Eclipses 101: Astrology's Wildcard

Put down the pinhole projector in the shoebox, kids

This past weekend, while the best and brightest stars of the sartorial sphere lit up New York Fashion Week, the first of a series of eclipses slated for now until February 2017 occured. Major change is ahead, so if you didn’t feel—or aren’t currently feeling—the seismic ripples from this week’s solar eclipse yet, buckle up.

Like an earthquake, eclipses can be unpredictable, from a firm shake to gently reorient your life’s focus to dramatic, leveling events that usher in a new era. These cosmic events can be so monumental, astrology’s Queen Mother herself Susan Miller has penned an Anna Karenina-sized guide to handling eclipses.

Eclipses mirror the moon’s movement, causing them to arrive in pairs. Solar eclipses will always come to the party with a new moon—the moon’s monthly “starting point” and darkest, least-visible phase—while lunar eclipses go hand-in-hand with full moons. Because eclipses are so connected to lunation, they amplify the moon’s phase—as Susan Miller aptly points out, these are new and full moons “on steroids.” So when an eclipse hits, watch what develops in the five days before and after, rather than three.

Those with their sun sign in the same element as the eclipse’s sign will be affected most, so if you were born under Taurus—an earth sign—an eclipse in fellow earth sign Virgo will likely be a friendly, helpful cosmic event. Similarly, if the eclipse is in an element compatible with yours (air and fire, for example), the lunation has potential to be gentle and generous. Should your actual birthday fall on the day of an eclipse, then you can guarantee tremendous life changes in the year ahead.

Eclipses are all about fostering upward evolution, guiding us into a higher plane of consciousness and facilitating deep, personal progress and growth. Even so, solar and lunar eclipses have slightly different goals. Solar eclipses—like the one we just had in Virgo on September 12—typically give birth to new beginnings and big opportunities. These eclipses tend to carry masculine energy in spades, so it’s common to see a male figure leave during a solar eclipse. Leos have a pension for feeling solar eclipses more than other signs, too, since they are ruled by the sun.

Lunar eclipses, which are essentially hyper-charged full moons, rule feminine energy and usher in final endings. We'll see a lunar eclipse and full moon in Pisces later this month on September 27. The week of a lunar eclipse can be moody, emotional, and messy. Don’t be surprised if you see the dark side of your BFF, close work colleague, or partner—true (sometimes ugly) colors are revealed. Just like solar eclipses may cause a prominent male to exit the picture, lunar eclipses have the same effect on the women in your life.

Sudden and often shocking change is par for the course with eclipses. Almost anything can happen, and the universe will make it crystal clear that the status quo is shifting forward. Though we can’t stop our lives in the name of astrology, it’s still a smart idea to keep your schedule as light and drama-free as possible during eclipse weeks. Your best defense is flexibility: Accept whatever happens, let it go, and move forward.

Still, an eclipse’s messages may be subtle. Stumbling upon surprise information (think: intercepting your boss’s email detailing your imminent promotion or catching a shady text flash across bae's lockscreen) is common, setting off a weighty chain reaction. Pay close attention to your intuition, as well as all news you hear through the grapevine. Don’t ignore gossip and secrets now; even hearsay can hold groundbreaking messages.

Eclipses root out our weak links, often “eclipsing out” people, relationships, jobs, or other parts of our lives that are no longer positive. This can often be painful in the moment, but whatever elements exit now will only clear room for new, stronger growth in those areas of your life. You might find out that your landlord sold your property, causing you to break your lease and move suddenly—into a penthouse-level palace. Or, you may be blindsided when your new love interest ghosts you, only to find out that they were a total fuckperson, anyway. What seems like a major loss now likely will turn out to be a dodged bullet. 

Consider whatever changes now to be a final adjustment—once you walk through an eclipse’s door, it locks. Returning to the past, no matter how comfortable it may seem, is impossible now. That’s not to say that future change is impossible. You’ll just have to work for it through your present actions and choices.