Eclipses in Cancer and Capricorn
Occurring every six months, eclipses mark pivotal times in our lives. Magnificent and terrifying at the same time, they are seen as accelerators of change. Read about why they matter and what we can expect this year. If you know which house they fall in your natal chart, click on the Through The Houses button below the details of each eclipse for a high-level personal overview. A personal reading is the most accurate option.
The term eclipse has its roots in ancient Greek, coming from the word ékleipsis, meaning to fail or to abandon. We know today that eclipses are conjunctions or oppositions between the Sun and Moon. They occur when the luminaries are in a straight line — that is, longitudinally aligned — relative to Earth. How close to a Lunar Node and whether Earth is in the middle or to the side of this alignment determines the type of eclipse.
Before astronomers were able to explain these phenomena - and predict their occurrence with accuracy - a plethora of imaginative explanations were concocted to explain why the Sun and Moon diminish in the sky. This is not surprising, since the regular rhythms of the Sun and Moon mark the passing of time and of the seasons, and as such underlie life itself. The Sun, worshipped as a major life force in the universe, disappears during the solar eclipse, making it an omen of all things evil. The Moon similarly appears alarmingly wounded during her ‘Blood Moon’ event.
Lunar eclipses were the first major celestial events that astrologers learned to predict accurately. In ancient times, total solar eclipses played a major role in predicting the future health and success of the ruler, and therefore the country. Astrologers therefore had the onerous task of trying to anticipate when these events might occur. They had a strong motivation to get it right, as their life was often at stake. Thankfully today our destinies are much less tied to our ability to forecast eclipses, and we can even enjoy these phenomena from the comfort of our armchairs.
Eclipses in Astrology
If closely aligned with personal degrees, eclipses may point to transformative times ahead, either personally or at global level, whether from internal or external circumstances.
With the synergy between conscious awareness (the Sun) and unconscious impulses (the Moon), for some of us eclipses can bring emotional challenges, and in some cases even life-changing external events. Not to be taken lightly if they apply to our astrological placements, eclipses tend to re-awaken the potential inherent in us at birth, sounding a call for us to fulfil our personal destiny, to overcome our fears, taboos, passed-down values, and other restrictions over which we may have stumbled in the past. With the Moon in the mix, our sense of comfort, security, and belonging may be challenged. Whether a new beginning or a culmination depends on how close the Moon is to the Sun. Her proximity to the South or North Node also adds colour to the nature of the experience.
The sign and house an eclipse falls into, as well as any planets it connects with, will point to its themes, modus operandi, and areas of life affected. An eclipse in Leo — such as the one on the 21st of January 2019 — will likely be about creativity, self-belief, and pride. In Aquarius it will cast the spotlight on social causes, friends, intellectual systems, and distancing oneself from people or situations. Similarly, in aspect to the Midheaven (MC), career matters are likely to come to a head, with sudden changes of direction possible, or clashes with people in authority. Near the Ascendant it will manifest as the battle of the ego versus relationships, of autonomy versus dependency, and an increased focus on physical appearance and the effect we make on others.
Eclipses also embody the energy of the planets or points they aspect in our personal charts. For example, an eclipse on natal, progressed or directed Venus may be about relationships, finances, social reach, or the balance of give and take. With Mars it is likely about channelling our energy, or challenges to our assertiveness or sexuality. Additionally, once a planet or point in a personal chart is activated by an eclipse, it will be supercharged and will resonate with each subsequent planetary transit over it.
Eclipse energy can influence us for between six months to two years, or longer depending on the duration of the actual eclipse. Eclipses also come in families that span millennia, and weave evolving story arcs when Moon phases hit near the same degree of a sign every nine months. Finally, with eclipses taking place in the same sign at cyclical intervals, we can look back into the past, 18.6 or 9 years back, to get a sense of the likely themes of future eclipses.
Cancer and Capricorn
This year we are treated to five eclipses in total. Of these, four will fall on the Cancer/Capricorn axis, their new home until mid-2020, while one — on 21st of January 2019 — is the last remnant of the series of eclipses in Leo and Aquarius begun in February 2017. The exact dates and degrees of this year’s eclipses are as follows:
With a new series in Cancer and Capricorn, the archetypal metaphor revolves around the feminine principle and patriarchal constructs, between maternal versus paternal models, between our unconditionally nurturing instincts and our inner judgmental authority figure.
Cancerians care intensely. Their emotions are their compass, shaping every moment and every decision. Guided by a strong need for safety and security, when hurt or scared, the automatic response is to withdraw into a hard shell, and to shut the harsh world outside. Nurturing and protecting their tribe is their unspoken mission in life. Intuitive and empathetic, they care about emotional and physical wellbeing. Yet, their soft and understanding demeanour belies huge strength and determination. Like a jaguar protecting her cubs, the full force of Cancerian fury can be terrifying to witness, should their loved ones come under threat. Even personal safety comes second in this scenario. Emotional manipulation, bitter resentment, and passive aggressive attitudes can show themselves when dealing with the shadow side of this cardinal sign.
With its penchant for pragmatism, strong ethics, and relentlessness, Capricorn is redolent of Saturnian principles. Leaving no stone unturned, it follows the sure path to the summit by placing one careful step after another, unconcerned with how long it will take to reach to the top. Born to overcome hardships and master its environment, structure, hierarchy, boundaries, and authority are key expressions of this archetype. Taken to its extremes, Capricornian energy may come across as rigid, cold and calculating, sometimes even ruthless, with no spontaneity or emotions on display. Caution and an aversion to risk taking lead to a preference for tradition and following the trodden path, as they have proven successful and enduring in the long run.
Both Cancer and Capricorn are concerned with self-protection and security. The former approaches it emotionally and the latter physically, and both prefer stability over change. This showdown is about going back to our roots, defending our own, and strengthening our tribe. The harsh discipline and realities of Capricorn clash with the tender instincts of Cancer, especially with Saturn involved until end-2020. Will softer, more nurturing values take in the increasingly difficult world we are facing?
The Saturnian undertones of this year’s eclipses will shine the light on where we are going wrong in our lives. Like a reality check, they will help us to align with our deepest self, to ensure we are ultimately pursuing our deepest purpose. In this sense, they will be about psychological maturity, self-mastery, safety, and self-sufficiency. They will be about doing the right thing, at the right time, the right way. Any obstacles along the way are likely to be symptomatic of one of these three principles not being in balance. These eclipses will allow us to identify whether we need to course correct, and how. Then plan for it, but without expecting overnight success. This is not the Saturnian — nor indeed the Cancerian or Capricornian — way.