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Tarot Reflections

  May 01, 2003

Stars and Cards: May's Eclipses
Liz Hazel

Photo by Derek Sanderson

Elizabeth Hazel is an astrologer and tarotist who lives in Toledo, Ohio.  She has written extensively on techniques for combining stars and cards, and enjoys researching and writing about other occult topics, including mythology and history. 

Liz has 3 cats, loves to grow flowers and herbs, and plays keyboards for a band.  Her secret wish is to be a contestant on Jeopardy.  She can be contacted via email.


The aim of this series is to aid the tarotist in gaining useful information about astrology in order to assist clients. Current phenomenon will be featured in the series.

Eclipses are an important feature in astrological forecasting.  The eclipse phenomenon involves an alignment of the Sun, Moon and Earth, thus activating the primary bodies of influence in the solar system.

Much like Mercury retrogrades, all eclipses are not equal, and must be evaluated individually by sign, aspect, and degree of totality.  Although eclipses occur at roughly 6 month intervals, the alignment of the 3 bodies involved is not always perfect.  Some eclipses are partial, and some are total.  Obviously, the total eclipses are the most powerful, especially when visible from one’s location on earth.  Lunar eclipses always occur at the Full Moon, with the earth between the luminaries.  The earth casts a shadow upon the moon.  Solar eclipses always occur on a New Moon, when the moon stands between the sun and earth.  The body of the Moon blocks the light of the Sun.

Although eclipses occur on a particular day, their influence is quite pervasive.  The effects are noticeable for a couple of weeks before and after each eclipse.  Individuals with birthdays on or exactly opposite an eclipse date, or with natal planets or axis points at the eclipse degrees are particularly sensitive to the eclipse’s influence, and may experience effects for several months before and after the eclipse event.


The first eclipse of the spring is on May 15th, a Total Lunar Eclipse at 24Ò Scorpio 53’.  The eclipse takes place during a Full Moon in Scorpio, so will be very potent.  Planetary features include a conjunction of Mars and Neptune in Aquarius that is at the apex of a Grand Cross (a planetary configuration).  The other 3 bodies involved in the Grand Cross are Mercury retrograde in Taurus, Jupiter in Leo, and the asteroid Juno in Scorpio.  Grand Crosses are difficult configurations, as they manifest the results of the sign-planet combinations.  Sometimes this can result in appropriate adjustments that have long been needed, and will constitute a welcome breakthrough; alternately, this configuration may create divisive tensions as opposing forces clash.

This Grand Cross is a merger of the powerful energies of the four fixed signs: Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius.  The befuddling energies of Mercury retrograde may cause confusion in communications, transportation, relationships, commercial transactions, and other crucial matters relating to personal property and money.  Jupiter’s influence inflates incidents to greater proportion and puts pride into this dynamic planetary recipe.  Life patterns may be radically altered during this eclipse.  Fuzzy thinking will be a real problem in emotional matters, which are very prone to upheavals, misinterpretations, and conflicts that place opposing sides into implacable positions that are difficult to modify except through intense negotiations.  The involvement of Juno places stress on marriages and partnerships – relationships will either find new boundaries for better understanding and emotional health or be prone to deterioration.  An alternative focus for this asteroid is one’s living space, and some may feel impelled to redecorate or rearrange for greater beauty and comfort.

 Other possible effects typical of Mercury retrogrades/eclipse combinations include extreme weather patterns:  tornados, floods, freak storms.   Mars and Neptune show the possibility of accidents and attacks – although with Mercury retrograde, these may be fumbled or botched, or extremely senseless incidents where people are in the wrong place at the wrong time.  The other possible manifestation of the Mars-Neptune conjunction includes cons, swindles, and deceptions.  Exercise extreme caution in any business dealings during the week of the eclipse.  Conflicts and scandals in religious and political settings are entirely possible, although it will be difficult after the fact to determine who-did-what-to-whom.

 Not all total lunar eclipses are this difficult, but combined with the other planetary indicators, and with the eclipse in the intense and emotionally charged sign of Scorpio, one may expect turbulent emotions and reactions to events in mid-May.  Mars, the ruler of Scorpio and thus of the eclipse, is involved an extremely difficult configuration, adding to the potential for complex situations and harsh emotions.  This eclipse occurs at 9:36 pm Eastern Daylight Time, so will be visible in the United States and Canada.


The following lunation is a Solar Eclipse at 9Ò Gemini on May 31st This eclipse (a new moon) has mixed influences.  Mercury, ruler of Gemini, is the dispositor (or ruler) of the eclipse.  Mercury’s retrograde is completed before the eclipse, on May 20th.  However, by forward motion that retraces its steps in Taurus, Mercury is once again square Jupiter in Leo and Neptune in Aquarius, a T-square configuration in fixed signs.  This continues the influences of the prior lunar eclipse: confusion, delays, polarized issues, and struggles with long-term arrangements. 

However, this eclipse trines Neptune, which is favorable for eliminating things that are no longer needed in life.  It also foreshadows better aspects in June that encourage holistic thinking and uplifting spiritual messages.  It is also sextile Jupiter, which is auspicious for the consideration of new opportunities, messages, and travel.  Mercury is closely conjunct Venus, and this will tend to personalize the effects of the eclipse.  Meetings and reunions may bring a combination of success and trouble.  This combination of influences suggests the plight of the individual in the face of cultural or group strife.  Issues about restructuring of hopes, desires, personal goals and income continue through the entire eclipse cycle and into June. 


Eclipses are specialized phenomenon, when the light from the earth’s two luminaries – the sun and moon – are temporarily blocked.  The obscured light of the moon represents turning points in feelings, the flow of emotions, dreams and the unconscious mind, and personal comfort levels.   The blocked light of the sun represents the ending of identity-specific things: titles, names, labels, and ego attachments.  In a lesser sense, it may represent the ending of projects, the elimination of unnecessary or obsolete situations, and resolutions.

Since the sun, earth and the earth’s moon create eclipses, this spread focuses on those three bodies and what they represent.  Each card is covered by another card that represents a blockage, elimination, or temporary impairment.

Shuffle the deck and focus on the upcoming eclipse cycle.  Visualize the earth in its orbit around the sun, and the moon orbiting around earth.  Visualize the earth receiving the light of both sun and moon.

Card 1 – The Sun:  The self, mind and body.  Physical conditions, energy levels, conscious functioning.  What is visible.

Card 2 – The Moon:  Environment, emotions, hidden factors, condition or mood of the group, unconscious functioning.  What is invisible.

Card 3 – The Earth:  Circumstances, pattern of events, manifestation.  Emerging conditions for self and environment.  Results from eclipses.  What is experiential, or has tangible results.

Card 4 – Covers Sun:  Temporary blocks or stresses to Self.

Card 5 – Covers Moon:  Short term stresses or fluctuations in environment, but may be rooted in long-term emotional background.

Card 6 – Covers Earth:  Long-term issues that emerge during the eclipse cycle, or obstacles to changing or improving those issues.


If a client is the same sun-sign as an eclipse, they will tend to experience it in a more personal and dramatic manner.  Tarotists may suggest that the client pay attention to emotional flow and keep a handle on critical issues during the eclipse cycle.  The closer one’s birthday is to the eclipse (or opposite date), the more effects one will experience.

The birthdates most sensitive to the coming eclipses are:

Lunar Eclipse:  May 13 – 19th, November 13 - 19th; and also birthdates in the other two        fixed signs – February 11 – 17th, and August 15 – 21st

Solar Eclipse:  May 28 – June 2nd, November 29 – December 5th; and also birthdates in       the other two mutable signs – September 30 – October 5th, and February 26 –    March 3rd.

The card that symbolizes eclipses is the Moon card.  Some renderings of this card actually show an eclipse in progress.  The Moon card indicates confusions, uncertainty, emotional flux and trauma, illness, and dark magic. 

Eclipses are absolutely not favorable for starting new projects or jobs.  Projects initiated during eclipses are like hubcabs falling off a car wheel – they roll along the road for a little while, and then fall in to the gutter.  Since the eclipse series in May is synchronous with Mercury retrograde, it is also an ill-omened month for signing contracts, making critical agreements, or for organizing group events.  With the four fixed signs are involved, people may be more exhausted or stressed than usual, and feel as though they are being buffeted by the power battles around them.  Likewise, areas of stability are prone to instability.  Trust issues rise to the surface.

Forecasts for all 12 sun-signs follow, and are organized by modality rather than element.

Cardinal Signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn) – Lunar Eclipse: Critical focus on finances, investments, welfare of children and friends; long-term situations that are in a difficult state of flux.  There are struggles in finding equitable terms with others, delayed decisions on shared goals, or finding worthy partners for future efforts. 

Solar Eclipse:  Some phases are at completion; illnesses or unavoidable problems disrupt plans to follow-through on projects; changing faces at work place or family groups.  Locations for activities and time management in flux.

Fixed Signs (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius) – Lunar Eclipse: Critical focus on relationships, family stability, long-term career path.  Important projects may be put on hold or distracted.  Strange accidents or sudden upheavals, health issues, extreme emotional turbulence.

Solar Eclipse:  Personal choices come to a head; some aspect of situation disappears or exits.  There may be necessary sacrifices, elimination, and recognition of obsolete aspects of life.  Financial repercussions or costs at this time.

Mutable Signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces) – Lunar Eclipse:  Critical focus on hidden or private circumstances that arise during the cycle.  Employment environment may be turbulent, or health concerns brought to the forefront.  Schedule changes, long-term plans in flux.

Solar Eclipse:  Transitions in names and faces in environment.  Both losses and gains, may need to relinquish personal or social connections and move to new circles of people, or sources of needed items.  Costly repairs, changes in employment.

While it is obvious that these are two difficult eclipses, both readers and clients benefit from a conscious awareness of the potential effects.  If these are known in advance, the individual is less likely to over-react or rush their fences.  The long-term issues (fixed sign influences) that are aroused must be slowly and cautiously considered for solutions.   Advance warnings also allow people to avoid scheduling important meetings and events during this cycle, or at least encourage better advance preparation to avoid last-minute crises.


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