Annular Solar Eclipse of Feb. 7, 2008

By Kirsti Melto and Eric Francis

New Moon in Aquarius — February 7, 2008, 03:44:27 UT

WE ARE in the middle of a transition to a new area of space, time and history. Pluto, the planet of transcendence and evolution, is newly arrived in Capricorn, one of the cardinal signs. Pluto’s movements mark the long eras in astrology, and Pluto will shuttle back into Sagittarius for one more stay midyear, before returning to Capricorn for good in the autumn. Mercury has recently stationed retrograde, and earlier this week, Mars stationed direct in Gemini.

Pluto, for its part, is currently tightly square the Aries Point, the first degree of Aries. Whenever the Aries Point is involved in an astrological setup, the news tends to have a personal feel to it, and events tend to affect a lot of people. For evidence of this, we need look no further than the primary elections in the United States, all of which are coming to a head in the next week or so. The Capricorn connection is that governments, corporations and anything that hangs onto tradition (such as large institutions like the Church of Rome) are subject to profound changes, restructuring and other forms of transformation in the coming years, in an era that has its roots in the current moment.

Highlighting this transition is the Aquarius New Moon of Thursday, Feb. 7, which is a potent annular solar eclipse. Potent means that the eclipse is conjunct many planets. Chiron, Nessus, Mercury retrograde, Neptune and asteroids Lilith, Bacchus and Vesta, have all accumulated in Aquarius and are in direct alignment with this event, which brings in many themes, all of which are bound by the signs Aquarius. Of note, the solar eclipse takes place at the peak of Mercury retrograde, the interior conjunction of the Sun and Mercury which is exactly less than ten hours before the eclipse.

Eclipses occur twice a year, when the Sun is near one of the lunar nodes. They usually come in pairs, solar and lunar. The corresponding lunar eclipse occurs in Virgo on Feb. 20. The current eclipse takes place on the North Node of the Moon, pushing its way into the future. The North Node, like the eclipse itself, is in Aquarius, the sign associated with social patterns and technology. It is interesting that so many of our social patterns are now integrated with the digital world. Many people have many things to say about this. Does digital technology bring us closer together, or does it alienate us? Does it enhance communication, or does it give us the cop-out of the “delete” button and the constantly changing online profile?

Whatever may be the answer to these questions — questions which deserve asking — we need to recognize that we are indeed immersed in the digital world. That the members of our species with the most active minds are integrated with the technosphere, and that this is developing faster than we can currently control. More to the point, the leaders of the world are rapidly amassing technological power, ranging from unprecedented surveillance ability to nanotechnology capable of being injected as serum into our bodies. We are simply NOT seriously considering the effects of these things; we are, for the most part, unknowingly swallowing the red pill and diving straight into the Matrix.

In this discussion of technology, we need to look at two planets distinctly associated with the topic. One is a distant trans-Neptunian named Logos. Another is an asteroid called Atlantis. Logos is situated in Virgo, where it will be for a long time. It is currently square the centaur Cyllarus (“out of nowhere”) and opposite Pallas (politics, strategy). Needless to say, we must be aware of the rising tide of technological strategy of large entities like the government and the corporations it employs.

Then there is Atlantis, which addresses the use and misuse of technology, and the feeling of imminent doom. Atlantis would include distortions of science. Atlantis is in late Libra, about to change signs into Scorpio, where it will make a series of squares to the Aquarius stellium. This will likely call to light certain less savory aspects of our technology situation.

The Canadian professor and media philosopher Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) explained that any environment tends to be invisible. A media environment is so pervasive that we don’t see it. He devised many methods of sensing and making sense out of our media environment, one of which was a series of four questions that he called the “tetrad.” We can apply them to the digital world, which is a kind of conducting medium for thought, images and ideas:

* What does the medium enhance?
* What does the medium make obsolete?
* What does the medium retrieve that had been obsolesced earlier?
* What does the medium flip into when pushed to extremes?

We could add, what is the mediums effect on our perception of time and our sense of identity? This, we need to ask as the Aquarius eclipse blows through the neighborhood, whisking us into a new phase of history. Aquarius always directs us to ask how we fit into groups that surround us. Are we more or less able to be ourselves? Are we free to think, feel and be? These are the things to ask yourself.

Here are some additional technical notes.

Later in the day of the eclipse, the Moon conjoins Neptune. This specific conjunction is also a kind of eclipse, called an occultation — so we have a double eclipse. The Moon will pass directly over the face of Neptune, rather than slightly above or below. In 2008 there is an occultation of Neptune by the Moon in every month except December — it’s a lot of eclipse energy in Aquarius! And a lot of Neptune.

Chiron and Mercury in the middle of Aquarius are forming a semisquare — a trigger aspect — to the Aries Point and thus raising our awareness of the choices and opportunities.

Bienor, a small Uranus-crosser discovered in 2000 in Chiron’s class is at the Aries Point, and ingresses Aries the day following the eclipse. Its name means “strong one.” It will remain in a square to Pluto for years.

There is not much told about Bienor in mythology. Bienor was one of the Centaurs that attended the Lapith king Pirithous’ wedding. Centaurs and the Lapiths started to fight and many of the Centaurs died in this battle. Ovid describes in Metamorphoses how Pirithous’ friend Theseus leaps upon the back of Bienor, and how Bienor gets killed by Theseus. “…He leaps upon the back of tall Bienor, never trained to carry riders…” There is something unique in his death, because Bienor is the only Centaur who dies in this way, somebody jumping upon the back of a Centaur. Centaurs were wild creatures, and this image painted before our eyes resembles a bit taming of a wild horse — in a way an insulting act, which at the same time represents something positive.

Perhaps the myth points us to look for the meaning of Centaur planet Bienor in connection of events that have been unique and happened for the first time in the history of mankind.

In the chart of the first lunar landing in July 1969, when the lunar module Eagle landed on the Sea of Tranquility, the Moon was in early degrees of Libra with Bienor (opposing the Aries Point), mirroring two things: the strong men who bravely set out for the Moon; and the strong feelings involved in this event, not just in the USA but worldwide. More than 700 million people saw the event on television (a new record at the time), including Buzz Aldrin testing methods for moving around, going back and forth in front of the camera the way a horse gallops. Jupiter and Uranus were in conjunction in Libra, exactly opposite the Aries Point. The experience was not just historical for the mankind, but also highly personal for the men who walked on the Moon. They were personal to us, like members of our families.

The following could be more recent examples of the news now that Bienor has been conjuncting the Aries Point:

In January 2008 solar physicists announced the beginning of a new solar cycle. The Sun’s poles may be crucial to studies of the solar cycle. On Jan. 14, the Ulysses spacecraft was flying over a key region of solar activity, the Sun’s North Pole, something never done before at the onset of a new solar cycle.

Also in January 2008, an image taken by NASA’s Messenger probe revealed something we had never seen before: a first look at the previously unseen side of the planet Mercury after a Jan. 14, 2008 flyby.

Bienor may be associated with the strength of mankind expressed through technology, and when we combine it with the Aries Point, it affects “everyman.” Let’s not only hope and pray, but take concrete action to create technological justice.

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