Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Solstice Lunar Eclipse Stuff

The blogosphere's been abuzz with things to do on eclipse-solstice night, but I didn't do anything special with it. I don't understand astrology well enough to know what the effects will be, and I've learned not to work from a position of ignorance and assumption when doing magic, it can have really bad effects.

On the Spiritus Mundi list, the topic came up, and John Michael Greer pointed out a couple of interesting things:

  1. The eclipse is not on the solstice. It finishes more than 15 hours before the solstice, so it's just an eclipse near the solstice.
  2. Greer quoted William Ramesey's Astrolgia Restaurata, and then made some analysis of the actual chart as it is, not as it seems to folks not familiar with astrology. See the group for more information, but he summarizes thus: Political troubles, poor public health, and a bad vegetable crop.

This matters because hen we're talking astrological magic, we're talking about the specific forces that are affecting a particular moment. As soon as you start conjuring up the forces of the heavens that are being projected through the Earth, you're taking a snapshot of the moment and saying to the universe, "I want the forces represented right here, right now to apply to the following things," and then you list the targets of the forces available, i.e. political troubles, poor public health, or bad vegetable crops.

So any magic you may have done to channel these forces will succeed, but maybe not the way you wanted them to.

Now, I wish I had time to read the posts before the eclipse, but I didn't. I wish I'd posted a warning ahead of time, because this kind of magic is tricky, and can lead to bad things if you don't know what you're doing, but I didn't. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and I missed the chance to give an ounce of prevention. Sorry about that.

But at least you can take into account the traditional meaning of the eclipse near the winter solstice and maybe make some adjustments to any rites you've done if necessary, or have a clue to figure out the source of any political, health, or ... uh ... vegetable crop issues you may have if you've done some Work on the occasion in hopes of getting something good. You'll have to find a way to turn that into a pound of cure, if anything bad surfaces.

And remember, when you do astrological magic, you're taking your idea of what you want to the tool shed, and then seeing what tools and materials you have to work with. At that point, you have to figure out how you can build your desired intent with the tools at hand. Based on your personal ingenuity, you can usually find a way to structure a rite that will get you what you want with the forces and materials available. It takes thought, planning, and understanding of the forces at work to be successful at this kind of thing. And ingenuity.


  1. Someone (ahem...) posted in many places yesterday that the full moon/eclipse and the Soltice did not coincide-there was/is a full day of daylight between. Tonight will be the Solstice.

    Maybe Yahoo News and CNBC is not the best place to get your astrological event timing?

  2. Interesting - I'm curious, does 'poor public health' refer specifically to physical health, or could it be applied (for example) to the health of a community in terms of interpersonal interactions? I know that might be a bit of an extension, but I'm thinking of an example of a community that has some fairly unhealthy disagreements going on currently that could really use some smoothing-over, and that to me processes as 'community health'. Viable, or better to direct myself toward actual medical health issues?

  3. @Lavanah: I missed those, but yeah, it's not the kind of election modern media is particularly skilled at covering.

    @Heather: I think the old texts were referring to outbreaks of the plague. Physical health issues that hit communities. Greer suggested as a whole that the political health care mess will continue to be a mess in his interpretation. And that vegetable crops would be afflicted. I'd direct myself towards making sure my family has their flu vaccine shots, beefing up the immune system with vitamin C and echinacea and goldenseal, and avoiding places where the plague gets spread. Like the mall.

  4. Oh, and my advice is always to avoid the mall, so take that with a grain of salt. I hates me some mall.

  5. I was under the impression that traditional astrology says eclipses are bad omens and terrible times for doing occult work.

    Just because it comes around every 500 years does not mean it good for magic.

  6. @Beneath: That's generally true, but a solar eclipse is the moment the Moon goes Cazimi, right? So it's afflicted up to the point where it goes cazimi, and then it's all super powered, and then it's all afflicted again. And the moment of cazimi is brief, so timing it right is tricky.

    But bad omens don't necessarily mean bad time for magic, only that the forces you can direct are "bad." In the proper proportions, a poison can become a cure. If you know lunar forces are in detriment, you can focus that on something lunar you want to eliminate, maybe. It's risky, and it's always safer to not do anything, but the safe path leads to stagnation.

  7. According to my software, last night (Monday night) was actually a teensy bit longer than tonight (Tuesday night) will be. As far as I am aware, today is the "solstice" because it is the shortest day. So the longest night preceded the shortest day. It happens. I'm not entirely sure which to consider the solstice, honestly (ignorance at work here).

    As for myself, I did some destruction/path-clearing magic during the first half, and some rebuilding during the second half. I'll let you know if it ends up blowing up in my face... ya know, for science or something.

  8. @PR:

    for SCIENCE!!!

    and for fun. you could even write a blog post about it.

  9. Traditionally eclipses are bad omens, but I agree with RO that does not necessarily mean that it is a bad time for magic; it just depends on your intentions and what you expect to actually occur as a result. Full and new moons are also 'general cock ups' for some types of astrological practice. Also, eclipses happen frequently, not every 500 years. They occur when the Sun and Moon come into conjunction or opposition with the nodes (and each other simultaneously) this occurs 4-6 times a year an in the signs that the nodes are in at the time. So that is currently Capricorn/Cancer but moving to Sag/Gemini next year.
    The eclipse was visible in the USA (I believe) but it was in effect all over the world - we only have the one Moon and the one Sun, so if one blots out the other then we are all affected by that in some way. The thing about visibility is, as far as I'm aware, related to the actual effects of the eclipse. So, the effects are supposed to follow the path of the eclipse. Then there is the question of timing. My understanding (from memory - so bound to be dodgy) is that lunar eclipses have a time delay factor of months according to the duration of the eclipse. So if the eclipse lasts 5 minutes the effects will occur over the path of the eclipse in around 5 months. Solar eclipses are years. This could be vice versa but I'm pretty sure it's right. Problem is I CANNOT remember the source, I know a friend taught it to me years ago and he knew his stuff but I cannot remember where he told me he learned it (maybe Zoller?). I tried years ago to track the path of an eclipse using an eclipse path map from NASA (can't remember which eclipse) but I gave up as it was too difficult to even read the dodgy print out of this 'map'.
    Eclipses are generally bad news from the perspective of traditional western astrology and in many other cultures too - the death of the king is a typical prediction for a solar eclipse (I hope you can easily see the symbolism of that). There is a lot of mumbo jumbo about them in modern astrology that I just cannot get my head round, so take what you read with a pinch of salt. I remember I attended a 'healing' relatively recently that was a bit new agey: they kept banging on about the full Moon being in sign X like it was a miracle - but it happens regularly - don't get hung up on it.
    However, in Tibetan culture there is a system where if you do your puja on the day of a full or new moon the effects are amplified. If you do your practice on an eclipse they are super amplified due to the 'void' effect of one planet being devoured by the demon; your intentions and actions (hopefully good) are more needed due to the malefic influence of the eclipse. However, a lot of this results in gaining 'merit' and not necessarily delivering 'effects'.

    Is that a bit long? Yes. Sorry!

  10. FYI: My calculations were also that last night was the longest night and today the shortest day. The solstice as a moment in time is about 3:30 this afternoon, which means that tonight will be just a tiny hair shorter. I celebrate the solstices not as an astrological moment though, but as either the longest night (winter) or longest day (summer).

    As for the meaning of a lunar eclipse, well we did some heavy duty cleansing and banishing magic and will save the drawing magic for around the New Year (and New Moon).

  11. My only magic during the eclipse was to leave my work ( I work 3rd shift)on several occasions to go scan the heavens in the freezing cold to search for the elusive moon that was totally eclipsed by thick cloud cover.

  12. Damn it, Frater, don't piss on my parade. I had very positive divinations for my working, and a remarkably successful evocation, so I'm going to hold my thumb to my nose and go "blebadablebada" at you.

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