A “ring of fire eclipse” (also known as an “annular eclipse”) occurs when the new moon is furthest away from us in her elliptical orbit. At the last two full moons her orbit brought her closer to us, creating super full moons. But that means at the new moons two weeks later, she’s further away from us. This makes her look smaller than the sun at the new moon eclipse; hence, a visible ring of fire will appear around her edges.
By the time you read this, you’ll likely already know the answer to my question. If your life has been relatively smooth in the past two weeks, this is probably not a strong eclipse for you. Powerful eclipses typically begin to ripple their waves of disruption into the lives of those they plan to unsteady at least one to two weeks before they occur. Eclipses are change-makers that can rattle our personal and collective cages. But rarely do they wait until eclipse day to unleash their surprises. So if things are basically fine in your life, they’ll likely continue that way.
I still remember the solar eclipse ten years ago when my hard drive crashed. The following day, the hard drive on my new laptop, the one I’d just taken out of the box, also crashed. There was no receipt in the box. I’d bought it online and my only record of purchase was on the other crashed hard drive. My feelings of being awash in rubble and utterly helpless was nothing compared to the horrific devastation of the Haitian earthquake that was also occurring at that time, yet I felt a kinship.
“So this is how the archetypes are visiting me,” I thought. My loved ones were still alive, my house was standing, I had a warm place to sleep and food to eat, but my psyche was racing helter-skelter, like I was running down the streets of Pompeii as the volcano was erupting. Aaaaaaiiiiieee!
As an astrologer, I work with symbol, intuition and soul, but the nuts and bolts of my business are all computerized. For days I was too emotional to fully learn what I’d backed up and what I’d lost. Of course mine was a comparatively gentle disaster. I heard from many other eclipse survivors that month: the mother whose son disappeared; the massage therapist living in her car, unsure about whether to give up her cat so she could enter a woman’s shelter; the new widow, doing fine financially, but who felt so lonely wandering without purpose through the overwhelming emptiness of her house.
Three months later, when the sun squared the eclipse degree, my new computer crashed. I curled into a fetal ball for about a week. Eclipses can be so devastating. Even so–I tend to fall into the camp of astrologers who believe eclipses are overrated. The truth is that solar eclipses occur every year, twice a year, and not all are personally significant. In fact, in the eleven years since my three hard drives crashed, I can’t remember a single other eclipse that was this dramatic.
Eclipses–like all astrology events–are symbols, not causes. And, by virtue of their archetypal nature, eclipses are unpredictable. (That’s what terrified the ancients so much. They didn’t have the algorithms yet to predict them.) Whether or not the gods intend a big message for you—you won’t fully know this until the eclipse has passed. Think of this eclipse as a portal. It’s like a tunnel you have to walk through—not knowing whether a bright gift, a bucket of water over your head, or nothing special—is waiting at the end. Not everyone is shaken and rolled into a new future—but it’s wise to pay attention. If you’re nimble, there might be an opportunity to grow.
Astrologers typically use the following checklist to assess a person’s eclipse vulnerability–or opportunities!
- What happened last time? Eclipses are cyclical, triggering the same degrees every 18 (and 9) years. This new moon occurs at 19.47 Gemini. If you’ve lived long enough, you’ve already lived through an eclipse near this degree. Recent eclipses at this degree occurred in December 2011 (lunar eclipse), June 2002 (solar eclipse), December 1992 (lunar eclipse), and June 1983 (solar eclipse). If these were significant months for you, they may be so again. Look for common themes. Sometimes the broken pieces of an earlier eclipse are healed in the next one.
- Does your natal chart have planets at the eclipse degree? Natal planets at the eclipse degree–19-20 degrees of Gemini–may mean you’re one of the ones more vulnerable to “eclipse demons.” Planets near 19-20 degrees of the other mutable signs (Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces) are also more likely to be engaged.
- Which house in your chart does the eclipse activate? This is where you need to put your “archetypal pattern” glasses on. The houses describe various areas of life–home, school, career. Your astrology chart will tell you which house holds 19-20 degrees of Gemini. (You can calculate your chart here. Look for my quick guide to the houses.) Once you understand the basic meaning of your eclipse house, now draw the connections. Your life will have the answers! What’s happening in this area? Any challenges or instabilities? This could be wonderful. Perhaps the eclipse wants you to break free of old chains here.
- What are the themes in the Saros family of eclipses? Don’t ask me to explain Saros Cycles–my eyes have glazed over every time I’ve tried to learn this subject. Yet I know enough to consult the expert, Bernadette Brady. By identifying the Saros family from which each eclipse family originates, she’s able to outline a few of its possible themes. According to Brady, this new moon is conjunct Neptune; Mars is on the Mercury/Uranus midpoint–which she interprets thusly:
This is a very unusual Saros Series involving sudden flashes of ideas that seem to have a psychic or unconscious flavor to them. Hunches, visions, prophetic dreams are the essence of this family of eclipses. A truly creative series which should leave the individual enriched. The ideas or hunches which come from this eclipse can be acted upon. (page 314, The Eagle and the Lark)
In any case, this is a good week to eliminate stress and pay attention. So what do you think?Does this “ring of fire” eclipse have an important message for you?
Do the astrological clues suggest this is a potent eclipse for you? If so, be sure to treat yourself to one of April’s famous eclipse reports, available here.
Likely more influential than the eclipse are your current transits and progressions, available here as Steven Forrest’s fabulous Skylog report.
You can round out your star picture for the year with Mary Shea’s solar return report. It’s best to order this one if your birthday falls within in the next or last three months.