A total eclipse of the Moon is a magical sight, with the Moon appearing to turn deep red, orange or brown. It’s easy to see why, for our ancestors, this would have been a frightening sight, but today we understand the astronomy behind the lunar eclipse. But what does a lunar eclipse mean in astrological terms? And how does the lunar eclipse happen?
What is a Lunar Eclipse?
A lunar eclipse occurs during a Full Moon, when the Moon and Sun are directly opposite one another, with the earth in-between. The light of the Sun causes the earth to cast its shadow onto the Moon, and during a total lunar eclipse this shadow is enough to completely block the Sun’s light from reaching the Moon at all. When this happens, the reflected sunlight from the earth is the only light reaching the Moon, and this appears red due to the scattering of other colors of light by the atmosphere – the same reason we see the beautiful colors of a sunset.
During a partial lunar eclipse, the earth and the Moon don’t quite line up fully enough for the earth’s shadow to completely cover the Moon, so instead it appears as though the earth’s shadow takes a bite out of the Moon.
A lunar eclipse should not be confused with a solar eclipse, which occurs during a New Moon when the Moon passes between the earth and the Sun, appearing from earth to block out the light from the Sun.
How Often Do Lunar Eclipses Happen?
More often than you probably think! In any calendar year, there are at least two lunar eclipses and two solar eclipses. However, not all of the lunar eclipses are total eclipses. A total lunar eclipse occurs about twice in every three-year period, although rarely some years can experience three total lunar eclipses within a twelve-month period.
Unlike a total solar eclipse, which can only be seen from a very small area of earth during any given eclipse, a total lunar eclipse can be viewed from anywhere in the world which is experiencing night-time at that moment.
Even though it’s much more common, therefore, to see a total lunar eclipse than a solar eclipse, these are still magical, awe-inspiring moments for most of us. But what does a lunar eclipse mean in astrology? Let’s find out.
What Does a Lunar Eclipse Mean in Astrology?
In astrology, a lunar eclipse – much like a solar eclipse – tends to herald unexpected events. However, where a solar eclipse brings drama which eventually leads to something positive, a lunar eclipse is a much more inward-looking and reflective kind of energy. With the lunar eclipse, the unexpected events prompt us to withdraw and take a look at our shadow side. This can be a time of great emotion, but the emotional release is to be welcomed as a kind of healing. Through the energies of the lunar eclipse, we can learn to forgive ourselves, and others, and to move forwards beyond pain or trauma.
Eclipses occur in pairs of opposite zodiac signs, during Full Moons and New Moons approximately 5.5 months apart. In a two-year period, there can be 6 or more eclipses involving that pair of signs, so in this way the eclipse cycle allows for a themed pattern of change in your life.
It’s important to understand, however, that you won’t feel the energy of every lunar eclipse, even when the eclipse occurs in your Sun sign, Moon sign or Ascendant sign. The lunar eclipses which truly affect you on an emotional level will be those which occur in a degree of your natal chart already occupied by an important planet.
Every 19 years, the eclipse cycle repeats itself to almost the same degree in the same sign and almost the same date of occurrence. This means that when a lunar eclipse is due to affect your chart significantly, you can probably get a sense of its theme by looking back to your life 19 years previously – whatever you were going through then, the forthcoming energy is likely to be an extension of that.
The astrological house of your chart where an eclipse occurs tells us a lot about the potential nature of the eclipse energy in your life. The house is more important than the zodiac sign, because the whole world will be experiencing the lunar eclipse in that sign at that time. To get an idea of the cosmic energies surrounding each eclipse of the Moon, let’s take a look at the lunar eclipse through the astrological houses.
The Lunar Eclipse Through the Houses in Astrology
Remember – you will not feel every eclipse in every house; for a lunar eclipse to have a noticeable effect on your astrology, it needs to be in one of your most important signs or close to an important planet in your natal chart.
Lunar Eclipse in the 1st House
With your emotions on a knife-edge, it’s important not to over-react during this lunar eclipse. Think about how emotional over-reaction has harmed you or others in the past and do what you can to cool your emotional level a little.
Lunar Eclipse in the 2nd House
Lunar eclipse energies in the 2nd house are about possessiveness. Think about how you may be treating others as possessions or how jealousy or envy is stifling your growth. Understand that what you get is not as important as what you give.
Lunar Eclipse in the 3rd House
Lunar eclipses in the 3rd house are marked by extreme restlessness and an inability to settle – which could potentially have dramatic results. Use this time to learn techniques to help settle nerves or anxieties.
Lunar Eclipse in the 4th House
A lunar eclipse in the 4th house ties your emotions to your property or your family life. Sudden home-related problems may seem hard to bear and there could be disruption due to repairs or renovations. Find a safe space within your heart.
Lunar Eclipse in the 5th House
The energy of this lunar eclipse is all about drama and irrational reactions. Learn from an experience where you created more drama than necessary. It’s time now to step back and to allow others their turn in the limelight.
Lunar Eclipse in the 6th House
Lunar eclipse energies in the 6th house may bring a sudden breakdown due to stress or untreated anxiety. You’ve been taking on too much and something has to give. Use this energy to create systems and workflows which decrease the pressure.
Lunar Eclipse in the 7th House
A lunar eclipse in your love zone tends to bring emotional angst into a relationship. It’s important to be honest with your partner at this time, as trying to pretend or paste over the cracks will simply make matters worse.
Lunar Eclipse in the 8th House
A lunar eclipse in the 8th house brings drama due to negative feelings and emotions such as jealousy, bitterness or resentment. Your own inability or refusal to forgive has repercussions now. To grow, you must learn to let go.
Lunar Eclipse in the 9th House
Lunar eclipses in the 9th house stir up deep religious, spiritual, sentimental, philosophical or even political feelings and drama can result from this. It’s hugely important to maintain an open mind and to avoid dogmatism at this moment.
Lunar Eclipse in the 10th House
Lunar eclipse energy in your career zone is very impulsive or even compulsive and may prompt you to take drastic action at work – without having thought it through first. Learn and grow here by stepping back from the cliff-edge.
Lunar Eclipse in the 11th House
A lunar eclipse in the 11th house can bring the weight of the world around your shoulders, including great sadness over humanitarian or social issues. The key to growth is to learn to harness your sadness into positivity.
Lunar Eclipse in the 12th House
A lunar eclipse in your spiritual zone can be a pivotal moment in your life, a eureka moment of enlightenment even, but often at an emotional cost. Be sure to take care of yourself and to give yourself time to process what you’re doing through.