Believe it or not, in ancient times, people believed solar eclipses were demons swallowing the sun and that lunar eclipses were dangerous for their king. Today (thankfully), we know that eclipses are just the sun, moon, and Earth falling into line and casting a shadow on each other. But, there are still a lot of astrological myths out there about eclipses. So, since the next eclipse will happen on Aug. 7 (it's a partial lunar eclipse, which isn't super rare, but still — cool!), Bustle sought out expert astrologers to make sure you know what to expect.
Notable astrologer Chani Nicholas, who teaches classes about astrology, explains that eclipses are times of uncertainty mainly because of the darkness they cause. "The nature of an eclipse is that it's a time when either the light of the sun or the light of the moon is obscured," Nicholas says. "When the light goes out or when it's obscured by something, it's thought of as a precarious moment."
It's more of an anything-can-happen-moment, astrologer Annabel Gat, who has an astrology column for Broadly, tells Bustle. "It's hard to predict what will happen during an eclipse because an eclipse's purpose is to shake everything up," Gat says.
Both Gat and Nicholas agree that most people approach eclipses too generally. They are not all good nor all bad, according to Nicholas. "I think the myths are around eclipses being one thing," Nicholas says. "There's no nuance in that. Each eclipse is very distinct and very specific in its nature."
To address some of the more general notions about eclipses, I had Gat and Nicholas join me Mythbusters-style to go through some common myths about them.
Eclipses Bring On Big Life Events
Gat says that this is generally true. She says that eclipses activate the north and south nodes in our chart. "Those are points in the sky that astrologers often suspect as relating to the past and the future and the different forks in the road that we reach to figure out where we're going to go," Gat says.
"Generally, eclipses that occur on the north node, the ascending node, are going to be times where activity and the significance of the eclipse is increased," Nicholas says. "Eclipses that happen on the south node are going to be times of letting go or being cleansed of something in our life."
Either way, when something big happens in these nodes (like an eclipse), big things will also usually happen in our lives.
You'll Feel More Emotional During An Eclipse
For all the feeling-phobes out there, this may be upsetting to hear: this one is true. Both Gat and Nicholas say that you'll most likely be getting all kinds of feels, but they won't necessarily be negative emotions. For example, Nicholas says that you could be feeling really pumped about something exciting happening. She also says this particular myth is more related to lunar eclipses, since the moon (especially a full moon, which occurs during a lunar eclipse) in astrology is all about our emotions. "In general, lunar eclipses are going to be time where everything is going to be magnified because a full moon is a magnification of something," Nicholas says.
Even if the thought of being extra emotional makes you cringe, rest assured that at least you won't be alone.
Eclipses Cause Random Events
Both Nicholas and Gat don't agree with this myth. Gat says that eclipses reveal things to us rather than causing things to happen to us. But, Nicholas adds that what we learn about ourselves can be abrupt or shocking, which could make it feel random. She says to think of it like when the lights go off in a mall. "You're put in a situation that isn't normal, so you have to rely on your other senses," she says. "And you're faced with something you wouldn't normally be faced with, which often, in terms of our own personal healing, is about some part of ourselves that we don't know about."
So, it's not going to start raining hamburgers (or veggie burgers for all of my vegan/vegetarian homies out there), but you might learn something new and surprising about yourself. IMO, that might be just as cool.
You Should Be Extra Careful If Your Birthday Falls On Or Within 5 Days Of An Eclipse
Let's just be clear: you will never be in danger because the planets are in line. "No one should ever be afraid of something just because their horoscope says so," Gats says. "Don't ever do that."
So what's the significance of having a birthday on or close to an eclipse? "If south node eclipses happen within a couple days of your birthday, then there might be something that you personally are being asked to let go of in terms of your identity," Nicholas says. She says sometimes this can show up as a physical ailment, but that isn't always the case. Repeat after me: don't freak out.
Eclipses Reveal The True Character Of Someone Else
This one got a thumbs down from Gat and Nicholas, mainly because it's bringing other people into the equation. "Who are you to say what the true character of someone else is?" Nicholas says.
Gat adds that times of eclipses are high-stress, so you may just be seeing someone having a little bit of a freak out. "I don't know if it's totally fair to say it's going to show everyone's deepest, truest colors because you might just see someone under extreme stress," Gat says. "Hopefully it'll be a learning experience that they can grow from."
Both Gat and Nicholas stress that eclipses are more about revealing things about you — not someone else — to yourself. "Eclipses will show us the stuff that's lurking in the shadows," Nicholas says. "It's a time to become more conscious about an aspect of ourself that's usually hidden."
Leos Feel Solar Eclipses More & Cancers Feel Lunar Eclipses More
This myth is actually true. In astrology, each sign is ruled by a planet, and it just so happens that the sun rules Leo and the moon rules Cancer. "If you're a Leo sun or a Leo rising, the sun is an important part of your identity," Nicholas says. "If the light of the sun is obscured and you're ruled by the light, you might be impacted by that a little bit more than others." Ditto for Cancers and lunar eclipses.
If you're a Leo or a Cancer, don't freak out just yet. This doesn't necessarily mean you have it worse, it just means your eclipse experience is going to be a unique one.
An Eclipse Will Deliver News On The Day It Appears
Gat says it's impossible to say if an eclipse will deliver a message on the exact day it appears. Something could happen in the days leading up to the eclipse or even the days after it. "In general, eclipses are going to reveal things to us, and that can certainly mean news," she says. "But the exact day it's going to happen? There's no way to tell." Gat says your birth chart will give you more specific information about how and when the eclipse might affect you.
Nicholas adds that not all eclipses will cause something to happen, also citing the birth chart as the source that needs to be consulted. "Some eclipses will happen and they won't affect us that much because they're not doing anything specific in our chart," she says. "Not every eclipse is going to be powerful for every single person."
TL;DR: Eclipses may cause you to become a little more emotional, but they don't always mean that something will happen and they definitely don't mean that something bad will happen.
While Gat loves the witchy side of astrology, she also says that people should always remain playful about it. Gat adds that eclipses only carry as much power as you give them. "Don't psych yourself out," she advises.
So, for upcoming eclipses, be sure to mark your calendars. Make sure you're properly prepared if you want to watch it and rest assured that nothing too scary is going to happen.