Archive for September, 2016

Full Moon in Pisces / Penumbral Lunar Eclipse — September 16, 2016, 19:05 UT

Saturday, September 17th, 2016

”The maiden whom the Valar chose from among the Maiar to guide the vessel of the Sun was named Arien, and he that steered the island of the Moon was Tilion. –

”…But Tilion was wayward and uncertain in speed, and held not to his appointed path; and he sought to come near to Arien, being drawn by her splendour, though the flame of Anar scorched him, and the island of the Moon was darkened.

“…Tilion went with uncertain pace, as yet he goes, and was still drawn towards Arien, as he shall ever be; so that often both may be seen above the Earth together, or at times it will chance that he comes so nigh that his shadow cuts off her brightness and there is a darkness amid the day.”

This is how J.R.R. Tolkien describes eclipses in The Silmarillion. The Silmarillion is a posthumous collection of J.R.R. Tolkien’s works, providing the background to The Lord of the Rings.

Each year there are two eclipse seasons, and in every eclipse season there are commonly two eclipses, one Solar and one Lunar, and sometimes more. The New Moon two weeks ago was an Annular Solar Eclipse in Virgo. The second eclipse of this eclipse season is a Penumbral Lunar Eclipse in Pisces.

The Full Moon in Pisces is conjunct Chiron. In the same degree with Chiron and conjunct the Moon is 385446 Manwë. In Sagittarius 174567 Varda is square to the Mercury retrograde in Virgo. Varda is also widely squaring Manwë. Manwë and Varda are two trans-Neptunian objects discovered in 2003 and named in 2014. The names come from J.R.R. Tolkien’s fictional mythology.

Manwë was the King of the Valar in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth legend. Manwë was a kind, compassionate ruler. He sought peace. He was lord of air, wind, and clouds. Birds were his servants, especially eagles, which flew back and forth and brought to his knowledge everything that was going on in the world. Poetry was Manwë’s delight and the song of words was his music. He lived with Varda, the Star-Queen, on Mount Taniquetil by the sea.

Varda is the Queen of the Stars, and being associated with light she is central to the dualism of light and darkness in Tolkien’s cosmology. She made the stars and constellations, and she established the courses of the Moon and the Sun. Her face radiated light.

It is almost impossible to talk about Manwë without mentioning Varda. Manwë and Varda complemented each other. If Varda is beside Manwë, he “sees further than all other eyes, through mist, and through darkness, and over the leagues of the sea. And if Manwë is with her, Varda hears more clearly than all other ears the sound of voices that cry from east to west, from the hills and the valleys…”

385446 Manwë is a binary trans-Neptunian object. The secondary is named Thorondor after the Lord of Eagles, the “mightiest of all birds that have ever been”, in Tolkien’s writing. Manwë and Thorondor are predicted to be going through a period of mutual occultations and transits between 2014 and 2018, when one object crosses in front of the other as seen from Earth.

174567 Varda is highly likely to be a dwarf planet. Its moon is named Ilmarë after Varda’s handmaiden. Tolkien was inspired by many mythologies, and the name Ilmarë possibly comes from the magical Finnish blacksmith Ilmarinen in our national epic, the Kalevala.

The Full Moon in Pisces is conjunct Chiron. This composition suggests intense emotions, confusion, and perhaps feeling like being a bit out of control. The eclipse takes place on the South node of the Moon. The South node has to do with the past. The Moon is a warehouse for memories. Pisces is one of the Water signs, and water remembers.

This can also be a moment of intuitive understanding, which with the aid of Chiron, the Maverick, offers an opportunity to something extraordinary and radiant.

New Moon in Virgo / Annular Solar Eclipse — September 1, 2016, 09:03 UT

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

The New Moon in the sign of Virgo on Sept.1, 2016, was an Annular Solar Eclipse. Annular eclipse occurs when the Moon is at its furthest point from the Earth and appears smaller than the Sun. The Moon does not cover the whole disc of the Sun, so a bright ring around it can be seen.

There are several factors emphasizing the Virgo nature of this eclipse. Also Mercury and Jupiter are in Virgo. Mercury is the ruler of the sign, and it is in exact conjunction with the magnifying Jupiter, to the degree. Mercury has turned retrograde just two days before the eclipse.

However, as I tend to focus on the new planets in the Kuiper belt, I would like to draw your attention to 90482 Orcus, which is in conjunction with the Sun and the Moon. So far Orcus has been noted in astrology much less than it deserves.

Orcus was discovered in 2004. It is probably a dwarf planet. It is a binary plutino, locked in a 2:3 resonance with Neptune, as all plutinos are. Orcus’s orbit is similar to Pluto’s, but it is oriented differently. They have the same orbital period (247 and 248 years), and both have perihelia above the ecliptic. For a brief time during their revolution around the Sun, each of them comes closer to the Sun than does Neptune. But their elongated orbits point in nearly opposite directions. Orcus is at aphelion when Pluto is at perihelion and vice versa. Because of the same orbital period and their mutual resonance with Neptune, they will always stay in opposite phases of their orbits. Orcus will come to aphelion (farthest distance from the Sun) in 2019.

Orcus’s personality was quite apparent from the beginning to Mike Brown, the discoverer. He has called it the anti-Pluto. That is why the name Orcus was chosen. Orcus was the Etruscan god of the underworld and equivalent of the Roman Pluto, and later became an alternate name for Pluto. The name was also a private reference to the homonymous Orcas Island, where Brown’s wife Diane had lived in her youth and that they visit frequently.

Orcus has a large satellite named Vanth. Mike Brown suspects that like the Pluto–Charon system, Orcus and Vanth are tidally locked. In other words, Orcus and its satellite have their same faces locked towards each other constantly.

In 2009 Brown asked readers of his weekly column to suggest possible names for the satellite. The name Vanth, after the Etruscan goddess who guided the souls of the dead to the underworld, was chosen. Brown had seen a picture of a fresco at the tomb in Anina depicting Vanth with a tear in her eye. She was waiting for the dead, carrying a torch, and silently crying. “Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone who weeps for the dead? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a guide to light the way?” wrote Brown.

Vanth in a fresco in an Etruscan tomb, image: Wikipedia

Vanth in a fresco in an Etruscan tomb, image: Wikipedia

From the astrologer’s point of view, there is one more thing about the orbit that raises interest. Astrologer Raimo A. Nikula has noted that in the astrological chart, Orcus and Pluto never are in conjunction with each other, nor oppose each other. They never get closer to each other than 51 degrees, and they never get further away from each other than 150 degrees. In other words, the smallest possible aspect between them is a septile and the widest is a quincunx.

Raimo also reminded me about the long-term opposition between Neptune and Orcus, which still is valid. The opposition has been going on several years. It has slowly started to come apart, but is now intensified by the eclipse in the near vicinity.

Establishing the astrological meaning of Orcus is in progress. Environmental issues and themes of survival, among others, have been connected to Orcus. Because of the homonymous name, also orcas, the killer whales, are associated with Orcus.

Orcas have been the main attraction of SeaWorld theme parks. The parks’ marine mammals have been a subject of criticism for years, and finally the campaigns against the captivity of dolphins and orcas have borne fruit. In 2016, SeaWorld has announced that they would end their in-park breeding programs, and eventually phase out their killer whale shows altogether.

Särkänniemi Dolphinarium in Finland has been receiving similar criticism as SeaWorld. The dolphinarium was closed in 2015. The last performance of the bottlenose dolphins was on Sept. 6, 2015, when Neptune was opposing a triple conjunction of Jupiter, Orcus and the Sun. Dolphins are symbols of the sea god Neptune.

Last week the effects of the eclipse started to show in Finland, when the management of Särkänniemi tried to transport the four dolphins of Särkänniemi from Tampere to Attica Zoological Park in Greece. The operation was started in secrecy, in the dark of the night. The animal activists and the media got wind of the transfer though, and a huge media tumult burst out. It became the main news. The management refused to communicate. They lied that because of security concerns, the authorities had advised to keep the operation secret. The hullabaloo just kept swelling and it has not calmed down.

An estimated 200 people gathered in the parking lot near the dolphinarium to follow the proceedings Saturday night. Image: Kaisu Jansson / Yle

An estimated 200 people gathered in the parking lot near the dolphinarium to follow the proceedings Saturday night. Image: Kaisu Jansson / Yle

Many rumors have been floating about the welfare of the animals in Attica Park. Activists from the animal rights group say that it is not the best location for the dolphins. Many people wish that the four dolphins, which never should have captured in the first place, could have stayed at Särkänniemi until a better place for their retirement had been found.

The closing ceremony of the Särkänniemi summer season will be held on next Saturday. Several noted artists that were supposed to perform at the celebration, have cancelled their gigs due to the park’s operations. Rock singer Jonne Aaron is the only scheduled artist who will step on stage. He is a dependable and committed Virgo. The Solar Eclipse and Orcus fall conjunct his Sun.


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