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GRAND CROSS ECLIPSE OF 1999

by Gary Brand - written July 5, 1999,
published in the August 1999 edition of Echo* newspaper
This chart was calculated for Charlottesville, Virginia because Gary was living there at the time this article was written.
he Sun is high in the cloudless sky of a warm afternoon.  Birds are singing, squirrels are leaping and a breeze is playing among the leaves.  Quite suddenly, the sky darkens, the breeze dies and the birds fall silent.  An eerie coolness spreads and thousands of crescent-shaped spots of sunlight, formed by the leaves of overhanging trees, dance on the ground.  The sky quickly turns as black as night and the stars appear.  Overhead, a great dark body replaces the last rays of the Sun and a glow forms around it.  Is it any wonder that, throughout history, those in the middle of the path (see footnote) of a total solar eclipse were frightened and awed by such strange, daytime events?

Solar eclipses occur about every six months but only about one-third of them are total (when the Moon covers the entire disk of the Sun).  Total eclipses of the Sun are symbolically the most powerful of all eclipses.  There is some variance among astrologers regarding the effective period of a solar eclipse but a conservative view is that each eclipse has impact from the month of its occurrence until the month before the next eclipse.  The total solar eclipse of August 11, 1999 is highly unusual and is receiving much "astro-hype" (hype among astrologers and astrological aficionados) because three other planets form a grand cross with the eclipse.  On this date, Sun and Moon are aligned (conjunct) at 1821' of Leo, Uranus is opposite them at 1440' Aquarius, Saturn at 1653' Taurus is square (meaning conflict/tension) them and Mars at 1651' Scorpio is opposite Saturn and square the Sun, Moon and Uranus.  The following chart illustrates this planetary configuration and you can see the cross in the center.  Grand crosses involving the Moon as one of the four points of the cross are not that uncommon but grand crosses that consist of four planets (or the Sun and three planets) are rare indeed.  A grand cross involving a solar eclipse (Sun and Moon as one point) is so rare that this is the only one in this century!  Because no living astrologer has seen the effects of an eclipse such as that of August 11, it has us all wondering what the possible ramifications will be.

The word "grand" means most important, imposing because of great size, and eminent.  Because a cross formed by the planets spans hundreds of millions of miles, it is indeed grand.  The cross has meanings that span all cultures but it has often symbolized the prime features of the material world:  three-dimensional space and linear time.  The grand cross eclipse is in signs that are fixed in nature, which means that they are resistant to change.  Attachments tend to be a problem for the fixed signs:  Taurus gets hooked on possessions and security, Leo is fixated on pride and popularity, Scorpio is attached to control and passion, and Aquarius can rigidly adhere to ideas and unconventional behavior.  The above attachments don't refer to people (i.e. if you are one of these Sun signs) but to basic issues represented by these signs.  Because of the resistance of the fixed signs, change can be drastic or even explosive.

The cross consists of two sets of opposites.  The Sun and Moon in Leo opposite Uranus in Aquarius form one polarity.  The last time Uranus was opposite a solar eclipse (in the signs of Leo and Aquarius) was February 15, 1961, shortly after John Kennedy was inaugurated President.  This eclipse heralded a period of crisis and progressive political change (Uranus).  Selfishness vs. concern for everyone, accumulation of autocratic power vs. maximum participation of everyone in the evolution of society, and the challenge to open our hearts and share our love with everyone are examples of this polarity.  The other polarity is Saturn in Taurus opposite Mars in Scorpio:  the preserver vs. the saboteur, status quo vs. crisis, and the reactionary vs. the radical.  Of the five bodies in the cross, three are in their own signs: Sun, Mars and Uranus.  This makes them powerful and the energies they symbolize in our personalities and in world affairs will vie for dominance during the effective period of the eclipse (August 1999 - January 2000).

The cross contains four right angles called squares.  These squares represent conflicts we are challenged to resolve or act out and they can be expressed positively or negatively.  The following are but a few examples intended to stimulate your thinking. One of the squares is Mars in Scorpio square Uranus in Aquarius.  This symbolizes:  the reformer - for good or ill; survivalist isolationism or self-sufficiency and intentional community; the destructive application of power resulting in chaos (i.e. ethnic cleansing) or the transforming power of small groups of like-minded people with a common cause.  Saturn in Taurus square Uranus in Aquarius could manifest as the realization that protection and preservation of all life is a key to Earth's future and it represents the widening gap between the "haves" and the "have-nots."  An enlightened response would be to forgo some pleasures and comforts (by consuming less) in order to preserve the environment of threatened species.  Sun and Moon (the eclipse) in Leo square Mars in Scorpio symbolizes issues of power and control.  It calls for our vigilance because, in a worst-case scenario of a series of crises, governments could curtail personal freedoms in the name of national security.  We would all benefit by rising above or directing our passionate desires and feelings toward loving one another and using our willpower to create good. The last square is Sun and Moon in Leo square Saturn in Taurus.  Those with ego-based attachments to money or power may stubbornly resist forces of change.  A challenge of this square is selfish hoarding for Y2K vs. sharing what we have without fearing that we are loosing in the process.

In summary, we will be challenged (grand cross) to purge or gain control of (Mars in Scorpio) our fear-based prejudices (Saturn in Taurus) and our need for ego-based autonomy (eclipse in Leo) in favor of a more enlightened and cooperative world (Uranus in Aquarius).  We can resist changes that could improve the world or we can actively participate - the choice is ours!

In central Virginia the eclipse will end at sunrise, so it will not be observable here (source:  University of Virginia Astronomy Department).
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See related articles "Saturn Square Uranus Disasters in Review" and "Solar Eclipse Duration of Effect" for a list for events that occurred in the aftermath of this eclipse.  See also the related article "Saturn Square Uranus Revisited."

*Echo is a monthly newspaper about community, the environment, health, cuisine, and spirituality that is distributed in central Virginia.
Good Timing and Location are Keys to Success

Gary Brand, Traditional Astrologer
Tallahassee, Florida
850-656-5758


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