Solar Eclipse in Sagittarius
The Solar Eclipse in Sagittarius on December 4, 2021 is total, resulting in the blackness of night completely overcoming the light of the Sun. In Hesiod’s Theogony, the earliest known mythical cosmogony in ancient Greece, it is Chaos who gives birth to Gaia along with Erebus (primordial deity of Darkness) and Night who mate and give birth to Day and Aether. As there are many other creation stories in which Day/Light is born from Night/Darkness, the phenomenon of eclipses cloaking the radiance of solar light in darkness both visually and psychologically returns us to a sense of the chaotic abyss, chasm, and fertile void which opens wide to bring forth creation. Similarly, the diverse cultures that have imagined mythic tales of chaotic dragons attempting to devour heroes also corresponds with past astrological traditions equating the lunar nodes with chaotic dragons and serpents which devour the light of the sun during solar eclipses.
The Total Sagittarius Solar Eclipse will be at 12º22’ Sagittarius aligned on the side of the South Node of the Moon in Sagittarius, known as the tail end of the imaginal astrological dragon. Similar to how the South Node can be a place of sacrificial fires of purification in traditional Indian astrology, Dane Rudhyar described the South Node as a place of sacrifice as in “making sacred” rather than egoic sacrifice in which we expect something in return. Amidst whatever liminal transitions you have been experiencing, intentionally making the changes sacred will bring you into better flow with the eclipse, such as releasing fixations and being willing to enter the mysterious unknown. Rather than focus on expansive new growth, themes such as releasing, purifying, emptying, and letting go will be favored. The way forward requires returning to patterns of the past that need to be laid to rest in putrefaction that will eventually give rise to new desires. The dissolution of old forms that leads to the arising of new forms in times of eclipses is symbolized well by the ancient ouroboros image of a dragon devouring its own tail. As Brian Clark beautifully described in Soul, Symbol, and Imagination:
“The ouroboros is a cross-cultural symbol which uses the fabled image of the dragon-serpent swallowing its own tail to embody the recurrent nature of the cosmos; on one hand it represents the alpha, the beginning or the head, and the omega, the ending or the tail, yet both are the same point. In astrology we know this point as the conjunction, the beginning of a new cycle marked by the end of the old. This eternal cycle suggests that creation emerges out of destruction, or that life is renewed through death. As the dragon-serpent devours its own tail, its life carries on in a renewed form. Death and rebirth, creation and destruction, beginning and ending, heads and tales mark the eternal return, the never-ending cycle of regeneration.”Brian Clark
The Sagittarius Solar Eclipse is the final eclipse to occur in the signs of Gemini and Sagittarius, and so serves as the final chapter of the eclipse stories that have been coinciding with eclipses in Gemini and Sagittarius. The first eclipse in the series was a Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius on 5 June 2020, followed by a Lunar Eclipse in Gemini on 30 November 2020, a Solar Eclipse in Sagittarius on 14 December 2020, a Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius on 26 May 2021, and a Solar Eclipse in Gemini on 10 June 2021. As these eclipses have flowed back and forth between whatever places the signs of Gemini and Sagittarius occupy in your natal chart, you can trace narrative themes that have developed in correspondence involving the ways both Gemini and Sagittarius are involved in your nativity. Yet since there has been more of an emphasis on eclipses in the sign of Sagittarius, it is fitting that the sequence ends with a Total Solar Eclipse in Sagittarius.
Sagittarius is the fiery home of Jupiter, zodiacal terrain which kindles inner embers into flames of expansive vision and intuitive knowing that can be fervently expressed in outward action. As a fire sign which excels in distinguishing and separating matters to aim with precision at a targeted goal, the Sun in Sagittarius being eclipsed suggests that righteous knowing will become cloaked by a dark tapestry of unknowing and questioning the course of direction forward. As we are in a collective period of great upheaval with numerous societal systems on the brink of collapse and in need of radical reformation, the shadow side of Sagittarius that can become ruthless with dogma and moralizing preaching needs emptying and release. On the other side near the North Node of the Moon in Gemini, the close presence of Ceres retrograde calls for deep listening to our grief and the grief shared by others we encounter through dialogue and witnessing.
Mercury in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces are especially important influences on the eclipse. Mercury is only three degrees away from the solar eclipse, having recently been reanimated in the heart of the Sagittarius Sun on November 28. The close proximity of Mercury to the eclipse will make significations of Mercury readily apparent in events connected with the eclipse. In contrast, Neptune stationed direct a few days before the eclipse on December 1, and so is saturating the astrological landscape with its imaginal influence. While the Sagittarius Moon is applying to a square aspect with Neptune it will complete later on the same day as the eclipse, Mercury is also applying to a square aspect with Neptune that it will complete on December 7. While the impact of Neptune can often feel like an imperceptible underlying influence, its stationing and catalyzing aspects with the eclipse and Mercury will make it much more viscerally felt than normal. It will be worthwhile to explore the meaning of any images that grab your attention through dreams or in your waking life. The contact between Mercury and the eclipse with Neptune may bring inspirational images, ideas, and messages into your awareness that unveil aspects of inner psyche and ineffable qualities of soul patterns that will reward attention and contemplation.
Having recently been regenerated by the Sun, Mercury is moving fast through its invisible phase, actively in process of gestating the forms of new ideas that will be injected by the otherworldly influences of the eclipse and Neptune. Mercury in Sagittarius excels at taking visionary leaps of thought and synthesizing information with sharp intuition, but its propensity for blazing speed of thought can lead us to excitedly rush forward before throughly analyzing dynamics. Moreover, the square between Mercury in Sagittarius with Neptune can also manifest as dogmatic crusaders or excessively idealistic evangelists wishing to convert others to whatever perspective, philosophy, or belief they have become impassioned by. Making a conscious effort to ground and slow down to allow for thought processes to deepen can help in opening to the imaginative influences of Mercury with Neptune while also creating space to separate the illusory from the authentic.
Jupiter in Aquarius rules the eclipse, with Mars in Scorpio applying toward a square aspect with Jupiter he will complete on December 8. While Jupiter is positively in a whole sign sextile aspect with the eclipse, the overbearing influence of Mars upon Jupiter can create a more volatile atmosphere in which anger and anxiety can be more readily triggered. As a result, it will be helpful to find a balance between resting and relaxing to calm nerves as well as making an effort to be physically or creatively active to move and release energy rather than having it become bottled up and at risk of imploding. Positively, the friction between Mars and Jupiter can be invigorating and fuel dynamic action and courageous efforts to fight through obstacles as well as bravely bring protection to those who are vulnerable.
Jupiter is sharing the same sign of Aquarius with Saturn for a few more weeks, as he will enter his expansive ocean home of Pisces on December 28. Fortunately, this means that Jupiter will be present in the same sign as Saturn during the time period in which the final exact square aspect between Saturn in Aquarius and Uranus in Taurus will be building in intensity until it becomes completed on December 24. Richard Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche described periods of Saturn and Uranus as involving “the exacerbation of tensions between authority and rebellion, order and freedom, structure and change” as well as “repressive revolution,” “erratically unpredictable authority,” “sudden collapse of structures,” and “grim awakenings.” While these themes elucidated by Tarnas have fit perfectly with events that have erupted during the past year of Saturn and Uranus clashing, in our personal lives we will be able to have more agency to create the changes we wish to experience than within the much larger societal events that careen out of our control. During the final weeks of Jupiter sharing the sign of Aquarius with Saturn, see how you can continue to embrace whatever radical changes you have been inspired to embody and enact, finding ways to make space for shifting perceptions so you can more resolutely release the forms and patterns of the past that need to be let go of.
Within the darkness of the solar eclipse, Venus in Capricorn will be glowing very bright as an Evening Star in twilight. Although Venus will be shining brightly in the night, she is also slowing down in speed as she approaches her retrograde stationing on December 19. Moreover, Venus is applying closely to a conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn that she will complete on December 11, the first of three conjunctions that Venus will form with Pluto over the course of her upcoming retrograde phase (the next two will be on December 25, 2021 and March 3, 2022). Gary Caton and other astrologers have compared the present phase of Venus that lasts until she stations retrograde and disappears into her invisible phase with the nigredo of alchemy, a period in which we experience loss and putrefaction of matters that will create space for us to receive the seeds of new desires and visions to come into relationship with. The close proximity between Venus with Pluto in the month following the eclipse will amplify the intensity of old relational patterns needing to rise into awareness so we may shed the dead skin of past patterns that no longer align with our present relational needs. It will not be an easy or quick process, but the deep regenerative potency of Pluto can help purge past toxicity as we make more intimate contact with the relational needs and desires that are authentically aligned with our emerging presence.
While Mars in Scorpio is making an activating and disruptive aspect with Jupiter, it is simultaneously forming a harmonious sextile aspect with Pluto in Capricorn that will become exact on December 6. However, although Venus is only about a degree away from an exact sextile aspect with Mars in Scorpio during the eclipse, due to Venus stationing she will not complete the sextile aspect before she stations retrograde and moves away from Mars in the opposite direction. The influence of Mars in Scorpio upon Venus and Pluto in Capricorn will further volatilize and deepen the transformative process already underway for Venus, making it a potent time for deep listening and sharing within intimate relationships. While much can be uncovered within relational dialogue that facilitates penetration into the core dynamics and patterns at play, it will also be important to make time and space for solitary contemplation and becoming more grounded and rooted in one’s sovereign sense of self outside of relationship.
The Sagittarius Solar Eclipse is part of the saros 152 eclipse family that originated with a partial solar eclipse in the southern hemisphere on July 26, 1805; all of the eclipses in this family occur on the south or descending node of the Moon. Interestingly, at the time of the origin eclipse in 1805 there was a conjunction between Jupiter and Neptune in Scorpio, reflecting the Jupiter Neptune conjunction in Pisces in 2022, and there was also a conjunction forming between Saturn and Uranus in Libra, reflecting the building tension of the square aspect between Saturn and Uranus occurring during the present eclipse.
Thus the saros family of the Sagittarius Solar Eclipse has a strong connection to both the Jupiter Neptune and Saturn Uranus cycles that will be the key astrological themes of the year ahead. The last three solar eclipses in this series have been total: 23 November 2003, 12 November 1985, and 2 November 1967. Regarding the eclipse’s metonic cycle, the last time there was a total solar eclipse at twelve degrees of Sagittarius near the South Node of the Moon was on December 4, 2002 and so the same aspects of your natal chart would have been activated by that eclipse as the present one.
Sagittarius 2 Decan
The second decan of Sagittarius where the Sun will be eclipsed is associated with the Nine of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image a bandaged and alert figure stands with his chosen staff planted firmly in the ground, with eight other wands of varying size rooted behind him. There is a resilient strength and courage to persist in the face of opposition found here that resonates with the meaning of the second face of Sagittarius. It is significant that the figure has been wounded at the top of his head, as Sagittarius unifies fiery spirit with the will of the body. Since the Moon is ruler of the second face of Sagittarius, the fact that the Moon is eclipsing the Sun while in her own face makes the meaning of this decan especially activated.
Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Bridle” to the second face of Sagittarius, stating that the battles and conflicts pictured in the Nine of Wands card “are necessary to inflame the will and provide the heat necessary for the fusion of the mind and body.” Coppock praised the capacity of the second face of Sagittarius “to keep the body and mind in line with intention, despite contrary forces,” as its rulership by the Moon and Mars brings the ferocious resiliency needed to protect what we most value in the face of opposition with all of the odds stacked against us. Yet Coppock cautioned that while the second face of Sagittarius “represents a formula for strength in the face of opposition,” we must discern when circumstances “do not demand, nor reward such a response” but instead require yielding to develop a different strategy.
The dichotomy of fighting to protect a vision, whether it is securing a boon through victory or bewailing the loss of defeat, is found in ancient textual images of the second decan of Sagittarius. In the Birhat Jakarta a golden woman of grace picks up gems from the ocean, while in The Beginning of Wisdom by Ibn Ezra as well as the Yavanajataka there is a chest of golden ornaments and jewels set before a beautiful woman. These images are in contrast to images in other tomes signifying sadness and fear, such as a “lamenting woman” in Three Books of Occult Philosophy. These images of mourning and unearthed treasure are also curiously resonant with the figure of Kore who was ascribed to the second face of Sagittarius by the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs. Austin Coppock linked Kore’s presence here with her form as Persephone Praxidike, mistress of the furies and the forces of nemesis that create the adversarial force necessary to bring forth our most heroic qualities.
Safron Rossi in her recent book The Kore Goddess: A Mythology & Psychology associated the archetypal Kore with “psychological integrity” and “what it means to be grounded in one’s essential nature as an individual.” To Rossi, the sacred qualities that the Kore personifies include “unto-oneself, sovereignty, vitality” and “authenticity,” viewing “one-in-herself as central to the archetypal stream of the Kore.” She further referenced classicist Guilia Sissa that the Greek meanings of kore and parthenos included “a treasure that one guards (phylassein), a value that must be respected (terein).” With an eclipse in a decan associated with Kore, Rossi’s identification of the Kore’s shadow as involving “innocence” and becoming “untouchable, impenetrable, self-enclosed,” is further vital to consider.
In relation to the association of the Kore with Persephone, Rossi noted that “when we can embrace a more complex perspective that is not primarily concerned with maintaining psychological innocence, Persephone’s myth shows us how Kore consciousness is forged by underworld initiation.” Indeed, Rossi stated that “Persephone-Kore is the divinity within the painful loss of innocence for it is she who shows how there would be no growing down into authenticity without the forays into the underworld.” These archetypal revelations concerning Persephone-Kore will be important to keep in mind as Venus stations retrograde while conjoining Pluto within the forthcoming lunar cycle. They also connect with the synchronicity that during the time of the Sagittarius Solar Eclipse the Persephone asteroid will be retrograde at 6º16’ Gemini nearby Ceres retrograde at 3º26’ Gemini and the true north node of the Moon at 1º44’ Gemini.
In some versions of Persephone’s story, her playmates by her side before her abduction by Hades were none other than the Sirens, daughters of the muse of melody and tragedy, Melpomene. Just like Persephone ultimately brings her divine beauty into a sovereign role as Queen of the Underworld, so do the Sirens bring their beautiful voices into a psychopomp role of helping to maintain harmony between the underworld and the upper world through music. Safron Rossi in The Kore Goddess mused “that Kore consciousness can experience the Siren’s songs as north stars, calling us to move beyond our limited perspective and gain further knowledge of ourselves and the world.” In the aftermath of the eclipse, may you hear the music and songs of soulfulness that help you cope with whatever grieving and wounding needs tending, and call you to embark upon a journey beyond past confinement with fiery vision and aplomb, like a piercing arrow shot forth from the sacred bow of Sagittarius.
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Clark, Brian. (2019). Soul, Symbol, and Imagination. Astro*Synthesis.
Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: the history, astrology, and magic of the decans. Three Hands Press.
Rossi, Safron. (2021). The Kore Goddess: A Mythology & Psychology. Winter Press.
Rudhyar, Dane. (1971). The Planetary and Lunar Nodes. CSA Press.
Tarnas, Richard. (2007). Cosmos and Psyche. Plume.