In Vedic astrology and astronomy, eclipses are particularly powerful events. Eclipses occur when the nodes, Rahu (the North node) or Ketu (the South node) fall within a certain astronomical degree of the Sun and / or Moon, depending on the type of eclipse.
When the Sun and Moon are each on one side of the Rahu/ Ketu axis, it’s a lunar eclipse. For a new Moon, where the Sun and Moon are in the same sign, and they are within a certain zone of either node, there is a solar eclipse, as is happening on May 20.
According to NASA, the eclipse begins on Sunday May, 20th, at 4:15 pm PST. The peak point is at 5:32 pm PST and it ends at 06:40 pm PST. Timings for your locality can be found here: http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/JSEX/JSEX-NA.html
The eclipse is occurring with the Sun and Moon in the sharp and unstable constellation of Krittika in Taurus. Some of the meanings related to Krittika are fire, major disasters, accidents, and conflict. Ketu is also currently occupying Taurus, which many Vedic astrologers consider to be its sign of debilitation. Ketu is in the bright constellation of Rohini (or Aldeberan) in Taurus, also known as “the eye of the bull”. Rohini can bring about indulgence and narcissism when planets are negatively placed there.
While many people are intent on watching the eclipse, this is never recommended in the tradition of Vedic astrology. The mythology related to the nodes, Rahu & Ketu can help explain why. What follows is a very simplified of the tale.
The nodes were initially embodied in a demonic form and they desired immortality. They heard of a private party where the Gods were 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 threw a discus and chopped the demon into two halves: the head (Rahu) and the tail (Ketu). Having tasted the nectar of immortality, Rahu is forever questing for that elixir and is never satiated.
Thus, the nodes are correlated with illusion and disguise. Rahu creates 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 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 mind 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.
Since this eclipse is visible in North America, it is more significant to North Americans than one that is not visible on this continent. Rather than gazing at an eclipse, it’s recommended that a person spend time indoors during an eclipse, engaged in meditation or other spiritual practices. 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 solar or lunar 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 afternoon or night. Whatever we do, we can maintain awareness of the state of our mind.