phenomenon, astrological curiosity
SOLAR AND LUNAR ECLIPSES
In astrology, Solar and Lunar Eclipses belong to the
changelings, according to some people. Those who impute an
impact on Solar and Lunar Eclipses, refer to a.o. the old
Chinese astrologers, who also did that. In this article, these
phenomena are critically scrutinized.
Solar and Lunar Eclipses, also called "eclipses",
are nothing more or less than New or Full Moons, accompanied by
a shadow play. In the case of a Solar Eclipse, the Moon is
between the earth and the Sun. The shadow of the Moon falls upon
the earth. In the case of a Lunar Eclipse, the earth is between
the Sun and the Moon. The shadow of the earth falls upon the
Undoubtedly, you will have observed a Lunar Eclipse. Slowly, the
Moon becomes more dark, until it is almost completely darkened.
Solar Eclipses, however, can not be observed that often. A Solar
Eclipse can not be observed from any place on earth. A Solar
Eclipse "moves" over a piece of the globe. A Lunar
Eclipse can be observed from any place on earth.
Each year, there are two Solar Eclipses, sometimes three. The
number of Lunar Eclipses in each year is four, sometimes five.
The astronomers categorized the degrees of occultation. A Solar
Eclipse can be total, partial or annular. In the last case, a
ring, the so-called corona, can be observed. A Lunar Eclipse can
also be total or partial, but sometimes the amount of shadow of
the earth upon the Moon is that small, that the Moon only
slightly colours and can be observed having a blood red colour.
Today, almost nothing is left of the old Chinese astrology.
We know that this kind of astrology was a complicated, accurate
system. The minus-one-system originates from this old branch of
The Chinese emperors held astrology in high esteem, especially
in the case of politics. Each emperor had a number of court
astrologers who, if we can believe Robert van Gulik, the author
of the "Judge Dee novels", published almanacs with
predictions for each day.
According to the stories, Solar and Lunar Eclipses played an
important role in the political branch of astrology: they had
the fate of the emperor at their disposal. It is told that two
astrologers, while calculating, overlooked a Solar Eclipse. This
was a very serious mistake, for which they were executed.
VIEW OF PTOLEMY
In the Tetrabiblos (translated in Dutch and published by the
Astrological Counselling Office Gieles), Ptolemy describes, in
the chapters 5 to 10 of book 2, his vision on the impact of
eclipses. In connection with his way of working, his
information, in very brief notes, is surprisingly clear. A
In chapter 5, Ptolemy emphasizes the importance of "ecliptical
conjunctions of the Sun and the Moon", in other words, of
Solar Eclipses. It is only in chapter 8 that Ptolemy mentions
Lunar Eclipses, but he does not discuss this phenomenon.
In chapter 6, he explains how to determine the areas in which
the impact of the Solar Eclipse can be felt.
Chapter 7 gives information about the duration of the impact.
Chapter 8 deals with a.o. the strength of the impact.
|n chapter 9, Ptolemy explains that the impact of eclipses,
influenced by Jupiter and Venus, is beneficent, whereas the
impact of eclipse is disastrous when influenced by Mars and
Saturn. The Fixed Stars also influence the impact of an eclipse.
The influence of Mercury is, of course, twofold.
In chapter 10, the colour of the eclipse is discussed. This
chapter also contains some remarks about comets.
For Ptolemy, the Solar Eclipse is valuable in political
(mundane) astrology. He does not explain the meaning of an
eclipse in a birth-chart. At the end of chapter 9, he writes
that people in whose chart the Sun and the Moon have a
longitude, corresponding with the longitude during an eclipse,
will feel its impact.
It must be noted that in a number of cases, Ptolemy considers an
eclipse to be beneficent. The majority of astrologers, in the
past as well as in the present, consider eclipses to be
VIEW OF NOSTRADAMUS
In connection with eclipses, we cannot escape to look at the
most known prophet of doom of all times. In a letter to Henry
II, which accompanies his prophecies, he writes that a certain
year "is peaceful, without any eclipse". This line is
thoroughly discussed in Sagittarius 6-1987 and means that France
will not be involved in any war in 1606 AD, since in that year
the Solar and Lunar Eclipses do not occur in Leo, the sign which
rules France. From this line, we might derive that according to
Nostradamus, Solar and Lunar Eclipses are disastrous, not
Coincidentally or not, in 1606, France was not at war with any
other country. But the astrological argument of Nostradamus does
not make sense. In that year, the Caput Draconis, in astrology
involved in Solar and Lunar Eclipses, moved through Libra and
Virgo. In these signs, and the opposite signs Aries and Pisces,
the Solar and Lunar Eclipses occurred. England (Aries): not at
war. Portugal (Pisces): not at war. The present Swiss area
(Virgo): not at war. The present Austrian area (Libra): not at
war. Who was fighting against who? The Netherlands (Cancer)
against Spain (Sagittarius), signs in which in 1606 the Caput
Draconis was not located. An accurate prediction or pure coincidence?
VIEW OF CONTEMPORARIES
The views of contemporary astrologers is quite divergent.
Some say that a Solar or Lunar Eclipse often precedes the birth
of a person who later will be very important for humanity. From
the preceding paragraphs, you can derive that there are about
five to seven periods in each year in which an important person
will be born. Your birth was preceded by either a Solar or a
Lunar Eclipse. So we better be happy and ignore this point of
Most astrologers who comment Solar or Lunar Eclipses, consider
the impact of eclipses as disastrous.
In a radio interview, J.B. Gieles said not to have observed any
concrete impact of Solar and Lunar Eclipses during the 30 years
he practiced astrology, not in the case of birth charts, not in
the case of the daily planetary motion upon which he bases his
predictions in his column "the circumstances in the
AND LUNAR ECLIPSES IN ASTROLOGY
From the astronomical description of a Solar or a Lunar
Eclipse, it became clear that the earth is involved in a shadow
game. In a birth-chart as well as in an ephemeris, the earth is
not present. However, the ephemeris - and therefore the
birth-chart - provides information about whether or not there is
In the case of a Solar or a Lunar Eclipse, the New or Full Moon
must appear almost conjunct or opposite the Caput Draconis. In
the "aspectarium" of the American Ephemeris, eclipses
are registered with a black conjunction or opposition symbol.
But, do we actually deal with a conjunction or an opposition?
SURPLUS IN ORB
You know that each planet has its own orb, its deviation in
exactitude of an aspect. Usually, the orb of the Sun and the
Moon is up to 5 or 7 degrees in the case of major aspects like a
conjunction or an opposition. But in the case of an aspect of
the Sun and the Moon with the Caput Draconis, the orb is
reduced. The Caput Draconis is the intersection of the ecliptic
(the zodiac) with the Moon's orbit. The Caput Draconis is not a
planet, casts no rays, which means that its orb is small, up to
2 degrees. The same rule goes for the cusps and the Part of
In almost all New and Full Moons, the distance with the Caput
Draconis is more than 3 degrees of arc, sometimes up to 12
degrees. From an astrological point of view, we practice
astrology, there is no conjunction or opposition between the
Caput Draconis and the New or Full Moon. From an astrological
point of view, there is no Solar or Lunar Eclipse, because in
most cases, there is no contact with the Caput Draconis.
As far as I am concerned, this reason leads me to the opinion
that a Solar or Lunar Eclipse occurs in the sky, but not in the
Unfortunately, many astrologers say ominous things about the
impact of Solar and Lunar Eclipses. While doing so, they hurt
people severely. One can also notice this kind of behaviour in
the case of comets, who also have no impact in astrology. Is
there any truth in their sayings?
All predictions of disasters, epidemics etc., based upon
eclipses, are fictions. Each birth-chart is unique and must be
studied separately, also in the case a New or Full Moon appears
within 3 degrees of the Caput Draconis. The impact of this New
or Full Moon also depends on the houses in which the Sun and the
Moon are located, the houses they rule, their aspects with other
planets and with the Fixed Stars.
It might be possible that the father (usually, the Sun indicates
the father) was not present at the time of birth. Another
possibility might be that there were problems with the residence
(Caput Draconis) or in the marriage (usually, the Moon indicates
the mother). But, this all is not a hard and fast rule.
The best way to test these prophets of doom is to investigate
the most serious disasters we know. For example, one would
expect that at least a Solar Eclipse would have accompanied the
dropping of the atom bomb on Hiroshima. A look in the ephemeris
shows that back in August 1945, there was no Solar or Lunar
Eclipse. There are plenty more examples.
As far as I am concerned, nowhere is confirmed that Solar or
Lunar Eclipses bring ominous disasters or death and destruction.
Such explanations seem to be a kind of superstition, based upon
the same assumptions as the value which is given to
Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions in the case of American presidents
(which theory does not work) and the value which is given to the
assumption that most of the children are born around Full Moon.
That assumption simply would mean that in most of the birth
charts, a Full Moon is present. This is not the case.
This kind of astrological superstition, as one might call it, is
enhanced by literature. Robert van Gulik for example usually
presented the solution of a crime together with a
radical change in the weather or a celestial phenomenon. In the
Old Testament, such a kind of emphasis was applied in the case
of wars, and the blood red coloured Moon can be found in the
Book of Revelations.
Like this, a circular course is created, which is not easy to
stop. In this article, an attempt has been made to stop it. By
doing so, astrology becomes less spectacular... but astrology is
not a shadow game.
The "Larousse encyclopedia of astrology", which
has been an important source for this article, notes that at the
time of a Solar Eclipse, some animals suddenly fall asleep. They
respond to the vanishing of the daylight. In this encyclopedia,
nothing is said about the yes/no impact of a Solar or Lunar
Eclipse in a birth chart, but it is reported that astronomers,
who want to make a picture of the Sun during a Solar Eclipse,
but who do not have the right lense, are subject to a mental
depression. This brings us back to astrology in order to find a
AND J.B. GIELES
The astrological magazine Sagittarius was founded in
October 1973 by Jan Bernard Gieles, born in Halsteren (NL) on
June 2, 1918, deceased in The Hague (NL) on September 23, 2007. Gieles, who had an astrological practice at home,
held lectures and courses, was chief editor as well as publisher. He wrote the majority of articles.
In the summer of 2002, Sagittarius was published for the last time.
Regular columns in Sagittarius were e.g. the descriptions
of the zodiacal signs, the lessons in astrology and numerology,
reviews, predictions regarding the circumstances in the world by
means of the actual motion of the planets, the column "objections
against astrology" and analyses of the charts of well-known
persons in the Netherlands and abroad (artists, politicians,
spiritual leaders etc.).
In the lessons in astrology and the horoscope analyses, Gieles
showed how with the minus-one-system of primary and secondary
directions he developed, it was possible to predict on date in
the case of a chart where the birth time was verified correctly
in connection with events which took place in the past. For
example, Gieles predicted the fall of the American president
Gieles took the writings of Ptolemy as a starting point,
completed with material from the Greek mythology. He used the
seven classis planets (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter
and Saturn), the three transsaturnial planets (Uranus, Neptune
and Pluto), the Part of Fortune, the Mean Lunar Nodes, the
Placidean system of house division and the Fixed Stars,
according to Vivian Robson's Fixed Stars and constellations
in astrology, the major aspects (conjunction, sextile,
square, triangle and opposition), the minor aspects (semi-sextile,
semi-square, sesquisquare and inconjunct) and the parallel of
declination. He did not use astrological systems which
originated from other cultures. He also did not use astrological
systems which do not result in concrete predictions which become
fulfilled on the given date.
In the years I worked as a freelance correspondent for
Sagittarius, I learned how to write and edit articles. Mr. Gieles taught me
many things, not only about
astrology, but also about a continuous critical approach of
astrological phenomena and the maintenance of the point of view
that whoever practices astrology, has to prove himself to his
clients, his audience and his readers, by predicting in a
concrete way, including dates of fulfilment. Someone who is not
able to predict on date, or who only talks about the
future without giving fulfilment data, disqualifies himself. It
is from this conviction that I started to study the Centuries,
back in 1980. In this respect, I owe mr. Gieles very, very much.