Can Eclipses Bring Good Things?

When reading the article on my astrology site regarding the Lunar Eclipse of January 21, 2019, a friend of mine noticed that I suggested that the launching of the modern Olympic Games was related to the Saros Series that this past Lunar Eclipse belongs to. In response to that, my friend asked me whether eclipses could bring good things?

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That is a really interesting question, I think. In my research, many inventions seem to have been related to eclipses, as was Christopher Columbus’s discovery of the Americas. This would seem to be problematic to my assertion that eclipses represent periodic, temporary triumphs of Dark over Light. Or is it?

It would take a wiser person than I to have anything that resembles a full and complete answer to this question, but I do have some thoughts on the matter. To start with, I think that it is undeniable that eclipses can bring things that are beneficial to some people. For example, I live in the United States, and I would not be living here if the discovery of the Americas did not happen. On the other hand, this discovery was not beneficial for everyone, and indeed, it was quite harmful to the original inhabitants of this continent.

In order to unravel this mystery, it may be helpful to look at the Symbol of the Cross and our nature as Axial Beings.

The Symbol of the Cross

The CrossI have discussed the Symbol of the Cross before, but here is a brief overview. The Cross relates to the material world. It has two axes, the horizontal and vertical. The horizontal axis relates to pure materiality, and the vertical axis relates to spirituality. Even though they cross in the middle, these two axes are independent of each other. One can do very well on the material axis while falling into Darkness on the spiritual axis. In the Christian written tradition, Jesus is reported to say, “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:24, NRSV. Likewise, it is possible for someone to do poorly on the material axis while rising towards the Light on the spiritual axis. Indeed, in the same Christian tradition, this was the fate of the saints and martyrs.

Inventions and discoveries often give us a more comfortable life on the material level. In this sense, they are good and beneficial. On the other hand, they are usually neutral and can even be harmful to us on a spiritual level. In many cases, inventions are necessary due to the fact that we have declined on both a material and a spiritual level. See also The Bugbear of Literacy by Ananda K. Coomaraswamy.

So, in effect, there is no reason why there should not be things that are beneficial on a material level associated with eclipses. I would say that even so, there is a good chance for there to be an element of Darkness involved as well. That is certainly the case with the discovery of the Americas, and it could be argued that there has been some Darkness surrounding the Olympics from time to time in its history. I will address the Olympics in more detail later, but before I do, I would like to discuss another element of discoveries related to eclipses.

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Eclipses and the Modern Scientific Worldview

Not only have there been many discoveries that have been astrologically associated with eclipses, but eclipses themselves have led to direct discoveries about the Universe, or at least the mechanical workings of it. While these discoveries are interesting and even useful, they have also prompted the current belief system of the modern Western scientific community. This belief system appears to be that the Cosmos is merely a mechanical place governed by chance and random events. In this belief system, an eclipse is merely a shadow.

Yet, in spite of this, or perhaps because of it, there is almost a religious fervor to encourage people to go out and watch eclipses. In a sense, viewing an eclipse seems to be almost of the nature of a religious test to prove that one is not bound by the “superstitions” of the past. In this respect, I do believe that the modern embrace of eclipses is an intentional movement into Darkness, even though there have been technological advancements associated with it.

Our Nature As Axial Beings

This being said, I think there something different going on in the case of the Olympics. Yes, there have been negative things associated with the Olympics including violence and countries using them for political purposes in terms of boycotts and the like. On the other hand, I do believe that the modern Olympics is a positive development not just on the material level, but a movement towards the Light on a spiritual level. Indeed, even the negative things that have happened may have prevented wars and more serious problems as countries could take their aggression out on the Olympics instead.

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Yet, it does appear that they are related to eclipses. There was a Total Lunar Eclipse that occurred on November 4, 1892. Later that month, on November 23, 1892, Pierre de Coubertin launched the plans for the modern Olympic Games. This eclipse was 44 minutes long, and if you count a month for every minute of totality, this would mean that the full impact of this eclipse would not be felt for another three years and four months. This would be the end of March and early April 1896. This was the beginning of the first modern Olympics in Athens.

So, what is going on?

I think this has to do with our nature as Axial Beings. Humans are the ones with the power to choose. Even if Darkness is present, we have the choice to embrace it or reject it. From my research, one of the features of eclipses is that they seem to be times when our Axial nature is tested. There are many repentance stories surrounding eclipses. One of them was the Eclipse of Thales that stopped a war according to Herodotus. There was a long-standing war between the Medes and the Lydians. There was a Solar Eclipse that occurred during the battle, which caused the parties to stop fighting and negotiate a peace.

Perhaps the launching of the modern Olympic Games is of this nature.

Implications

So, what does this mean?

In Modern Astrology, often eclipses are presented as times of opportunity and spiritual growth. It would seem that this might be the case from what I have said.

Yet, I think this goes too far.

Of course, whenever we have a crisis, there is an opportunity for growth. When there is a death in the family, when we have a tragedy, or when we face a serious illness, it is common for people to view these as turning points in their lives. They can even be the catalyst for deep spiritual awakening. Does that mean we should embrace these times? There is the old saying, “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.”

This leads to the deeper question of what is the point of suffering, which is a subject that has confounded spiritual leaders and theologians for millennia.

I cannot claim to have the answer to this question; however, I think that the best practice is still to avoid eclipses as much as possible. Yes, it seems like it is possible that good things can come from eclipses, but it is not something to expect or hope for. Just as we might experience spiritual growth from a tragedy, we would not willingly embrace such a tragedy to obtain this growth. In the same way, it seems like a bad idea to embrace eclipses.

Fate, Free Will, the Cross, and Wa

During and after the “Enlightenment,” predictive astrology lost favor as a respected craft.  One of the reasons for this is that predictive astrology contradicted Enlightenment notions of Free Will.  How can one predict anything, particularly in a Nativity chart, when we all have Free Will to be whatever we want to be?  This is likely a particularly popular argument in the United States, where children are taught things like, “America is the land of opportunity,” and “every kid can grow up to be the President.”

The CrossThe problem is that in the West, the traditional concept of Free Will has been misunderstood for some time.  The crux of the difficulty is mistaking freedom of choice for freedom of action.  We may not always have freedom of action, but we always have freedom of choice.

In order to explain the traditional concept of Free Will, it becomes helpful to look at the symbol of the Cross.  While Christianity has adopted the Cross as its symbol, the Cross long predates Christianity, and it is a primordial symbol.  On one level, the Cross is the symbol of the material world.  It is one of the three symbols that are used in the glyphs for the planets.  The other two are the Circle and the Crescent.  Actually, the symbol of the Cross makes sense for Christianity, in the belief that the Divine became incarnate in a living human being.

If one looks deeper into the symbolism of the Cross, one will see that it is made up of a horizontal line with a vertical line intersecting.  The horizontal line represents our life on the material plane.  This is our day to day physical existence.  The vertical intercepting line represents an upward or downward path.  Humans are Axial Beings.  This means that we are at the center or the axis of the cross.  As Axial Beings, we have the choice to live at the level of physical existence.  Animals live at this level of existence.  This is not our only choice though.  We can choose to live at a higher level of existence.  This level has nothing to do with physical wealth or success.  This level is choosing a higher spiritual life, or listening to our “higher angels.”  We can also choose to live at a lower level of existence.  We can succumb to our “demons,” as it were (humans are capable of evil that animals – literally – cannot dream of).  In popular culture, there is the image of a little angel and a little devil sitting on our shoulders, both whispering in our ears.

This is the essence of the traditional notion of Free Will, the day to day choice between the purely material, our “higher angels,” and our “demons.”  The traditional notion of Free Will was not freedom to do what one wants on the material plane.  The notion of individual freedom of action, in this sense, is quite out of place.  There is no real word in English to really explain this concept, so I will borrow a word from Japanese.  The word is wa.  The rough translation of wa is harmony, but a harmony beyond music.  This is the harmony of the heavens that is transmitted to Earth and governs everything from day to day routines to social relationships to spiritual rituals.  Wa governs everything.  The opposite of wa is fuwa, which is disruption of the celestial harmony.

The concept of wa is quite similar to the doctrine of the Music of the Spheres in astrology.  In a sense, astrology is being able to read and listen to this celestial music.  We are born with a particular part to play in the Music of the Spheres.  In a traditional society, we would generally know our part and be raised to sing or play that part.  Few of us reading this will have ever lived in a traditional society, so we can use all of the help we can get to learn to play or sing our part.  A good guide (who could be an astrologer) could help one find her natural wa, can point the way to the path of learning to excel at her part in the Celestial Music, and can warn her of temptations that may lead her to the lower path, or to fuwa.  So, in a large sense, such guidance not only does not negate Free Will, but it helps one to exercise her Free Will.

A good astrologer should be able to predict with reasonable accuracy events on the material plane.  Most people, most of the time, will operate on the horizontal plane of existence.  In other words, we tend to do what comes naturally to us.  With a Nativity Chart, one can also predict with reasonable accuracy the areas of one’s life where she is most open to the guidance of the angels, and where she is more likely to be tempted by her “demons.”  What can not be predicted, though, is whether a person will actually listen to the angel or the devil on her shoulder.  That choice can sometimes be a day by day choice.  This is really what is meant by Free Will.

Here is a concrete example.  One can predict that a person is likely to be quite irritable on a given day.  One can even predict that it would be likely she would have a fight with her spouse.  If she is aware of the celestial influence, she might be wise enough to go to bed early or go out to the gym to work off her excess martial energy.  If she is unaware, or does not manage to avoid the conflict, and a conflict ensues, there are still choices.  She could choose to apologize quickly and reconcile with her spouse, she could keep the fight going for days, or she could let the fight escalate to the point of a divorce with her spouse.  One can predict the potential for conflict, but one can not predict the actual choice she (or her spouse) will make in response to it.

Interestingly enough, as I mentioned above, the modern scientific world view in many ways negates this Free Will.  One example of this is the scientific notion that we are merely animals, or that we are on the same level of existence as animals, that our actions and behaviors are governed by chemicals and biology. This would mean that, like animals, we are not able to rise above or fall below than our horizontal, physical existence.*  Another example of a modern theory that seems to deny Free Will is the concept of “infinite universes.”  In this theory, every time anyone makes a choice, a new universe is created.  In the above example of the potential fight with the spouse, each of those choices has been made, with each of these choices creating a different universe.  If you think about this, this would mean that we really do not have choice.  For every choice that we make, an alternate of us has made every other choice possible.  This does not seem consistent with the doctrine of Free Will or with our place as Axial Beings.

If one thinks about it, the traditional doctrine of Free Will does allow for far more freedom than the materialistic notion of being able to “do whatever we want.”  Most of us are limited in many ways, by financial status, by health, by class, by education, by natural ability, by age, or by many other factors, in our means to do “what we want.”  Yet, no matter our circumstances, we can always choose the purely material, our higher angels, or our demons at any time and at any point in our lives.  No matter how limited our freedom of action is, we always have freedom of choice.

See also:

Nativity Charts and Free Will

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*Actually animals *can* rise above or fall below their horizontal physical existence as well, but it is rare. An example that has been passed down to this author from a respected teacher is that of a dog. A dog can rise above her horizontal physical existence by performing an act such as saving the life of her owner, or can fall below by going rogue. Still most of the time, a dog is going to just be a dog and will do what comes naturally to her.