The solar eclipse in Libra takes place on Saturday October 14th at 18:00(UT) is an annular solar eclipse and lasts for just over five minutes. The awful events currently taking place in Israel and Gaza serve to remind us that solar eclipses were traditionally regarded as ‘portents of doom’ and manifestations of evil. The darkening sky was seen as a sign that death and destruction would follow in the wake of the solar eclipse, as the absence of light was viewed as unnatural and demonic, and many ceremonies and traditions evolved to chase away the darkness. Current events show they were right to do so.
There are other legends that draw on the symbolic nature of the Sun and Moon representing the opposites of masculine and feminine; the coming together of male and female represented a moment of great fertility. Just as many superstitions proclaim solar eclipses to be dangerous for pregnant women; in some societies they are advised not to look at the eclipse in case evil spirits damage the baby. That is an old wives tale; the most damaging thing you can do is look at the eclipse directly, as it will damage your eyesight. If you want to watch this solar eclipse in Libra – please follow the official safety advice.
What is an Annular Solar Eclipse?
Followers of this website – and of lunations and eclipses in general – will know that not all solar eclipses are created equal. They fall into different categories – total, annular, partial and hybrid – depending on how the Sun, Moon and Earth are in alignment. This solar eclipse in Libra is an annular eclipse and like any other solar eclipse, it takes place when the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth. However, an annular eclipse occurs when the Moon is close to its most distant point from the earth (apogee).
When this occurs, the Moon appears small and does not cover the disc of the Sun; there will always be a ‘ring of fire’ visible during the solar eclipse. It’s a fairly rare type of solar eclipse only happening every couple of years or so. In astrological terms, that makes it special; the ring of fire eclipse in astrology signifies something you would expect with with such an obvious symbolism – it lights a fire – and it’s a fire that may burn for a very long time.
Solar Eclipses: An Astrological Perspective
In astrology, solar eclipses are regarded as moments of new beginnings. They are a ‘new moon’, but they are a new moon with an enormous amount of power. New moons are regarded as ‘seeding times’, but solar eclipses represent something more than that – they often signal a complete change of direction because they tend to portend a transformational moment, the kind of moment that changes the course of your life – or the course of history.
I tend to think of solar eclipses as having a kind of plutonic or Scorpio type of energy – regardless of the sign in which the solar eclipse occurs – and that’s because the events indicated by the eclipse often take you to another place – either literally or symbolically. A solar eclipse represents a new cycle in your life (or on history) and that means things will be different from what they were before. A solar eclipse is, therefore a break with habit or with the past – and it’s one that you would go back on at your peril.
This is appropriate, as solar eclipses have their own cyclical pattern. The Ancient Babylonians were among the first people to recognise that eclipses follow a cycle – we call them the Saros cycles and each single Saros lasts for just over 18 years – the time it takes for the Sun-Moon-Earth alignment to return to the geometrical conditions required to produce a near identical eclipse.
Events that take place at those intervals often have a common theme; if I can return to the tragedy unfolding in Israel and Gaza, it is actually eighteen years since Israel withdrew from the Gaza strip – and arguably all of the current events were set in motion. All things that begin also end – or must change so significantly that they take on a new form.. That, tragically for so many people in the Middle East, seems to be where we are now – and it accords entirely with the nature of this solar eclipse cycle.
If we look at eclipses from a personal perspective, it’s important to realise that they don’t act in isolation – whatever happens around the time of the eclipse will usually be backed up by other astrological factors, such as transits, solar returns and progressions. So, when you look at where the solar eclipse falls in your natal chart (the house, aspects etc.) it’s important to place it into a holistic context. And, those of you old enough may care to look back eighteen years and think about what beginnings were made in your life all those years ago.
Solar Eclipse in Libra: The Energy
This solar eclipse is in Libra, so let’s pause and look at the energy associated with this sign. It’s easy to associate Libra with love or collaboration, but it may be helpful to think of Libra in terms of ‘the other’ – and that may be much more helpful in explaining why an energy that we often associate with togetherness, can seem so polarising and divisive. The concept of ‘the other’ is a problematic one, but it’s one that resonates with Libra, as objectifying a person – or people – involves judgement based on perceived worth and difference. And it’s often mutual. The thing to remember with Libra energy is this: it takes two.
Through its association with the seventh house, Libra energy is directed at those we love – as well as our open enemies – those we hate. As with most of the dual signs, Libra energy can go one way or the other – literally so, as procrastination and vacillation are classic Libra traits. In the context of the solar eclipse, this duality frames the dilemma that may occur, both at the time of the eclipse and in the following weeks – or even months. Such is the power of a solar eclipse that it’s symbolism is often made evident to us by events that we cannot overlook. The symbolism of this solar eclipse may come as no surprise…
Which way do you go, which team do you support, exactly what is your priority – and how do you choose between competing yet equally important concerns? This solar eclipse could throw up more questions than it answers – and (in true Libra style) the only thing to do in that situation, is to sit down, weigh the evidence and make a judgement, based on what you know – and what you believe to be right. The nature of that judgement will be influenced by the house placement and contacts that the solar eclipse makes with your natal chart.
At this stage, it’s worth reminding ourselves of some of the manifestations of Libra energy we see in the real world – as they may come to prominence in the coming weeks; justice, the law, equality, equilibrium, taking sides, co-operation, negotiation, fostering relationships, mutuality, mending fences, opposition, diplomacy and mediation. There are also some less positive Libra associations, such as superficiality, non-committal, vanity, discrimination, saving ‘face’ – and a surprising amount of vengeance if things go wrong. Justice can become rough justice if things aren’t going well.
Solar Eclipse in Libra: The Chart
Solar Eclipse in Libra: The Aspects
The solar eclipse chart sets out the key concerns of the solar eclipse – whether that’s at a global level – or at a purely personal level – the underlying dynamics and symbolism are the same. So, this solar eclipse is (as I’ve already mentioned) an eclipse where the Moon is at ‘apogee,’ and that makes it a south node eclipse, as the eclipse is opposite the north node in Aries. A south node eclipse is associated with endings, release and letting go – it tells us that it’s time to jettison those things that no longer serve us well.
In Libra, that’s a process that has as much potential for conflict as it does for collaboration and support, so before you decide what to release, you need to evaluate the ‘pros and cons’ of doing so. Sometimes the answer will be obvious, sometimes less so – and that may bring about some Libra style procrastination. However, the aspects to the solar eclipse may help you to focus on what needs to be done – and there are some strenuous planets involved.
The eclipse is conjunct Mercury; it’s also inconjunct (150˚ aspect) Uranus in Taurus, and is square Pluto in Capricorn. It is also opposed by Chiron the wounded healer. Chiron represents our deepest emotional and spiritual wounds – the type of hurt that never heals; we simply have to learn to live with it. It’s a collection of aspects that point towards this not being the easiest of solar eclipses, so let’s look at the aspects in more detail to discover if that’s going to be true. In astrology there are two sides to everything – and with Libra in the mix, that fact is one that is likely to be emphasised.
Solar Eclipse conjunct Mercury in Libra
Mercury is found 4˚ from the eclipse in a fairly close conjunction, and that means that Mercury is combust. A combust planet in astrology is one that is so close to the Sun that it feels the heat. Like Icarus in the ancient myth, there is a price to be paid for that, and a combust Mercury does not function as well as we would expect. Our Mercury functions (thought, speech, communications) are at the service of the Sun and, as the Sun represents the ego, you can see the direction of travel. Opinion becomes ‘opinionated’ and words are self-reinforcing or self-reflective.
So, during (and after) this solar eclipse, it may be difficult to appreciate any ideas about any issue – other than your own. And this is particularly so if events have an emotional impact on you. Libra isn’t an emotional sign – in fact it’s known for being clear-sighted – but Mercury is also opposite Chiron. The solar eclipse may mean acknowledging that you need to release an emotional attachment and that may require you to be objective rather than subjective. Whatever the issue – and whether it’s personal or otherwise – you may be torn between one response and another. Nothing is as clearcut as you would like it to be.
Solar Eclipse Inconjunct Uranus in Taurus
Uranus in Taurus has been upsetting the applecart for some time now – and it’s far from being finished with us. It’s the planet most associated with shocks and surprises, of events that demand a rapid response and of sudden – often inexplicable – changes of direction. And back again. There’s an extra ‘uranian’ feel to this connection, as the inconjunct aspect is the geometrical relationship that signifies having to adjust to new or unforeseen circumstances – and having to cope with a situation that is uncomfortable, irritating or just plain awkward.
You may not have chosen to be in the situation that you’re in, but you’re there and you’re going to have to make the best of it. That’s one way of looking at this. With Uranus, you’re going to have to make a rapid adjustment to something – so a state of shock is usually part of the picture. However, it’s not all bad; shocks, surprises and rapid adjustments can occur for good reasons as well as the not so good variety. Let me give you a couple of examples:
- A client who will have the eclipse hit his sixth house, discovered only a day or so ago that his blood pressure and cholesterol readings were high – his wife had persuaded him to take part in a scientific/medical study (Uranus) and now he will need to adjust his lifestyle as a result. When we discussed this, he felt reluctant to acknowledge the ‘march of time’ and the impact it would have on his diet. he was shocked at being faced with facts he couldn’t ignore – but realises he will need to adjust, as ignoring the facts would be life-threatening. Ultimately, a negative event may have positive results.
- This one is more personal: a young friend works for a major scientific corporation (Uranus) and was sent to cover an important political conference (Uranus) for her company. The report she writes is likely to have major implications for her career. The solar eclipse falls in her 10th house – I suspect the impact may change the trajectory of her career and that may impact on her relationships (Libra) as well as her domestic life. Career advancement may result in many adjustments for her – and some hard choices may have to be made. Whatever her choices are, they are likely to set her course for the future.
So, what you will see from both examples, is that this solar eclipse has the potential to be life changing – and life changing is the speciality of Pluto – the next planet in aspect to the solar eclipse.
Solar Eclipse Square Pluto in Capricorn
The square aspect to Pluto in Capricorn is dynamic. It’s tense and it demands action. ‘Now or never’ is the theme here, as Pluto tends to give you one opportunity to turn things around – before slamming the door in your face. Or worse. And it’s sometimes painful. And often frightening. You simply have to trust that things will work out okay. And that’s not always a bad thing. Every time you enter a new phase of life, you have no idea what the future will bring (trust me, I’m an astrologer…) You simply have to face the future – and breathe. And being honest with yourself doesn’t hurt either.
In the context of this solar eclipse, there are many people – sadly – who will be facing cataclysmic and plutonic events that threaten to overwhelm them – or worse. Given the nature of the world in which we live, none of us can be unmoved by tragedy and destruction, and it transforms our own sense of security – and how we engage with life. How safe do you feel? Do you feel compassion or consumed with rage, or powerless, or fatalistic? Or all of them simultaneously? Those are Pluto driven responses to events like those in Israel and Gaza, where we can see Plutonian forces in full sway.
Perhaps if I personalise this solar eclipse, you will see that’ it’s possible to experience those feelings in relation to events in your own lives. I suspect few of you are going to make headline news, but whatever happens in your life, Pluto in this solar eclipse is a reminder that we have to let go – or the universe does the ‘letting go’ on our behalf – and it’s better to be in control of events, than powerless in the face of something much bigger than you.
If you do find yourself in the latter position, expect to feel that numb visceral blow – or ecstasy you’ve never felt before. It’s Pluto’s way of making you feel alive – and that’s what Pluto wants you to be.The challenge with this solar eclipse is to let go of the things that are preventing you from experiencing life to the full; the shock event may be that you wake up one morning with that realisation.
Solar Eclipse Opposite Chiron in Aries
Finally. Chiron the wounded healer. When we have nothing left, when we accept our lot in life, our pain, our wounds – whatever they are – Chiron grants us the wisdom to help others, as we wish we could have been helped ourselves. Somewhere, in the darkness of the solar eclipse, is a lesson that you need to learn if you are ever going to be able to overcome whatever it is that pains you most – and prevent it from undermining your efforts at every step of the way.
Every one of us has a weakness or fatal flaw – and it’s that flaw that needs to be brought into the light and accepted for what it is. Chiron tells us that we cannot rid ourselves of our wounds – or pretend that they don’t exist. In a solar eclipse dominated by Pluto (which squares the Moons nodes) Chiron offers acceptance, acknowledgement and relief from whatever trauma shaped your past. It’s part of the healing process that enables all of us to start a new chapter in our lives – both individually and collectively. There is always the need to heal – and it’s only by acknowledging this need, that true transformation can begin.
It’s a tough solar eclipse, but ultimately – it may mark a pivotal moment in your life. Use it well.
© Sara Shipman 2023