Lesson 9) Eclipses and Alignment
Professor Cattercorn can be seen flitting around in a redecorating phase. Her wand is rarely pointed in one direction for long. Posters take themselves down from the walls and fold themselves neatly while students sit and study for their final, or chat with each other to procrastinate and relieve stress. Amongst the chaos, a large stack of books sits on the professor’s desk, stacked high. Among them you see titles on palmistry and something called “Zohar.” As the clock strikes eleven, the last of the posters puts itself away, and the professor moves to stand near her desk with a satisfied nod. .
Welcome for the final time this year, students! Yes, I know, I was a bit preemptive with my redecorating, but I thought it best not to leave too many star charts up during the final! Today, we have a few smaller topics to wrap up before we review for your final. I can’t believe it’s already time. Though, I suppose time flies when you are enjoying yourself, and I have certainly enjoyed sharing the wonders of natural divination with such apt students as yourselves.
Everything But the Kitchen Sink
As mentioned offhandedly last week, it is not just planets that have divinatory importance in astrology. Nearly everything you can think of plays into the future: the Sun, the Moon, comets, the angle of each planet’s rotation and more! Don’t even get me started on collisions between celestial objects! But, thankfully, we are not going into that much detail. As I explained at the end of our study of runes, my goal is to make you moderately proficient in a large number of fields so that you can find where your strengths and passions lie. We are going to talk about just a few examples today, though.
After last week’s lesson on the planets, it may not come as a surprise that each comet has a different meaning associated with it. Because they come around so infrequently, the meanings of comets are much less well-known. One of the more frequent ones, Halley’s comet, comes around between every 74 to 79 years and it’s noted to be a predictor of advancement of some kind -- how fortunate that it comes frequently! Comet Hale-Bopp, on the other hand, is very tenuously linked to stagnation and complacence after its first sighting. However, since it only nears Earth every 2,400 years, we will have to do a fair bit of waiting to discover a pattern.
Fortunately, we have it a little bit easier with meteor showers. Their presence is generally believed to be universal, no matter which cluster is active. The arrival of meteors, whether the Leonids or Draconids usually indicates good fortune -- which is the real reason behind Muggles’ fascination with making wishes on them. It is important to note that meteor showers are more closely linked to smaller, day-to-day things than the more powerful, world-changing events ascribed to planets and more prominent celestial bodies.
Now, it is high time we discussed some celestial events and their importances. Last class, I alluded to the fact that different events and interactions between various celestial bodies played just as large a role in astrology as the meanings of the bodies themselves. Eclipses are one such event that has an important role.
Firstly, it may be useful to have a quick refresher as to what exactly an eclipse is, in case you have forgotten since Second Year Astronomy. An eclipse is when one celestial body moves in between another celestial body and a light source, though the specifics depend on what kind of eclipse is occurring. In a lunar eclipse, the Earth passes in between the Sun and the Moon, therefore casting a shadow onto the Moon and causing it to disappear. A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun, effectively blocking out the light from the sun momentarily.
Both of these events have different, though linked, divinatory significances. When a solar eclipse occurs, this signifies an ending matched with a beginning -- a rebirth of sorts. When Pluto is nearby during such an event, you had better bet that big things are happening! A lunar eclipse, by the same token -- or at least a similar one -- is just an ending. There is a finality coming when a lunar eclipse is seen. However, unlike its solar counterpart, there is nothing new to replace it. Endings are not inherently bad, though, and these events can simply indicate a stage of completion. Finally, it is important to note, though perhaps obvious, that total eclipses mean a more drastic, important, or sudden event, whereas partial eclipses are less so.
Syzygies And Conjunctions
Finally, we come to our last new topic for the year: alignment. We will briefly go over the definition, though if you want to freshen up on your Astronomy, whether for this or eclipses, you can review this lecture. A syzygy -- the more complicated of the two concepts -- is when three or more astronomical bodies align. This can be include, the Sun, the Moon, Earth, and all other planets. We most frequently see this with the Sun, Moon, and Earth as with eclipses, but this is not the only way, obviously! Conjunctions are very similar, but with one fewer astronomical body. Just two are required to be aligned for a conjunction. One thing to note is that the Earth and the Moon are always in a conjunction together, just as the Sun and the Earth are. It is for this reason that the Sun and the Moon by themselves are not seen to have any divinatory significance (though potentially they do and we simply do not realize it). These bodies have a constant presence in our sky and while they affect levels of magical energy, their presence has not been seen to be extremely significant in divination unless combined with other planets.
In terms of divination, there is an array of implications from these events. Firstly, during either a syzygy or a conjunction, all planets involved not only combine their meanings, but the events the foretell are all the more pronounced, important, or sudden. However, sometimes the alignment of bodies is not just planets. In the case of a conjunction or syzygy involving the Sun, the Sun’s normal meaning of rebirth, ends, and beginnings applies alongside the meanings of the planets. It is the same with the Moon, in that the indication of finality is applied to the other meanings.
I know that is quite a lot to wrap your mind around -- the solar system is a big place -- but to get started, just try to condense it down to the meanings of each body and if they are lining up or not. That simplification will serve you just fine! Also, fortunately, as these are not exactly every day events, you will not have to worry about them overmuch. I only bring them up here due to their large role in astrological predictions.
Review of Concepts
With that, we close the topic of natural divination. As least, until you come to me with questions, check out a library book, gaze into the night sky and notice Venus is particularly bright, or cast some runes. Before I leave you to your finals, let us briefly review the two forms of divination from this year in their totality.
Firstly, we have runecasting. The Germanic tribes ancient times were very natural people, and their divination is no different. There is a large emphasis not only between the runes and nature -- all parts of the runes must be natural, including what they’re stored in -- but also between you and the runes. For the best results, it is recommended that you make your runes and allow them to naturally absorb your magic and attune to your magical signature. They function very similarly to the tarot, acting as foci for your Inner Eye to work through and interpret more easily. They even have spreads that are similar to the tarot. The main differences lie in how you obtain your set and that as a divinatory tool and focus, they are more loyal.
Secondly, we have astrology. There are two schools of thought: there are those that prefer to rely on astrology to predict the minute details of everyday life for individuals, whereas others prefer to look at the big picture, which though large, will affect our everyday lives, just in different ways. Currently, the latter is more popular, though we studied a bit of both. The zodiac is a common thing in magical life, and most witches and wizards know their Sun and Moon signs. These signs complement each other not only to tell us about ourselves, but also about how things might go in the future. In terms of the second kind of astrology, planets and large, celestial bodies and their meanings predict what trends may be coming our way. These bodies can have significance on their own, or in conjunction with others.
Endings and Beginnings
You don’t need the planets to align to do well on your tests, though. You have been with me from beginning to end and I know you’ll do fine… Well, most of you, anyway. You know what they say, it’s a gift and a curse. Regardless, it has been a joy to educate you in the ways of natural divination this year and I hope you enjoy your summer break before school reconvenes in the fall.