Cornered Lunacy

[This is part 3 of 3 – so far…]

Good morning star gazers and Moon lovers! Anyone get up before dawn to see the Full Moon shining in the western sky? How about last night when the Moon rose before sunset and glowed brightly against the blue sky?

Today’s Full Moon is called the Egg Moon or the Pink Moon depending on the system you consult. It is the first Full Moon after the Spring Equinox and is therefore the one used to calculate Easter. [Easter is always the first Sunday after the first Full Moon after the Spring Equinox.] It is also the Full Moon in Libra since the Sun is now in Aries.

The Full Moon is exact at about 2:17 pm CDT today. We in the USA will not see her at her fullest, since we’ll be on the wrong side of the planet.

So here’s a question some of you may have had now and again. If the Full Moon is directly opposite the Sun today (and once each month), why do we not have an eclipse? During an eclipse, the Moon passes through the shadow of the earth, so why does it miss it most of the time?

The answer is due to geometry. The orbital path of the Moon does not coincide with the one of the earth around the Sun. It is askew, at a slight inclination. In fact, all of the orbits of the planets have a slight incline to them. And because of this, eclipses and occultations are rare.

All right, a bunch of you probably just thought, “What the hell is that word: occultation?” Occultation is simply when one object hides another. During a Full Solar Eclipse, the Moon occults (hides) the Sun. In this era where the Sun and the Moon are often the exact same size in appearance, it is quite a display. Yet sometimes when the Moon occults the Sun, its apparent size is smaller and we see a ring of Sun. This is called an Annular Eclipse.

So, be it Solar or Lunar, an eclipse requires the Sun and Moon to be aligned – in two ways. Think about orbits as hula-hoops. Or think of them like the rings of Saturn. If we take an earth centric view, then our planet has two hula-hoops around it, one for the Sun and one for the Moon. They are right around our waist, but one is tilted. That means they cross twice on either side of us.

Lunar Nodes

Well, those crossing points are called the lunar nodes. So for an eclipse to occur, the Full Moon or New Moon must happen when the Moon and Sun are at either the North Node (Ascending Node) or the South Node (Descending Node).

“So why is David talking about nodes when it is not eclipse season?”

The answer is this: the North Node of the Moon is significant right now – in Astrological terms. Sorry to say, it is beyond my current knowledge, but it looks pretty! It’s part of a Grand Cross.

April 6, 2012: Grand Cross and Full Moon

In this picture above, you see the T-Square I spoke of last time, but now I’ve drawn in more of what’s happening. The big red square is the complete Grand Cross. It is not exact, but it does have all four corners. [A T-Square is when we only have three corners.]

So the Node of the Moon is what makes the fourth corner. It is not an object that orbits us, but it does move around. And, because of eclipses and their significance, Astrologers keep tabs on it.

In addition to the Grand Cross, we also have the Full Moon, which is simply another opposition. In total, we have 3 sets of oppositions (180 degree aspects), and four sets of squares (90 degree aspects). That’s a lot of tension to have all at one time.

The good news is that much of this is formed from what we call the personal planets, which means it won’t last long.

And one more thought on occultation. If you watched my video blog from March 26th, you know we have a special transit coming up. In June, Venus will transit directly in front of the face of the Sun. So in a sense, we are having a Venusian eclipse in June! Venus will occult so little of the Sun, we’ll not notice, however.

Oh, and tracking Venus’ arguing. She squared Neptune last night, probably just before you fell asleep. So, in a sense, we are in the turn now. We still need a good week and a half to get moving again in the new direction, so in the mean time, enjoy the sights. Venus is all about beauty, so she maybe teasing and toying with us, but she is still a sight to behold! She’s getting brighter in the evening sky too – so I’m told – so tonight, right after sunset, look west at the setting beauty and then look east at the rising Full Moon. It’s our celestial tennis match!

And do enjoy your Easter weekend, whatever meaning it has for you. It just so happens this weekend is the birthdays of three fine ladies I know – so celebration is certainly in the air. What better thing to do with a pause, than stop and celebrate!

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