europe. All through with this series of eclipses there have been wars and disasters, but there have also been reforms and new orders instituted.
So, in all, what do we have for the Cancer eclipses of this group this year? Eclipses at full moons are always lunar eclipses, whereas solar eclipses take place at new moons. For general information and for the more esoteric meaning of eclipses, an eclipse is either a conjunction or opposition of the Sun and Moon at the Moon's nodes. Thus, we have three factors at play: the Sun, representing the life force, the psyche and the 'present problem' (what is being worked out this life); the Moon, representing the past, inherited abilities and liabilities, what is being moved beyond, one's emotional needs and; the Nodes, representing one's instinctual nature and drives.
Eclipses, then indicate changes of direction (Nodes) the highlighting of specific emotional needs and the calling forth or waning of certain inherited traits (Moon), and the integration of greater faculty into one's psyche, often as the result of an event that will bring change and/or crisis, often both (Sun). Eclipses will affect us if the eclipse point is on or opposite a planet or angle in the chart, and activations take place when planets transits over or opposite those points.
In part two of this article, Malvin Artley continues his exploration of the esoteric meanings of the Three Eclipses at the Cancer/Leo Solar Festivals of 2009.
Read part two of The Cancer/Leo Solar Festivals