Understandably, there has been some considerable interest in the upcoming lunar eclipse of the Winter Solstice. In a prior post, I shared some of my thoughts on the astrological impact of the Winter Solstice, and what it could possibly mean for us. Now it’s time to take a look at the eclipse itself.
Once again I must start this post with a disclaimer: I am not an astrologist. I’m not an expert at reading charts, let alone trying to create one. What I am is a Pagan with over twenty-five years of experience under my belt, and hopefully I’ve gained a little wisdom over the years. With a bit of research, some meditation, and a touch of inspiration from my tarot cards, hopefully I can come up with some thoughts to share. Mind you…these will be my own thoughts, and you may or may not agree with me.
The first thing that strikes me about this lunar eclipse is the fact that it is occurring on the Winter Solstice. December lunar eclipses are not that rare – in fact, we have had several in the past couple of years. But to have one fall directly on the Winter Solstice – well, that’s not quite so common. But this begs the question…just when was the last Winter Solstice lunar eclipse?
Therein lies the rub. As I searched the internet seeking the answer to this question, it appears every website I researched had its own response. It seems that response depends on whether you wish to take a more scientific or a more spiritual approach to the question.
As a Pagan, I and many of my fellow Pagans here in the northern hemisphere traditionally celebrate Yule on December 21st. However, from a scientific perspective, the Winter Solstice does not always happen exactly on December 21st – it can occur as early as December 20th and as late as December 23rd. This year, the actual Winter Solstice will take place just a little over 15 hours after the midpoint of the lunar eclipse. For those of us living in the continental United States, this means both events will occur on December 21st.
As to exactly when the last solstice lunar eclipse occurred, my sources seem to differ on this. One source states that it happened as recently as 1991, but then won’t happen again for another 84 years. Other sources claim that it goes back much further than this – I’ve seen 1638 mentioned, and the year 1554 has also been thrown about. Obviously this isn’t such an easy question to answer. However, I believe it depends on if you are referring simply to a lunar eclipse in general, or specifically to a total lunar eclipse, which happens with less frequency.
I think it’s safe to say that the last time we had a Winter Solstice Total Lunar Eclipse was a long time ago.
But we’re not here to discuss the scientific aspects of the eclipse…so let’s move on, shall we?
In my prior post, I discussed the combination of both the solar and lunar cycles at this year’s Winter Solstice, and the impact of the elemental horoscope signs of both not only for this day, but for future days as well. These elemental horoscope signs influence the eclipse also, so let’s take a look at what they have to teach us.
The Winter Solstice’s lunar eclipse will take place with the Sun in Sagittarius, and the Moon in Gemini. Sagittarius is a Fire sign, while Gemini is Air. So we have the guardians of the South combining with the spirits of the East – passion and will meeting thought and expression.
When Fire and Air come together, they often encourage positive thinking and idealistic aspirations. Unfortunately, such thoughts and goals can sometimes cross over to becoming unrealistic. One might have the best of intentions…but due to the absence of Earth’s grounding influence, your head may be left up in the clouds; continuing to burn up fuel chasing ideas without the steady focus necessary to see the job through to completion. Despite all the creativity and all the enthusiasm inspired by this eclipse, you can’t just pour out your energies unreservedly. You’ve got to tap into those deeper resources in order to keep going.
But not to fear – the Sun does in fact move into a Earth sign (Capricorn) approximately fifteen hours after the eclipse, thus providing those very resources necessary to feed that creativity born of the eclipse. By the same token, the Moon transitions into the Water sign of Cancer shortly after the eclipse, allowing one to fulfill important emotional needs by connecting to feelings and intuition. Indeed, this eclipse’s saving grace may be the very fact that it does occur on this specific day…a day when all four elements are at play, each bringing its own specific gift – thinking and communication skills (Air), action orientation (Fire), the ability to feel and intuitively know (Water), and good old-fashioned common sense (Earth).
The lunar eclipse has traditionally been seen as a bad omen, symbolizing crisis and chaos. While I am not sure I fully agree with this interpretation, by its own nature such eclipses do represent change, and change can be chaotic. Many people welcome change, while at the same time fearing it. Change is something that makes a lot of people mighty uncomfortable. Change is challenging. Change is demanding. Yet change is necessary.
The Winter Solstice itself has always been about change, and the Lunar Eclipse only serves to magnify this theme. As we watch the moon transition through its various phases, we are reminded of the transitions in our own lives. As we honor the death of the Holly King and ending of the waning year, we recall the lesson of letting go… the importance of bringing old projects to an end that we might thus start with a fresh clean slate, ready to initiate new projects.
Indeed, the more I read and learn and think about it…the Winter Solstice and the Lunar Eclipse go hand in hand. Certainly this union is not all wine and roses, and there’s sure to be some bumps in the road. With all the activity going on during the day, one may be well advised to fasten your seat belt and hang on for the ride. Nevertheless, for better and for worse, this special event will impact us for the days, weeks, months and perhaps even years ahead.