Sunday, May 1, 2022

The gardens of possibility we plant in eclipse season: April/May highlights


“The human venture depends absolutely on this quality of awe and reverence and joy in the Earth and all that lives and grows upon the Earth….In the end the universe can only be explained in terms of celebration.  It is all an exuberant expression of existence itself…” -- Thomas Berry, The Great Work: Our Way into the Future 

Gardening is on my mind a lot these days—specifically, gardening that will nurture vulnerable pollinators. I planted one swamp milkweed last year, trying out the idea, and was immediately hooked: the plant wasn’t even properly settled into the ground when a gorgeous Monarch butterfly lit on it and wouldn’t be shaken off, even with last minute adjustments in the planting. This is what I’m hoping my somewhat dull, suburban back yard could be: a small haven for creatures that badly need allies these days. I expect it will be a win-win situation, too: we always plant a vegetable garden, and the more pollinators who come visiting, the better.  

Since venturing out on this project, I notice pollinator-friendly plants wherever I go—I’m now a regular at local plant nurseries, hovering in the aisles making notes and carefully purchasing what I hope will thrive  in our crazy, erratic zone in Michigan. Ask any Michigander about the weather and they’ll probably cite the State folk wisdom: “if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes”. So I plan, put the soil in place where I need it, and make those mental (and scribbled) notes.  

If traffic in the plant nurseries is any indication, gardening in Michigan has become even more of an obsession than usual. I would guess that people being more homebound for the past couple years has brought this on, but perhaps this trend taps into some deeper impulse as well, like a driving desire for a good old “celebration of life,” as Thomas Berry suggests above. With a little love and nurturing, could all of our yards and garden patches, however humble, become “an exuberant expression of existence itself?” I consider this possibility a hopeful sign.   

Of necessity, we talk a lot on this site about the many ways Berry’s awe-filled celebration of existence is being put to the test these days: how could we not, with the incessant drums of conflict and devastation pounding on in Ukraine, thanks to Putin’s self-indulgent war of choice? Had Berry lived to see all this, I suspect that Putin’s zeal for denying Ukraine’s “right to exist” would have struck him as pure hubris and outrageous arrogance. The stuff of Greek tragedy, even.  

Think about it: classic tragedies—the kind that compel us to watch because they play on our most dreaded existential fears--always seem to involve deep disdain for truth and facts, maybe even a borderline hysterical detachment from reality that can’t help but come crashing down around the protagonists’ lives. Sometimes the tragedies are romantic, as with Romeo and Juliet and Othello; sometimes they are about the toxic deceptions that roil families--think Oedipus Rex and King Lear. Sometimes they involve toxic power fantasies masquerading as heroic national myth, as we’re seeing with Putin’s Russia at the moment.  

As far as I can see, the tragedy of the situation Putin has created for himself at this moment is that his apparent goals are simply unachievable in any real sense. Can he revive Russia’s glorious imperial past without also turning Russia into a global pariah? If wars of aggression are the only way he knows to pursue glory, then probably not. And what is the pleasure in being a glorious pariah? Perhaps it works for a man who sees enemies everywhere he looks, but that alone is tragic and pitiful on multiple levels. Perhaps for a time he can deceive and manipulate the Russian people into believing he’s been acting on their true behalf, and that they’re all engaged in and sacrificing for the sake of some grand national mytholgy, but the truth will out because that’s what seals the deal in tragic situations: the truth always comes out in the end.  

Besides, the Russian people are not stupid; in fact, I bet they’re planting their gardens like all of us are these days, only they may be doing so with some urgency because tough economic conditions have been thrust upon them by their leader. I find this reliable human impulse to survive in the face of others’ venality and hubris hopeful: It’s difficult to be deluded when your hands are in the soil, coaxing needed food out of Mother Earth. That’s the gift of Saturn we need to cherish these days—the gift of being literally grounded in the Real, in what tangibly feeds our bodies and our Souls.   

The natural rhythms and inflection points embodied in our lunar cycle also ground us from month to month, so in today’s post we will explore two instances that we are or will be dealing with soon: the Solar Eclipse of April 30 (the New Moon that’s just past as I write this) and the Lunar Eclipse (Full Moon) of May 16. The earthy exuberance of Taurus, even as it’s expressed in the “dark” of a New Moon, can’t help but deepen our appreciation for Life-writ-large and what really matters in this world. Let’s consider the charts, set for Washington, D.C. 


The astrology 

Before we consider the chart for the April 30 Solar Eclipse/New Moon that took place at 10°28’ Taurus, let’s consider some astronomical details that influenced how impactful this lunation will feel. From 

“This year, humans on Earth will experience four eclipses: two of the sun and two of the moon. The first of these is a solar eclipse set to take place on Saturday.   

Interestingly, this partial solar eclipse of April 30 will involve the second of two new moons in the month of April, what colloquially is known as a "Black Moon." 

During this upcoming solar eclipse, the dark shadow cone of the moon, from where a total eclipse can be seen, will completely miss the Earth, passing approximately 750 miles (1,200 kilometers) below the South Pole. 

But the moon's outer shadow, or penumbra, will scrape a part of the Southern Hemisphere, resulting in a partial eclipse that will be visible near sunset across a swath of the South Pacific and Southern Oceans, as well as in southern and western portions of South America, including Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, southern Peru southern Bolivia, western Paraguay and a tiny slice of Brazil. 

The greatest eclipse, or the moment when the axis of the moon's shadow cone will be closest to Earth's center, will take place over the Southern Ocean (see green star), 300 miles (480 km) to the northwest of Yelcho Base, a Chilean Antarctic Research Base at South Bay, Doumer Island.  

A ship or trawler near this spot will see the sun will barely clear the west-northwest horizon, with nearly two-thirds of its diameter (63.96%) hidden behind the moon. The normally thick haze on the horizon could attenuate and redden with the sun's light, giving it the appearance of a slice of cantaloupe melon. Unfortunately, no part of this eclipse will be visible from the Northern Hemisphere.” 

I would encourage you to follow the links within the excerpt above for more information on the various terms used. Astrologically, of course, eclipses are considered fairly powerful transits with potentially long-term influence on a national chart, whether they are visible from that nation or not. That said, however, eclipse experts like Celeste Teal do use a point system built around several factors, all to determine how powerful a specific eclipse is. Teal rates eclipses on a power scale of 1-7, with 1 being the lowest (any lunation that is an eclipse automatically receives 1 point) and 7 being the highest. Summarizing Teal’s rating system1, in a nutshell, Table 1 below lays out the factors and points to consider: 

Table 1. A system for rating the power of an eclipse 




for the lunation simply being an eclipse 


if the North or South Node fall within 10 degrees of a Solar eclipse, or within 5 degrees of a Lunar eclipse 


if the eclipse will be conjoined or opposed by Saturn within 4 years 


for each additional planet that falls within 3 degrees of conjoining or opposing the Sun or Moon during an eclipse 


If the eclipse falls in a critical cardinal zero point (e.g., 0° Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn 


If the eclipse falls in the also critical 13th degree of any cardinal sign 


If the eclipse conjoins or opposes (within 3° orb) a major world power’s Sun or Moon 


If the eclipse conjoins or opposes (within 3° orb) a major world power’s other planets or angles 


Excerpted from: Celeste Teal, Eclipses: Predicting World Events & Personal Transformation (see Note 1) 

Armed with this information, let’s examine the April 30, 2022 Solar eclipse pictured in Chart 1 below. 


Chart 1. Solar Eclipse, April 30, 2022, 4:27:55 p.m. DST, Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All charts cast with Kepler 8.0 and courtesy of Cosmic Patterns Software. 

At first glance, this looks like a fairly weak eclipse: it gets a point just for being one, but the Nodes do not fall within 10 points of either luminary, the eclipse point will not be transited by Saturn within the next 4 years, and it does not fall at a critical degree, zero or otherwise.  

On closer evaluation, however, there’s more to see here. Mars will transit conjunct the Eclipse point in June 2024, and will oppose this same point in October 2025. Mars tends to have a triggering effect, so any issues that were unresolved around the energies of this eclipse could resurface for more action at those times. Teal notes that Mars often represents a bully, and these eclipse-related Mars contacts can bring such a person into the picture. Putin could certainly fill this role, but there could be others as well. Teal also says that “Mars energy is best utilized when fighting for causes on behalf of others. That’s why it’s appropriately associated with the armed forces and the military.”2 Given all this, it will be interesting to see if U.S. troops begin playing a bigger role in the Ukraine-Russia conflict, if even just for humanitarian rescues, training, etc.  

This Eclipse point also falls within that 3° orb of a few luminaries of nations that raise U.S. security or strategic concerns: (by conjunction) Japan, Palestine, (Germany’s Sun falls just outside that orb); (by opposition) Czechoslovakia, and Palestine. Iran’s Taurus MC is conjoined by this eclipse point. There’s more, but you get the point—a relatively mild eclipse can pack a punch in surprising ways.  

As for ways in which this eclipse could more directly impact the U.S., it does fall opposite Joe Biden’s natal Mars (Scorpio), which could be stressful, but he’s got the weight of the world and all of democracy on his shoulders at the moment (which often appears to be a very thankless job), so we probably shouldn’t expect anything less.  

So, I would give this eclipse a mid-range rating, which may even be generous: it’s a partial eclipse whose shadow isn’t going to hit the Earth directly to begin with. That said, however, it’s a more powerful New Moon than usual and in a fixed sign, it may have some staying power. Not to mention there are some things happening just outside the 3° orb that suggest to me this one could be a sleeper. Let’s take a closer look at the chart. 

Sun-Moon (Eclipse point) conjoin Uranus (Taurus) and sextile Mars (Pisces). Notice that this Uranus lands just outside that 3° orb of the eclipse point, which is probably a blessing, but I won’t be too surprised if something of a shocking, Uranian nature transpires, either here or abroad, anyway. Not too surprisingly, this eclipse and Uranus do impact Ukraine’s radix chart, falling opposite its 11th house Scorpio MC. This could explain why we’re seeing more bombing raids returning to Kiev lately, after a hiatus when Russia diverted its attention to the eastern regions.  The energies of an eclipse usually begin being felt a few days prior to the precise date and time, so this would fit; besides, even without an eclipse, Uranus has been hovering within orb of this opposition for a while now.  

As for its impact on the U.S. chart, the eclipse and the accompanying Nodal axis (Taurus-Scorpio) fall across the Sibly 6th-12th axis (chart not shown), suggesting that workers and other public servants (perhaps even military personnel) may feel the “shock” value of this eclipse most directly. Even so, the eclipse point also falls sextile Sibly Sun (Cancer), which may actually help enhance U.S. leadership for now.   

Eclipse Uranus inconjoins Sibly Saturn (Libra), however, suggesting that Congress and the Judiciary may be in for some shock treatment. The way the eclipse opposes Ukraine’s radix MC at the same time this inconjunct creates frustrations could also explain why a small group of the Trumpiest U.S. House members voted against further support for Ukraine. Other Republicans balk at having Ukraine aid tied in with COVID funding, but thankfully, things are moving in the direction of securing the aid. Still, frustrating delays keep happening, despite heavy pressure to secure the aid quickly.  

Perhaps most significantly, in Taurus, this eclipse demands tangible results—Eclipse No. Node (Taurus) squares Eclipse Saturn (Aquarius), reinforcing that demand. This applies in many areas of concern, from putting our money where our mouths are to planting those all-important gardens, literal and figurative. It’s about holding accountable those who believe the law doesn’t apply to them and about gathering resources for hard times. As so many analysts have been predicting, recession could result from inflationary pressures, and yes, those energies are reflected here by the 8th house placement of the Eclipse point and the fact that Taurus is disposed by an inflationary Venus, conjunct Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces at the DSC. Is there something positive we could be achieving with these energies? Few analysts and/or politicians seem to think in those terms, but perhaps it’s time to do so? 

This is a curious combination of factors that puts consumers at a disadvantage while corporations continue to rake in tremendous profits and job numbers continue to be solid. Worker conditions are often another story, however: the fact that a unionization vote could have gone against Amazon and Jeff Bezos must have sent shock waves through CEO souls, but it’s totally in keeping with this fixed stand-off between forward-leaning trends (more protection for workers) and the corporate will to stifle workers’ rights. 

This eclipse probably won’t be the panacea for all labor issues, however—that Venus-Jupiter-Neptune alliance in the background might be more likely to promote the inflation of corporate bottom lines on the backs of workers—but we may, in fact, look back at this period (or the lifespan of this eclipse, which is usually thought to be about 3 years) and see that it’s been pretty transformative. There’s been new talk about finally passing those higher corporate tax rates that were such a big issue during the 2020 election. This would also fit the 2nd-8th house placement of this Nodal axis. Passing such a hike will meet with ferocious opposition—especially in the form of Neptunian misinformation campaigns and deflections onto irrelevant culture war issues--but this Saturn, dignified in Aquarius and shored up by a strong Uranus conjunction to the eclipse, may force more focus on this priority. 

The seemingly endless waves of misinformation put out in the service of the so-called “Culture Wars” are far from abated here, however: with the chart cast for Washington, D.C., Jupiter-Venus-Neptune (Pisces) form one leg of a mutable grand square involving all four mutable signs (Virgo, Pisces, Gemini, Sagittarius) and all four chart angles (ASC, DSC, MC, IC). Polarization in the nation couldn’t be stretched more taut—something very substantial needs to begin uniting us around common goals and values, and soon.  


 The May 16, 2022 Lunar Eclipse 


Chart #2. Lunar Eclipse, May 16, 2022, 12:13:58 a.m., DST, Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All charts cast with Kepler 8.0 and courtesy of Cosmic Patterns Software. 

At 25°+ Taurus-Scorpio (Sun-Moon), and a supermoon (the Moon is close to perigee), this eclipse is more closely allied with the Taurus-Scorpio Nodal axis, so in keeping with Table 1 above, it’s already considerably more powerful than its April 30th precursor. As you can see from the  illustration above, this eclipse will also be more top of mind because it will be visible across basically half of the U.S. All of South America will be able to see it; quite a change from the one on April 30th. This eclipse is also far longer in duration, so as conventional astrological wisdom goes, we will probably feel its impact for longer too. 

Remember, solar eclipses are more focused on the leaders of nations (and the nations as solar entities) and lunar eclipses are more focused on the people, or so-called “body politic” of those nations. In this case, the South Node is allied with the Scorpio Moon, suggesting that some pressing matter or build-up of stale energies needs to be released. That could apply to any number of things, but in the 11th house, a need to let go of leaders and influencers of some kind makes sense. Is this the energy that will be carried into the November midterm elections? It’s possible: with Saturn again t-square this fixed Nodal Axis, there seems to be collective appetite for punishing public officials, especially those who take their jobs seriously, but don’t cater to Trumpism.   

Of course, the 5th house hosts the Sun in this potentially volatile Full Moon phase beginning here. This Sun has now distanced itself from Uranus, which trails behind in Taurus by 10 degrees, perhaps thankfully. It’s rough enough that Saturn t-squares this convergence of the Sun-Moon and Nodal Axes in the 2nd house of the small “e” economy. Inflation will likely continue to take a bite out of people’s budgets, or at least with Mars-conjunct-Neptune in the 3rd, the “narrative” will be dominated with this message because people can easily identify. Even so, there may not be much substance in the narrative: as one Biden administration official put it in a recent interview, the GOP (and its Pisces Sun) “wants issues, not solutions.” Issues to stir everyone up; issues that are fund-raising magnets, like abortion, parental rights over school curricula, immigration (Pisces loves a good “invasion” narrative) and so on. These issues don’t require anyone to craft even one real solution to real problems.  

Think about it: locking down a woman’s reproductive rights will do nothing to solve the underlying pressures that drive women to seek abortions to begin with. Terrorizing teachers will do nothing to improve our schools. Abusing would-be refugees or asylum seekers never did a thing to solve the pressures that cause waves of migration. Making real headway against climate change would help address some of these pressures, but getting our politicians to put their short-term power ambitions aside to solve real, long-term priorities and problems is another story.  

 So, it’s likely the incendiary  (and complicated) politics of higher prices at the gas tank will have a longer lifespan than we’d like: this Mars-Neptune also trines/sextiles the Moon-Sun axis and its companion Nodal axis. For its part, Jupiter (now in Aries) sextiles 1st house Pluto (Rx, Capricorn), reflecting the corporate opportunities presented by all this. Price hikes require little justification when “everyone’s doing it,” so rest assured, prices will continue to rise. We may want our government to rein this in, but the political resolve to empower Congress or the Executive to actually take the needed actions is squishy, at best. To my eye, the corporate world and its lobbyists are just fine with Biden falling on his sword over the prices they’re charging.  

And not surprisingly, this eclipse ties into both Trump’s and Biden’s nativity in stressful ways: the Moon falls conjunct Trump’s natal IC (Scorpio) and square his natal Mars-ASC (Leo). It feels like long past time for the GOP to move on from Trump, but his influence seems deep entrenched in everything they do. Will that change?  

This eclipse Moon also falls conjunct Biden's 12th house Mercury-Sun-Venus Scorpio stellium, with the Sun opposing all that and t-squaring his natal Chiron (Leo). This suggests that he will continue to be challenged to do a job that is (in terms of ego gratification) basically thankless, and with that heavy Piscean energy in the Eclipse 3rd house, his messaging will likely continue to get lost in the ether. In the end, this disconnect may end up being the measure of the man and his level of commitment, whether his approval ratings go up or down.   

Meanwhile, returning to Chart 2 on its own, Sun (Taurus) trines Pluto (Rx, Capricorn), with Moon (Scorpio) sextile that same point. So, another indication that the winds of this eclipse season are blowing in favor of the corporate world’s agenda. There are potential positives here too, of course: corporations need to be strong and financially resilient to push world-changing agendas like transitioning to a green economy. Detroit is all abuzz with electric car manufacturing at this time—I'll be glad to see their hand strengthened. But if corporate “500-lb. Gorillas" bent on maintaining the fossil fuel status quo are given unfettered reins, that’s another, far less positive story.  



Final thoughts 

There’s always more to say about any chart, but one big picture fact stands out in the end here. So much tension afloat these days could be attributed to the pressures produced by two key waning cycles, Saturn-Uranus and Saturn-Neptune. These two have been enabling those who seem bent on crushing and distorting our public institutions and public discourse, so it’s natural that We the People would be experiencing “fight or flight.” No wonder the so-called opioid epidemic, which has been only exacerbated by the pandemic, shows little sign of abating these days. This is a much bigger story for another day, but it’s worth noting here because Saturn is the best antidote to a toxic Neptune, which seems to have produced a smothering fog of stagnant (and dangerous) inertia instead of helping us produce real solutions for real problems. And unfortunately, we will be living with these waning energies for a number of years yet, so it would help to pay attention to what we are likely to lose if we don't pay attention.

Add in the persistent fear of chaotic change that the Saturn-Uranus 3Q seems to promote at its worst, and we have a recipe for deep social fragmentation and dysfunction. Again, not enough energy put towards producing real, systems-wide solutions for real problems.  

So where to from here? Perhaps taking individual responsibility for doing whatever we can do instead of fretting about who’s to blame for the collective inertia and dysfunction is one possibility we could cultivate. This is another way of "paying attention" in the moment. I've chosen to build a butterfly/bee garden; I'm also trying to be a good grandparent (it's not easy from long distance). It’s not much, but every little bit helps and both priorities keep me grounded.

Would anyone disagree that anything that helps us navigate the real world is a good thing? I think that’s one of the gifts of eclipse season. In the end, eclipses are moments for taking a pause and paying attention, for imagining how one timeframe connects to another and how the winds of change are relentless, even when we seem to be standing still. They remind us that we have choices about how to respond: we can choose butterflies and bees over pesticides; we can choose democracy over the world-crushing trauma of autocracy. And on and on. One way or another, eclipses offer us opportunities to get serious about what really matters to us. 

And, in case it looks to be, choosing democracy is not a partisan matter: there’s a path and choices here for both conservative and liberal solutions. Neither persuasion has a monopoly on democracy as our Founders handed it over to us. The extremists who’d like to overturn the democratic order in this country and elsewhere—almost in parallel to Russia’s attempt to overturn the international order abroad—are just that, extremists who cling to and exploit political parties for the resources and access to power that such institutions provide. IMHO, these individuals need to get their hands in the soil and grow something real and life-affirming.  

Love and light to all! 





1 Celeste Teal, Eclipses: Predicting World Events & Personal Transformation, Llewellyn Publications, Woodbury, MN, 2006, pp. 37-39. 

2Ibid, pp. 30-31.