Why eclipses are meaningful
muratart/ShutterstockIt's only human to look up into the stars, to watch the sun set and rise, and to think of our place in the grand scheme of it all. Eclipses, being relatively rare events, have always held special significance. Throughout history civilizations have created myths and astrological calendars based around eclipses. Today, people will still flock to places that will give them the best chance of capturing a total eclipse. This is why we talked to Dr. Athena Perrakis, an expert in the field of astrology and owner of the Los Angeles based company Sage Goddess, about the solar eclipse on August 21. With over 30 years of experience in the metaphysical space, Perrakis has spent much of her time contemplating the meaning of solar eclipses.
The main thing to know, besides the best places to watch the solar eclipse, is that eclipses are very special events that have been recorded and marked and measured by our ancestors for thousands of years. "The reason they're so special, just in terms of the actual astronomical phenomenon, is that the sun, the moon, and the earth have to be in the exact, perfect, right line for the eclipse to occur," she explains. "We go back sometimes to history and mythology and look at the stories that our ancestors created about why eclipses occur, and they believed it was a sign for us that we were coming to the end of a cycle and a new cycle was beginning." So with centuries of pondering behind us, what have we determined that an eclipse means for our horoscope?
A pivotal time
AstroStar/ShutterstockEclipses don't just have a visual impact, but they have a great personal impact as well, according to Perrakis. "Eclipse cycles tend to run in 18-month periods," she explains. "And so for people who are trying to understand it personally, they might want to look back first to the last solar eclipse, which happened in March of 2016. It's going to be the end of that cycle for people. So they're gonna say, 'What have I learned since March 2016 until August 2017? What themes have come up for me? What challenges have come up for me?' It's about seeing this eclipse moment as an opportunity to change the way you're orienting yourself to those challenges or those experiences or those lessons and themes." An eclipse is the best time—astrologically speaking—to take stock of your life and yourself. It should be a time of reflection and learning, a time when understanding your past can give you a better concept of your future. (Your horoscope might have just changed—should you care?)
agsandrew/ShutterstockThere are three main things that happen during an eclipse period. First, there's some kind of change, whether it's an external change or an internal change, and a kind of personal transformation that occurs in relation to that change. So whatever change in your life the eclipse brings about will also change you. "But the big theme of eclipses is revelation," Perrakis says. "Something gets revealed to you that's important to you. It could be something about yourself or something about other people in your life, but it's usually something about your shadow self (because eclipses represent the shadow of planets against each other). It's the theme of your shadow self and coming to understand some part of you that's hidden that now will become revealed to you." If you haven't given yourself any kind of personal or psychological evaluation recently, this eclipse will be the time to do so. Who knows— something life-altering might happen!
Calling all Leos
Digital Storm/ShutterstockThis solar eclipse will particularly affect Leos (July 23-August 22), as both the moon and the sun will be in the house of Leo during the eclipse. If you're a Leo, this might stir up some bad feelings for you, unfortunately. To be honest, your horoscope isn't too pretty. "Here's the challenge for Leos: They're fixed signs. Fixed signs do not like change. They're the stabilizers in families, in organizations. They're the ones who hold steady, and so when a fixed sign has to handle change—especially internal, personal transformation—that can be a great struggle," Perrakis says. But don't fret too much. While you might go through some challenges as a Leo during this time, you will also likely emerge having changed for the better. Like they say, experience is the best teacher. The other fixed signs—Taurus (April 20-May 20), Scorpio (October 23-November 21), and Aquarius (January 20-February 18)—will be similarly affected by the eclipse, but not to the extent of the Leo.
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The mutable signs
RealCG Animation Studio/ShutterstockIf you're not a Leo (July 23-August 22), this solar eclipse could still mean something to you. "Every one of the astrological signs, all of the 12, each one is either fixed, mutable, or cardinal," Perrakis says. While Leo is a fixed sign that might not enjoy the effects of the eclipse so much, the mutable signs are likely to greet this time without any issues. "I call the mutable signs 'the closers,'" she says. "All of the mutable signs—Gemini (May 21-June 20), Virgo (August 23-September 22), Sagittarius (November 22-December 21), and Pisces (February 19-March 20)—finish the seasons. They're the end of summer and the end of winter. They understand the completion of cycles. So they have a much easier time with eclipses because they're used to beginnings and endings. They actually appreciate the value of a conclusion or an ending." For mutable signs, this eclipse will probably have them looking back on the past year and finding some meaning at the end of this particular cycle.
The cardinal signs
whiteMocca/ShutterstockThe cardinal signs are somewhat similar to the mutable signs when it comes to an eclipse. While mutable signs like Virgo (August 23-September 22) and Gemini (May 21-June 20) appreciate the ending of the cycle, the cardinal signs look forward to the beginning of a new one. "The cardinal signs—Aries (March 21-April 19), Libra (September 23-October 22), Cancer (June 21-July 22), and Capricorn—are the beginners. So they like creating a cycle, launching a cycle, beginning something new. They're going to handle eclipses really well," Perrakis says. These are the people who get energized at the thought of new beginnings and love to embark on new adventures. Any one of these signs will likely enjoy a nice and sunny horoscope.
Triff/ShutterstockYou've got the rundown on how each sign will be affected by the solar eclipse, so now let's look at the overall energy that the eclipse will bring to the world. "We understand that the energy of an eclipse is unstable," Perrakis says. "Some part of us recognizes that this is not the natural order of events. So anytime you have unstable energy, it doesn't feel direct, it doesn't feel clear, it doesn't feel linear. That can feel unpredictable—like you're standing on quicksand." While some signs will handle the transitioning of eclipse cycles well, it is still easy to get swept away by the winds of change. No matter what sign you are, having a stable center is key. "I think the most important thing to do during an eclipse is really find your footing. Make sure you understand what the themes and the meaning were of the last cycle, so that you don't feel so blindsided by what you don't know."
The end and the beginning
muratart/ShutterstockHistory, mythology, and investors in astrology all have a deep connection to the solar eclipse. Each has pulled his or her own meaning from the natural phenomenon. To Perrakis, there is absolutely nothing like an eclipse in terms of both the field of astronomy and personal matters. "The eclipse is both the end and the beginning all at once," she says. "For me, that's what's most profound. In this moment, the last cycle ended and the next one began. There's something really profound about cycles that are woven into that singular moment."
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