December 10, 2011 Lunar Eclipse

A lunar eclipse is occurring tomorrow.  In a lunar eclipse, there is a full Moon which aligns on the nodal axis. In Jyotish or Vedic astrology and astronomy, each eclipse is given particular emphasis.

In this eclipse, the Moon is in Taurus, as is Ketu, the South node of the Moon. The Sun and Rahu, the North node of the Moon, are in Scorpio.  A full Moon occurs whenever the Sun & Moon are opposite each other in the zodiac. The nodes are always directly opposite each other.

In this particular eclipse, with the Moon and Ketu in Taurus, it takes on an added significance. In Vedic astrology, the Moon is considered to be exalted or very strong, when it is Taurus. And being full, it is also considered powerful. When Ketu (or Rahu) is in Taurus it is considered to be debilitated or weak. When Rahu (or Ketu) is in Scorpio, it is also considered to be exalted. There are varying schools of thought on where the nodes are considered strong and weak. Yet, when the Moon is involved in an eclipse, it is considered to be a sign of weakness.

According to NASA, the peak of the eclipse is 8:30 am Pacific time and it ends at 11:3O am Pacific.  While many people are intent on watching the eclipse, this is never recommended in the Vedic tradition. The mythology related to the nodes, Rahu & Ketu can help explain why.

What follows is a very simplified of the tale from Vedic mythology. The nodes were a initially embodied in demonic form and they were very desirous of immortality. They heard of a private party where the Gods were celebrating and imbibing amrita, the nectar of immortality. The demon desired to join the party, donned a disguise, and gained admittance. The amrita was passed around the table and the demon tasted it and was then discovered. One of the Gods through a discus and chopped the demon into two halves: the head (Rahu) and the tail (Ketu). The head Rahu, that has now tasted the nectar of immortality, is forever questing for that elixir and is never satiated.

Thus the lunar nodes are correlated with illusion and disguise. Since they are “nodes” and not real planets, they are invisible as we are always approximating their position in the sky.  Rahu itself has to do with unending questing, desire, ambition, and a hunger for whatever it feels it still needs to attain. There is the connotation of desiring to partake in a situation and with a group where it does not belong.  Ketu is usually more often associated with spiritual pursuits, though the theme of questing is still active.

The nodes have the capacity to grab a hold of our mind and make it engage in relentless pursuits, to make the find feel that it has so much more to achieve, to seek another source of stimulation, to unearth a greater challenge. The mind can become unfocused due to the grasping nature of the nodes.

When a person is undergoing a cycle of the nodes, this becomes more pronounced, and will unfold in the forms indicated by the nodes’ natal placement and its current placement by transit.

Since this eclipse is visible in North America, it is more significant than one that is not visible on this continent. Just think how many people are figuring out when / how / where to best view the eclipse.

Rather than gazing at the Moon, it’s recommended that a person spend the time during an eclipse indoors, engaged in meditation or other spiritual practices and keep an inward focus, rather than an outward focus. It’s a time to eat lightly and eat pure foods. Shades should be drawn and food should not be kept out and exposed to the moonlit rays.

In astrology, we speak of the dance between free will and fate. This is a time where we can choose how to spend our late night and our morning. Whatever we do, we can maintain awareness of the state of our mind.