Posted by: Donna Cunningham | July 11, 2010

Eclipses: Moving Beyond the Four Walls of the Known

(c)2009 by guest blogger, Jessica Shepherd of Moonkissd

Donna says:  I discovered this article, like so many other guest posts, by following a link in my blog stats.  I was quite moved at how beautifully poetic and profound it was.  It’s perhaps the best explanation of how eclipses affect us I’ve ever read–without being limited to any one specific eclipse.  Big thanks to Jessica for allowing me to reprint it here.  Here’s what she has to say:

I am not going to give you a destination. I can only give you a direction – awake, throbbing with life, unknown, always surprising, unpredictable. -Bagwan Shree Rajneesh

Eclipses make waves. Some are big waves like the sea at high tide; others are more like small ripples. In breaking waves, eclipse season can deliver difficult news, like the announcement of death or illness, or wondrous, a birth or true love. The ripples are quieter, but carrying no less impact, for if our life resembles a placid lake, emotional ripples can jar something loose within, deeply inside.

We may become unmoored by what we discover there. Whether we’re receiving messages from our unconscious, or a literal birth or death in our life, all eclipses beckon toward a distant and unknowable future.

 The degree to which we feel an eclipse varies person by person, but during eclipse season about this we can be certain: we’re tossed about on a sea of change and the messages we receive during this time will change our consciousness.

The shared commonality of all eclipse seasons is their soul-stretching nature -how they ask us to make room for something radically new and different in an area of life. Eclipses ask us to trust what presents, be it a loss, a gain, or a hard truth.

Predictively, eclipses also tend to be on-time presenting opportunities to move from zero to 60 mph in five seconds flat. It’s as if the chess Master moved a piece, check mate, and we suddenly find we’ve been picked up and moved two hundred feet ahead of where we were. The rapid quick fire nature of eclipses challenge us to keep pace with the growth that’s been laid out for us to take on next.

If you’re nodding your head to the above, your next question might be, how will this eclipse season affect me, and for how long? To understand the answer to that question, we have to go a little deeper into the houses of the birth chart. So let’s imagine.

We each have twelve houses in our birth chart and a pair of eclipses will neatly fall into two of those. Let’s back up a second. The birth chart’s houses actually look more like ‘rooms’ neatly representing each part of our life, so maybe it’s easier to picture your birth chart as a mansion with twelve rooms, each containing a sign (or more), and each connected to a sister room across the hall – which will also happen to be the opposite sign.

An eclipse set happens in pairs. That is, a solar and lunar eclipse, will span two rooms (technically, houses) of your birth chart for duration of two weeks on either side of the lunar and solar eclipse for a grand total of four to six weeks, or so. I say ‘or so’ because these flash in the pan eclipse effects will reverberate for up to the next 18 months. Like a loud and uninvited relative descending on your space, the eclipses visit for a brief time – those four to six weeks – yet they will leave a lasting impression.

Here’s another analogy for understanding eclipse season. Let’s say you haven’t really been paying attention to these particular room(s) in your house. Maybe due to no fault of your own, you’ve been letting clothes pile up in the corner, throwing spare furniture that you didn’t know what to do with in this room, and the sister room directly across this one is taking the overflow.

As you’ve been busy doing other things, you’ve forgotten about these two rooms. Now these rooms require your immediate attention. Eclipses do cosmic clean-up duty and may exist to literally help you clean house. As those flickering lights of the eclipses turn off and turn on, the shadows loom larger, and everything your room contains pops out in high relief. What will you see there?

This runs the gamut, and depends on the houses, the signs, or even the planet the eclipse touches off. Here’s a sampling of what you might discover: forgotten dreams, abandoned shadow pieces of your self, a need for awareness, a need for healing, a need for an attitudinal shift. It may start as something like this: a spare tire around your belly, a desire to go back to school, someone you forgot to be, a death to mourn, a birth to celebrate, a romantic interest, a partner’s identity crisis (which rolls over into your marriage).

This brings up the point that since both houses of the birth chart will be eclipsed, there’s a sort of rollover effect. What happens in one also affects the other. Knowing the signs, houses and planets which the eclipses aspect in your chart de-mystify eclipse season, but beyond that eclipses still remain an enigma – unpredictable.

Unpredictable & Shocking

Eclipses carry the signature of Uranus – shocking, surprising and unexpected. They’re a wild card in the horoscope, a predictive astrologers enigma and maybe a psychological astrologers dream. Eclipses are unpredictable.  Use adjectives like wild, exciting, dramatic, unknowable and of course, emotional and you’ve captured the bewildering feeling of an eclipse.

Talk like this to someone who is already feeling uncertain or anxious and you’ve probably triggered a host of insecurity and fears, too. Fear of the unknown is very real around eclipse season. There are a lot of unknowns in the air, and that’s a lot to sit with. Yet sit with it we must. We can do other things, too. We can orient our self toward the positive opportunity to grow. By free-associating the possibilities that could happen with the houses and planets aspected we can expand beyond our same old four walls.

We can voluntarily become ready to willingly give up, toss out, or clean up a certain way of being that is no longer serving our growth. If we’re honest, we might sense that we need to stretch our wings in a new direction in a area of our life. By feeling the live wire energy of eclipses we can allow the live wire energy of eclipses to mobilize us. We may even do something out of character and radical. This may be a good thing. It’s certainly a good thing to notice, but do we need to act on that idea to move to Panama today? Maybe we do.

Read about the eclipses by house and sign.

People, things, ideas pop up on our radar and these may very well be exactly what they promise. Yet we must always remember the ‘unpredictable’ part of eclipses. For some of us, it’s a great idea to follow that wild hair impulse, and for others of us we can lose traction with reality.

Especially regarding new ventures – like marriage, business contracts, moving house etc. – my rule of thumb is: if an opportunity presents itself during eclipse season, sit with it. Don’t be so quick to act. I’ve found that the way I best flow with eclipse season is to receive, sit with what the season brings. Even though eclipses can move you light years ahead in a heartbeat, eclipses are of the Moon. Lunar intuition precedes action. Another lunar lesson: nothing can happen out there without being fully alive in-here, first. The outer exists as a mirror of the inner.

History, Repeating

Finally, during eclipse season we may find our self in crisis in direction or plagued by unknowns and unknowables. The unknown is only scary because it hasn’t happened yet – or has it?

 Eclipses repeat every 9 1/2 and 19 years so if we’re looking for clues about what’s happening today, and how to ‘get it right’ this time, we can go back in time and root out similar themes in the story. This story has probably occurred in a different variation 9 1/2 or 19 years before.

The story isn’t exactly the same, but the themes repeat. Eclipse cycles repeat the same journey, so we can reach a new level of growth and mastery over an area or issue in our life. They also offer a chance for healing – if we’re ready for a new level of empowered expression, eclipses offer that too. If the walls have started to close in on us, that’s a sign that we’re ready for change. Eclipses bring those ‘ripe’ issues we’re ready to finally deal with out of the closet and into the light of day.

Here are some eclipse survival notes I’ve compiled over the years. 

As mysterious as eclipse season can be we don’t need to be fearful of change. We also don’t need to be in the dark about how to respond. We have the light of consciousness on our side so that we stray neither too far North or too far South.

Eclipses may challenge us to hold center and release what’s no longer true for us for the exciting unknowable future. The changes emotionally stretch us but I’ve noticed that if you look for the opportunity to grow and heal and be present during this time, the Universe will respond in kind. We can always choose to stay in balance with our soul’s wish to experience exactly this.

What Jessica says about herself: I am a counselor, astrologer, and teacher living in Fairfax, CA who has studied astrology since 1992. My heartfelt astrological intention for each astrological or counseling session is to name and expand the creative potential and possibility inherent to each unique person and each unique moment. I believe astrology can help you create a truly magical life and that’s why I wrote A Love Alchemist’s Notebook: Magical Secrets for Drawing Your True Love Into Your Life. My other publications include: Sex & Soul Mates columnist for Constellation MagazineVenus & Beyond: Love On the Outer Planets blog at, Saptarishi’s Astrology, and more writing right here.


  1. Thank you for this article. It was very helpful! This was a tough week emotionally.

  2. My sense is for this round of eclipses to bring fortunate circumstances to us. I say go with the flow, sometimes the path of least resistance is best. Why swim upstream? It is time to float down the lazy river.

    Thank you for the free lecture today which is very timely for me.

    Happy Eclipsing!

  3. I had a very interesting experience yesterday (saturday July 10). I had volunteered to take part in a training workshop for REBT practitioners (Rational-Emotive Behavioural Therapy). I played the part of the guinea pig.

    Now THAT’S a 0 to 60 experience. The therapy itself is *supposed* to be Intense and Focussed; the therapists are trained in focussing and re-focussing people on the issue they are trying to discuss, and Actively Re-directs negativity to positivity.

    I’m surprised how much I got out of the 2 hour experience, and how much more I need to work on for myself.

    Thought I’d just mention that as an example.

    • That’s funny, @lostshoe. I also volunteered this weekend to be a guinea pig for a healing experience. On the day of the eclipse no less. This was for a plant spirit medicine healing.

  4. Hello Donna,
    I spent last evening searching and searching the net for pieces on this eclipse–and last month’s as well–knowing that for me it is a profound time and wanting desperately to read something soul-deep in that resonance. You found it! It is indeed a treasure.
    With enormous gratitude,

  5. Wonderful post.

  6. Always the student,
    Here’s my question after reading the article:
    If this eclipse is in the pair of Cancer/Capricorn – which in my case is 1st/7th house, (plus 3° from my 1st house Sun)
    am I also to look to my 4th house and 10th for areas of life that might be affected?
    Or just any natal Sun, ASC, DSC aspects the transiting (eclipsing) Sun is making?

    • In your case, the primary impact is on matters of the 1st/7th, and if it’s touching any planets in those two houses, say within 3 degrees or so. I don’t get why you’re thinking the 4th/10th–is it because Cancer/Capricorn have a natural connection to those houses? But they don’t here, so no Or because of aspects to planets in those houses? Probab ly still a weak connection. Donna

      • Thanks Donna,
        for the patience.

        Yes…it was because I was thinking Cancer/Capricorn have a natural connection to those houses.

  7. thanks for the article…

  8. when this transiting moon is conjunct a natal planet (Mars in 8th) would it intensify the natal planets energy? Or is the house placement of the eclipse the more important influence?
    Great article, btw. would you always look at the opposite house when there’s an eclipse?

    • Hi, Natalie, if the eclipse is actually conjunct a natal planet within a few degrees–maybe even 5 degrees–then the planet is a big focus of the eclipses’ energy. Since the planet’s energy is centered in that particular house natally, however, then the issues and concerns of that planet would come into play.

      For a solar eclipse, only one house is emphasized, since the Sun and Moon are conjunct. However, the previous or following eclipse would be in the opposite house, which is where the pair of houses comes into the picture. Donna

  9. Thansk for bringing us this Donna, Jessica’s work is so wonderful 😀

    • Yes, her site is full of great stuff, and so well written. Donna

  10. Thank you, Donna, for the enormous honor of being seen on your site. This eclipse occurred just about a degree away from my Cancer Midheaven so you ‘seeing me’ feels magically momentous. You have a great thing going here, too – judging from the number of newsletter sign-ups I’ve received from this post, Skywriter is a well-liked, well-followed blog.

    XO, Jessica

    • I was delighted to publish the article, Jessica, but you and you alone are what attracted the newsletter sign ups! Your work is beautiful! Donna

  11. Hi Donna,

    The Cancer eclipse fell on my Uranus in the natal 3rd. I received a letter from my brother. We’ve been out of touch for over 30 years. He wanted to teach me about investment and the chart for the time I started studying the material turns out to have the eclipse on the 8th cusp. It is also conjunct his natal Mars sextile Cupido.

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