The September Solar Eclipse falls at 9 degrees Virgo, amidst a plethora of hard aspects between the Sun, Moon, Saturn and Neptune. The central one, Saturn square Neptune has been wafting in and out of our lives as nebulous fog of dread, difficulties, and uncertainty since the end of 2015. For some (not really touched directly) this may have passed as mild existential pangs. Those touched more precisely (I elude to the natal chart) may have felt this morph into paranoia, diagnostically elusive health problems, financial difficulties and felt the paralysis of self-doubt. Fortunately this aspect makes its final pass on 10 September 2016 though its presence in this eclipse chart keeps its shadow in our lives for up to 6 months.
In the world arena it has reared its head in familiar tropes of religious fundamentalism, policed borders/refugees, and ongoing economic recession. It conjures up a treacherous, slippery mountain pass draped in mist. Your morale is sapped, your body an immense burden to carry with every step. The terrain is perilous enough, the mist heightens your sense of foreboding and every movement startles, scraping your nerves like a razor. This has been a nasty business, but you’ll be familiar with this ominous presence by now and conscious of the manner in which it has been expressing in your life.
These effects will diminish from September but will echo till the final eclipse in this Virgo/Pisces series in February 2017. But, the summit is nigh and the worst will soon be behind us. And the sign Virgo is really the key- steady steps, consistency and routine in matters of work and health, and as much of the truth as you can swallow. Square up with reality and find dominion in the details of routine affairs. “Face the facts, then act!”
Annular Solar Eclipses – The Black Sun
Solar eclipses can only occur during a New Moon when Earth Moon and Sun are in a straight line which from earth appears as the Moon blocking the light of the Sun. An annular Solar Eclipse is not a total eclipse as the Moon will obscure the central disc of the Sun, but the outer rim of the Sun will be visible as a ‘ring of fire’. This circular halo of flame is due to the Moon being in apogee (the side of it’s elliptical path farthest from the Earth). This distance makes the relative size of the Moon (as seen from Earth) less than the relative size of the Sun allowing it to ‘bleed’ over the black mass of the Moon.
Every New Moon is clearly not a Solar Eclipse as the New Moon has to be close to one of the lunar nodes- either the north or south node for an eclipse to occur. The nodes are situated where the earth’s orbital path around the Sun intersect the Moon’s orbital path around the Earth. Solar eclipses (both Total and Annular) have a very narrow band of visibility. For an annular eclipse this is roughly 270km making them a rare sight for earth-bound creatures.
The 1 September 2016 Annular Solar Eclipse will be visible from parts of central Africa and Madagascar. For most of Africa it will appear as a partial eclipse.
In essence, a solar eclipse is a highly concentrated New Moon- call it a New Moon on ‘crack’! As with all astrological ‘event horizons’, natal chart configurations spell out the warranted degree of trepidation. An eclipse that is conjunct or in opposition to your natal Ascendent, Sun, or Moon is when you really want to pay attention. When these patterns collide, a solar eclipse can herald monumental changes often triggered by a series of often random events out of our control and scrounge out what has thus-far been hidden. Changes can rapid and chaotic with you stung with their lightning intensity.
Rubicon – In Your Chart
The New Moon factor of a solar eclipse forecasts new beginnings, often born out of initial difficulties. A complete revision of operational strategies in the affected areas of life is not a matter of debate, but a product of necessity and endings. The scathing spotlight of a solar eclipse can expose truths and inevitability that have you crossing the rubicon, a point of no return. What happens, what you see, what comes to light marks a line irrevocably in the sand. Denial is not an option, accepting the truth and transfiguration of the details of life that correspond to this radical insurgency! Keep moving forward, don’t look back!
If aligned to natal Ascendent, Sun, Moon or in the angles of a chart, the changes can come in the arena of career, health, people departing, moving hearth and home and the like. If affecting a more innocuous area of the chart a milder reformation of an area of your life is all you need to brace for- still, it may be an overhaul that is long overdue. At 9 Virgo, the eclipse will be of greater significance to individuals with their Sun, Moon or Ascendent between 9-14 degrees of the mutable signs of Virgo, Pisces, Gemini, and Sagittarius.
The September Annular Eclipse is part of a series in the Pisces/Virgo axis that commenced on 20 March 2015 and will conclude with a final eclipse in February 2017, developing a theme in crucial area of your life and giving you time to assimilate the lessons, in these signs of sustainability, habit, routine, empathy, and sacrifices.
The September new moon Solar eclipse has a hard edge of realism with a theme of pushing through fears, apathy, and obstacles. In mundane astrology (of global earth events) one can see US presidential election hinging on the eclipse, an apt theme as historically eclipses were often thought to correspond to a change of ‘kings’, or a ruler’s fall from grace. In our own lives this eclipse is about the ties that bind, and ways that harm. Virgo is detail orientated, routines around work and health are where you want to commence with renovations.
September Solar Eclipse Aspects
Saturn square Neptune: The sine qua non of the September solar eclipse is without a doubt the nefarious square between Saturn and Neptune. Neptune and Saturn have such conflicting agendas and together churn up paranoia, dissatisfaction and general malaise, together sowing the seeds of doubt, inertia and trepidation. This fosters nothing so much as cognitive dissonance, an internal war between impulses that can never reconcile as bedfellows.
This aspect is making its last pass during September and yet is in degree for the chart of the eclipse, which should leave its lingering effects like a bad odour for another few months.
Neptune is idealism, empathy, and illusion and like a creeping fog, dissolves boundaries and has the quality of unreality- dreams, fiction, art, even the Divine. Dangers associated with Neptune (especially in square with Saturn) are escapism through ‘spirits’, addictions, ‘magical thinking’ (of the Pollyanna or head in the sand variety), religion in extremism. Whatever facilitates a denial or retreat from harsh reality. If you’ve found yourself in these traps since end 2015,by now you’ll know it isn’t helping! Your suffering is real, and sadness exasperated by guilt and loss can overwhelm. Self compassion and the cultivation of patience, self care, and practical actions will lead you out of this labyrinth of defeatism and self-recrimination.
Saturn, by contrast is the judge, the realist, the stern pater familias who restricts, constrains, and limits. A planet of concrete action, rules, structure and order. Boundaries, obstacles, resistance, limitations, and responsibilities are the onerous expression. Rewards for effort, for solid foundations, for the letter of the law.
The square produces tension seen in the world as contested borders (refugees), religious fundamentalism, economic uncertainty in no short supply. In our own life, the malfeasance is of an existential order, eroding structure, certainty and faith with paralysing immobility. Other less prosaic indications of this aspect are health problems which are difficult to diagnose, and following this analogy, houses with structural and/or plumbing problems. Overall, a lot of diffuse energy and dissipation of vitality. This aspect began in September 2015 and makes its last perfection early September. At last it will subside into welcome oblivion as the eclipse effects pan out in individual and global events.
Saturn square Neptune anchors resolutely with the Moon and Sun squaring Saturn and opposing Neptune. Lets look at how these aspects add up.
Sun square Saturn: Restrictions, duties, and responsibilities need to be tackled to the best of your abilities. This can be a test of your mettle, but bear up. There is a struggle for recognition of efforts, and obligations seem endless and are burdensome.
Sun opposes Neptune: An aspect that challenges a person’s certainty and resolution, making one unsure of their purpose and susceptible to unwanted and obfuscating influences.
Moon square Saturn: This shows up as restrictions on love and nurturing and consequently immaturity and stilted expression of emotions. The Moon is a swift planet, Saturn slow, a blend that often results in depression, a by-product of emotional constriction. Childhood patterns persist in adulthood.
Moon opposes Neptune: An aspect that strains the ability to discern the truth and one that can tip over into deception, escapism and substance abuse.
Antares– Saturn conjunct Antares. Vivian Robson says of the fixed star Antares with Saturn:
Materialistic, dishonest through circumstances created by environment, religious hypocrisy, many disappointments, loss through quarrels and legal affairs, trouble through enemies, many failures, hampered by relatives, unfavorable for domestic matters, much sickness to and sorrow from children.
Antares is a red binary star often referred to as ‘the heart of the Scorpion’, also considered an archangel star, the ‘Watcher of the West’. This is decidedly a malefic and war-mongering star and the degrees of violence in its recent wake- terror attacks, ISIL is substantial. In our personal lives look at where we cut off our nose to spite our face!
Cognitive Dissonance – conclusion
If you been struggling to accept a situation or a person for what it really is, (rather than what you wish it were)- square up with reality no matter how unsavory. Often we’ve invested so much resources, time, and effort into something that turns out to be erroneous. Rather than admit to folly in extremism, its human nature rather to dig your heels in and become ever more zealous, investing more – especially if it turns out you’ve been really, really wrong. Own up and cut your losses! Do a full body/mind/life scan to detect cognitive dissonance in its pernicious and pervasive forms. Its mutiny a seepage of energy, where vision is blurred, the water is muddy, and emotions are fearful and oppressive. There is the heavy weight of responsibilities and confusion around truth and direction. Try and discern the ‘voices’ of those warring impulses and decide once and for all whose side you’re on and silence the opposition. How are you gonna play this? Look to the long view- one can endure hardships if the direction we’re headed is promising. (far away as the destination may be alas!) Magically, my sense is that the correct actions would be the one’s which allow one, however incrementally to gain mobility. Hold on tight to your ‘truth’, this will allow you to identify and tackle your responsibilities with a semblance of grace. But first to ‘break the spell’, to sever the ties that bind, and discern ‘reality’- no easy feat under this heavenly assembly! The gradual cultivation of good habits, composure, routines in areas of health and work. Patience and care will allow healing to happen.
Eclipse Ritual – Break the spell
For this magickal act we will focus on breaking the spell of the personal delusions that bind us. In this case, ‘delusions’ are beliefs, perceptions or actions we stubbornly refuse to see as they truly are, often at our own peril. They are the source of self inflicted suffering and malease.
They are often tied to the ego, our sense of self worth or how we would like to be perceived by others. Modernity and the ‘human potential movement’ has produced a scourge of delusional ideas of ‘the self’. The concept that we all can be rock-stars, astronauts or presidents, that notion that we are ‘worth it’, no matter the cost or reality telling us otherwise. Or the concomitant discomfort generated by this cognitive dissonance.
Astrology teaches us that we are subject to the laws and cycles of the manifest universe, our fate, talents or faults fall subject to the same laws that govern all. The belief that we as humans are somehow above nature, instilled with a divine right to conquer and subjugate the world, ourselves and others, is an artifact of the abrahamic religious doctrine, Christianity in particular. The irony is that scientism and the new atheist movement adopted this model of ‘man through science can conquer all’, without being self reflective about where these ideas first manifested. A few hundred years ago it was ‘man through the divine right bestowed by god can conquer all’. They are one in the same as a pathology, and this week we will attempt to exorcise ourselves from such ‘mind-viruses’, to sacrifice the delusions and return to a space of equilibrium, peace and in tune with the laws and cycles that govern all.
Both spells draw heavy inspiration from folk magick and the hoodoo tradition. Astrological timing is the special ingredient that will ensure success.
Break and cast away your delusions spell
This will be performed on the 1st of September during the solar eclipse. Timing here is crucial so make sure you do it day of the eclipse. If you can do it exactly during the eclipse even better.
For this you’ll need:
- Raw egg – nothing special, any egg bought at local grocery store should suffice
- Fine lined black marker – you’ll use this to write on the egg
- Crossroads with little traffic – you’ll perform the last part of the ritual here
A few days before the eclipse start preparing for the ritual by writing down what you know your delusions are. It could be an addiction, like smoking, that you blindly ignore will kill you or a relationship that you hope will just magically work even though history tells otherwise.
Think of all the things that just don’t change but you firmly hold a belief to that they will. Think of all the ideas you hold about yourself that no objective observer can validate.
This should not be easy work, infact the harder it is the better. This is very uncomfortable territory and should feel as such. If you think you’re free of delusion see it as a sure symptom of being delusional. It’s part of the human condition, no one is exempt.
Once you have a list of things you were in denial about, take the raw egg and hold it in both hands. Close your eyes and focus on these delusions, see them pouring into the egg. You can also get undressed and rub the egg all over your body while visualising it absorbing what you wrote down. As a bonus you can visualise the egg absorbing all negativity, anger, resentment etc.
Do this for 3 days in a row, spending 15-30 minutes with your egg, before the 1st of September. On your last day take the fine line black marker and write down keywords on the egg describing the points on your list. If you can fit short sentences on the egg, even better. Now you can wrap the egg in some paper in preparation for the final part.
On the 1st of September go to a crossroads with your egg wrapped up. Try to keep this a good distance from your home and it should not be on a regular route you take daily. A good trick is to walk your dog if you have one so as to not draw attention and have some protection. Once you’re at the crossroads say the following statement either aloud or softly – depending on the time and privacy: “I cast this burden of delusion and I’m set fee”. Turn your back to the crossroads, take out your egg, unwrap it and throw it over your shoulder into the crossroads and walk away immediately without looking back. This is important, once the egg is thrown you want to briskly walk/drive home.
That’s it! This spell is an adaption of a old hoodoo spell used to break a hex or a curse. In this case we treated our delusions as a self inflicted curse that needs to be broken.
See the beauty in reality, learn to love your fate.
Now that we’ve broken the curse we need some positive magick to smooth over the rough edges of the previous work. For this we’ll create a sweeting jar. Sweeting jars are usually made to compel others to act favourably towards us, but in this case we want to generate ‘self favour’ and positive self esteem outside the bounds of the delusions we just broke.
For this you’ll need:
- A small glass jar with a steel lid – think of jam jars or even baby food jars
- Some sweetness – this could be honey, golden syrup or plain brown sugar
- Some rose petals or rose oil
- Some cinnamon or cinnamon oil
- A white candle
- A piece of paper
- A clipping of your own hair and toe/finger nail clippings
On the piece of paper write down a few positive statements about yourself and your life as it is. Think of mundane things you might be good at but don’t feel that passionate about. Go back to your delusions for inspiration by finding the opposite of each delusion. For example you might have thought you deserved something but never seemed to get it, although you are a consistent source of positivity for others. While in the state of delusion you could resent your better nature, the part of you that is selfless and giving, because you felt you deserved the same treatment in return. This resentment could manifest as you not being helpful, withdrawn and angry. In this case you will write down “I am a kind and giving person and this brings me joy”. Always write these statement in the positive and present tense.
Now that you have your positive statement written down, fold up the paper and place it in your jar. Fill the jar 3/4 with sugar, honey or golden syrup. Add a pinch of cinnamon and some rose petals or oil. Add some of your own hair and nail clippings. Top up with more sweet stuff till full and give it a good stir. You can now seal the jar.
Now you need to decide and a good time to meditate on your jar and what you wrote down. Before sleeping or after waking is recommended. Place a white candle on your jar and light it. Spend a few minutes focusing on the candle while meditating on your statements. Do this for a few days until the candle is completely burned out and the wax sealed the lid. Place the jar in a private safe place in your home and forget about it.
Ritual contributed by R.F. Retief