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Lunar Eclipse / Super "Blood" Moon of Tu b'Shevat 5779
The upcoming Lunar Eclipse / Super "Blood" Moon on Tu b'Shevat
(January 20) will be visible all over North and South America. The
Eclipse occurs at 9:16pm Pacific time (12:16am January 21 Eastern,
7:15am Israel time).
Lunar Eclipses happen predictably every year, only during Full Moons. Any given Jewish Year includes between six and seven Full Moon holidays: Tu b'Shevat, Purim (Purim Katan during leap years as well), Pesach, Pesach Sheni, Tu b'Av, and Sukkot.
The Talmud discusses eclipses and their effect on the nations of this earth. From the Babylonian Talmud, Sukkah 29a:
the sun is in eclipse, it is a bad omen for the whole world. This may
be illustrated by a parable. To what can this be compared? To a human
being who made a banquet for his servants and put up for them a lamp.
When he became wroth with them he said to his servant, ‘Take away the
lamp from them, and let them sit in the dark’. It was taught: R’Meir
said, whenever the luminaries are in eclipse, it is a bad omen for
Israel since they are inured to blows. This may be compared to a school
teacher who comes to school with a strap in his hand. Who becomes
apprehensive? He who is accustomed to be daily punished.
basic idea is that lunar eclipses are trouble for the Jewish nation,
while solar eclipses mean trouble for the non-Jewish nations - yet
Israel still suffers, as the non-Jewish nations take their troubles out
on their convenient scapegoat, the Jews. This is the Talmud's poetic way
of saying that the Jewish people experience trouble in this world in
predictable, regular patterns - just as predictable and regular as the
eclipse cycles themselves. The writers of the Talmud were simply
managing expectations rather than making prophetic statements.
For those who are all tied up in anticipatory knots from reading predictions about the impending eclipse, keep this in mind: There was a full Lunar eclipse on Tu b'Shevat in 1999, 2000, 2009, 2018 as well as this year. There
was a full Lunar eclipse on Purim in 2007 and on Purim Katan in 2008,
as well as on Sukkot 2014, Pesach 2015, and Sukkot 2015.
anywhere from six to seven Full Moon Jewish holidays per any given
year, and anywhere from four to six (depending on the year) eclipses
(solar and lunar) per annual eclipse cycle (there's NEVER a year without
eclipses!), the statistical likelihood of an eclipse falling on a
Jewish holiday is predictable and normal.
Lunar Eclipses ONLY happen on Full Moons. The term "Super Moon" is used when a Full Moon is at perigee (the closest it comes to Earth during the year). But not all "Super Moons" come with an Eclipse. A "Blood" Moon occurs during an eclipse when sunlight is filtered through the Earth's atmosphere. This eclipse is also being called a "Wolf Moon," which is one of the Native American names for the mid-winter Full Moon of January. Some tribes call it the Full Snow Moon. Not all "Wolf Moons" (or Full Snow Moons) or any other name for a Full Moon feature a Lunar Eclipse.
January's lunar eclipse comes two weeks after the Solar Eclipse / New Moon
which inaugurated Chodesh Shevat. This year (5779) Chodesh
Shevat began smack in the middle of Solar Capricorn, it was kicked off
with the Solar Eclipse / New Moon conjunct transiting Saturn on January
5th and 6th. Less than a day later, Uranus stationed Direct at 29
degrees (the “ultimate” or “critical” degree of any sign) of Aries after
his latest Retrograde period, which began last August. This makes Chodesh Shevat 5779 extra-powerful.
Shevat is the month associated with Aquarius. Both Uranus )the modern planetary ruler of Aquarius) and Saturn (the classical planetary ruler of Aquarius) are exerting pressure in the effort to bring about change
– Saturn in his slow and steady way, Uranus in his abrupt, sudden, and
surprising way. These Celestial Titans are tag-teaming in the Cardinal
(initiating) signs of Capricorn and Aries (aided by Mars’ recent ingress
into his home sign) to overcome the tectonic pressure generated by
fear-based resistance to what we all know in our heart is inevitable
zones will be shaken, concepts about security upended, definitions of
both “ally” and “enemy” will be reconsidered, ideals will be challenged.
The universe is sending a memo: did you receive it yet? The times, they
Human imagery in Jewish art wasn't as "assur" as some might think.
Depictions of "D'li" - the water bucket, the symbol of the zodiac sign
of Aquarius, often featured the water-bearer himself in human form.
The medieval commentator Abraham Ibn Ezra tells us: "Aquarius rules
over Israel," not only in his long commentary on Exodus but in his
"Sefer ha-Olam" as well. Ibn Ezra reminds us the Talmudic maxim "Ain
Mazal l'Yisrael" ("there is no constellation that rules over Israel") applies only when Israel is keeping every jot and tittle
of the Torah. But when has that ever happened? When Israel
(corporately) doesn't keep the Torah, Israel is just as subject to the
celestial influences as all the other nations.
Pictured: Aquarius from the mosaic floor
of Hammat Tiberias synagogue, 4th Century.
Depiction of Aquarius from a
Megillat Esther, Italian, 18th Century.
Image of the Water-Bearer,
Aquarius, from a mahzor for the three festivals, Vilna, 1844,
"Aquarius" from the Sefer Evronot, illuminated manuscript by Asher ben
Shemuel Cohen, Frankfurt-am-Main, 1624.
Chodesh Shevat 5779 (January 7 – February 4, 2019 )
The Hebrew month of Shevat, which runs from
January 7 – February 4 of this year, is associated with the Fixed Air sign of
Aquarius (D’li, the water bucket) and the Tribe of Asher.
Aquarius / D'li from Sefer Evronot, Frankfurt-am-Main, 1624
Aquarius is one of the few Mazzalot which has
two planetary rulers. In classical astrology, “Shabbtai” (Saturn) ruled
both Capricorn and Aquarius. After Uranus (Oron) was discovered in the
late 18th century, modern astrology assigned Uranus to the rulership of Aquarius.
Yet Aquarius retains vestiges of Saturnian energy to this day and should be
considered in the individual’s natal chart equally with Uranus in terms of
chart rulership, if the individual has Aquarius on the Ascendant.
Aquarius from 4th Century mosaic floor, Hammat Tiberias Synagogue
Asher, the Tribal ruler of Aquarius, comes to
teach an important lesson about how sometimes material blessings obscure our
self-perception, impeding our ability to do the hard work of self-scrutiny
which leads to self-improvement.
Both Jacob and Moses blessed Asher (which
means “Happy”) with abundance and prosperity, from which he would support his
brethren. Yet Asher’s riches created enough of a comfort zone for him that he
didn’t prioritize conquest of his Tribal portion and failed to drive out the
Canaanites altogether from his lands. Although he joined his brethren in war
against “foreigners” (Midianites, Amaekites and others), he wasn’t punctilious
about ridding his own inheritance of the Canaanites.
Aquarius, from the Amsterdam Mahzor, 1240
These external examples
come to teach an internal reality. Aquarius is a loyal friend and humanitarian,
but sometimes indifferent to his own vulnerabilities. Although the most
idealistic of all zodiac signs in terms of his perception of others, if protected
by prosperous circumstances, he won’t strive hard for self-perfection. Asher
finds redemption through humility, as illustrated by when his Tribe accepted
Hezekiah’s invitation to the Tribes of the Northern Kingdom to celebrate Passover
in Jerusalem (2 Chron. 30:11). The part of our own personal natal chart where
we find Aquarius is where we find our highest expression of friendship,
brother/sisterhood, loyalty to community, and humanitarianism.
This year Chodesh Shevat begins smack in the
middle of Solar Capricorn and is kicked off with the Solar Eclipse / New Moon
conjunct transiting Saturn. Less than a day later, Uranus stations Direct at 29
degrees (the “ultimate” or “critical” degree of any sign) of Aries after his
latest Retrograde period, which began last August.
Both Uranus and Saturn are
exerting pressure in the effort to bring about change – Saturn in his slow and
steady way, Uranus in his abrupt, sudden, and surprising way. These Titans are
tag-teaming in the Cardinal (initiating) signs of Capricorn and Aries (aided by
Mars’ recent ingress into his home sign) to overcome the tectonic pressure
generated by fear-based resistance to what we all know in our heart is
Comfort zones will be shaken, concepts about security
upended, definitions of both “ally” and “enemy” will be reconsidered, ideals
will be challenged. The universe is sending a memo: did you receive it yet? The
times, they are a-changin’.
Solar Eclipse / New Moon in Capricorn on Sunday, January 6 at 3:28am
Jerusalem time. Molad of the new month of Shevat on Sunday at 11:13 (14
chalakim) AM, followed by Rosh Chodesh Shevat on Monday.
year Chodesh Shevat begins literally in the middle of Solar Capricorn
(15 degrees). Both Capricorn and Aquarius (the constellation of Shevat)
are ruled by Saturn ("Shabbtai") in classical astrology. Saturn himself,
old Father Time, sits only 3 degrees away from the Sun/Moon conjunction that is the New Moon / Solar Eclipse. Jupiter ("Tzedek") in Sagittarius semi-sextiles Saturn in Capricorn, and the Sun/Moon eclipse. Some possible reflections of these celestial portents include but are not limited to:
- Resolving financial matters in a "Lucky" way. This does not mean
"gambling," it means a lucky break, a payoff, recognition of your mature
and responsible decision-making which manifests in good fortune or a
significant upgrade in a long-term and somewhat stressful material world
austerity period. - A greater degree of Self-Acceptance and the
ability to integrate work-in-progress, imperfect parts of Self into
waking consciousness. - Expanded joy of accomplishment. Not a giddy
happiness but a deep, profound, and perhaps surprising joy springing
from the internalization of your own competency, developed by the
combination of time and hard work. - The regenerative power of joy
triggers a greater ability to reestablish affinity with your own body
and experience your own vitality and life-force, regenerating and
reviving both body and soul. May the celestial reflection of the terrestrial conditions shine beautifully upon you, and unfold with astounding grace!