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Solar and Lunar eclipses 
(T.W.M. van Berkel, astrological magazine Sagittarius, NL, 1989)

Nederlandse versie 

Sagittarius 1989 In 1986, the first of a series of twelve articles about Nostradamus and the Centuries was published in Sagittarius. These series was a precursor of the book Nostradamus, astrologie en de Bijbel, published in 2002, and this website, 
In volume 1989, nr. 5, p.8-10, an article was published about Solar and Lunar Eclipses, phenomena which cause confusion and superstition and which are mentioned in the Centuries.


Astronomical phenomenon, astrological curiosity


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 Moon.
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 astrology.
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.

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 survey:
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 downright disastrous.

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 peaceful.
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?

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 view.
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 world".

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 an eclipse.
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?

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 Fortune.
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 birth-chart.

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 remedy.


J.B. Gieles
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 Richard Nixon. 
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.



De Meern, the Netherlands, October 1, 2007
T.W.M. van Berkel


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