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The Astrology of Eclipses, with Bernadette Brady

The Astrology of Eclipses, with Bernadette Brady

In episode 119 of the podcast Dr. Bernadette Brady joins the show to talk about the astrological significance of eclipses, and how astrologers have viewed and worked with them, both in ancient and in modern times.

Bernadette has a PhD in Anthropology, and she is a tutor for the MA in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology program at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. In 1992 she published a book titled The Eagle and the Lark: A Textbook of Predictive Astrology, which contained an influential chapter on the use of eclipses in western astrology.

In the first part of the show we talk about how eclipses were viewed by astrologers in the ancient Mesopotamian astrological tradition, and then later we transition into a discussion a discussion about eclipses in modern astrology, including her influential work on the Saros cycle and the concept of eclipse families.

You can find out more information about Bernadette through her website:


Below you will find the show notes with an outline of some of the points we touched on in the discussion, followed by links to download or stream the recording of this episode of the podcast at the bottom of the page.

First, one quick announcement:

Announcement: Great American Eclipse Documentary

I recently did an interview with a team of filmmakers from California who are making a documentary that focuses on the Great American Eclipse. The title of the documentary is Umbra, and it is being directed by a listener of the podcast named Natalie Rold.

The production of the film is being funded through a crowd-funding website called IndieGoGo, and they are currently about 60% of the way to their funding goal, with the deadline for funding the project ending next Tuesday, August 22.

After meeting with the team involved in this project, I think that this is going to be a really great film, and I would encourage all of my listeners to look into it and consider making a contribution in order to help the group fund the project.

You can find out more information about the project on their page on IndieGoGo:

Umbra: The American Eclipse Documentary

If they are able to reach their funding goal then we should see a really well-made documentary that talks about both the astronomy and the astrology of the Great American Eclipse by sometime next year.

Episode Outline

  • Much attention on the so-called Great American Eclipse set to happen next week.
    • Thought Bernadette would be a great person to talk to about this topic, since she is well-known in the astrological community for her work on eclipses.
  • Introducing Bernadette and talking about her background in astrology.
    • Author of The Eagle and the Lark: A Textbook on Predictive Astrology (1992)
  • The Eagle and the Lark contained a great chapter on eclipses.
  • The astronomy of eclipses.
    • Defining the basics.
    • Eclipses occur when the luminaries fall on the same path by longitude & latitude
    • Connection between eclipses and the nodes.
    • The path of the eclipse casting a shadow on certain parts of the earth.
    • The experience of darkness during the middle of the day
  • Astrological views on eclipses
    • Eclipses as some of the earliest types of astrological omens.
  • How were eclipses viewed in ancient times?
  • Eclipses in the Mesopotamian astrological tradition
    • Nearly 40% of lunar tablets in the Enuma Anu Enlil were on eclipse omens.
    • The eclipse of the Sun often interpreted as a negative omen, although not always.
    • The Mesopotamians mainly focused on mundane astrology.
  • Eclipse propitiation rituals in Mesopotamia
    • Fate seen as negotiable.
    • The substitute king ritual.
    • That negative indications could be averted provided motivation to predict eclipses.
  • Later traditional views on eclipses.
    • In Medieval astrology eclipses did not always coincide with an event immediately.
  • Eclipses in modern astrology
    • Not necessarily viewed as negative, but powerful.
    • Important if they fall close to planets in the natal chart.
      • Bernadette recommends using tight orbs of 2-3 degrees.
    • House placement of an eclipse
      • Lights up an axis for 12-18 months.
      • In this way not a one time event, but often sequence or series.
    • Bernadette notes a sort of wildcard quality to eclipses.
  • The Eagle and the Lark contained a unique and innovative chapter on eclipses and the Saros cycle.
    • Introduces the concept of the Saros cycle.
    • Article on the Saros cycle on Bernadette’s website
    • Discussion about the Saros cycle and its use in astrology
    • Eclipses as belonging to families or cycles.
    • Each Saros Series produces an eclipse 18 years plus 9 to 11 days.
      • Moves 10 degrees each time.
      • Similar expression
      • Study the past to predict the future.
    • Casting a chart for the birth of each Saros series.
      • That chart imprinting all future eclipses in that series.
  • The importance of studying astrology from a historical and cultural perspective.


A full transcript of this episode is available: Episode 119 transcript

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  • Great Podcast as always! thanks to both of you.
    Concerning the phrase “free will” ,i think one can simplify this by removing the word “free” so there is a “will” of course but the “will” of the individual is already directed and preconfigured by the structure of the natal chart ………. i was too lazy to articulate this thought more carefully or more sophisticated …….sorry
    Greetings from one of your students of your hellenistic online course

  • Its only the earth that lets the sun and moon be equal, otherwise they fight. The earth is the heart between the sun and moon. When sun and moon divorce, the heart or earth has trouble. When sun and moon unite, love unites or fights. Solar Eclipses remove God or parent from taking care of you. Then you find out if you can walk or fly on your own. Fun stuff if you have feet or wings, otherwise have heart my friends to will to learn. As Plato said, if you are willing to learn….anything can happen. These are times, anything can happen. Imagine, there’s no separateness…..no need not to love. Enjoy our attempts to attune to Cosmos and mind, time and the human experience.

    • Lovely comment. God or parent eclipsed – crisis in leadership, ” no need not to love” – wearing heart on sleeve. And with modern planet Uranus in the mix – rising to a higher, more progressive level of understanding – bringing in the element of air – fanning the constant flame from a cardinal, impetus – shocking action spurs an examining of the heart, the possibilities to be had. Already doing this BIG time – the eclipse is already very much here for me. So much FIRE !

  • Have not yet listened to the episode which I know will be insightful. I notice that moon is collecting the light of Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn, all by favorable aspect. These are the three planets which Bob Zoller says are to be considered when deliniating a new or full moon placement. I offer no interpretation but note this. I am inclined to think that the 2 hour 40 minutes of duration point towards events in 2020, however. Similar to the timing of the previous eclipse in this Saros cycle, August 98, which seems to have been a harbinger for 9/11 event.

  • Fantastic, very rich discussion.
    With respect to the ritual of the king substitute, there are similarities in a more minor form that involve averting “an evil decree” (as Jewish tradition, for one, still puts it) by changing the person’s name. There’s a notion that if you change your name, you change your fate. The idea is that you’re somehow fooling the negative energies by transforming into another person (rather a self-substitution), so they can’t locate you. Also common: averting the “evil eye” from a boy baby by dressing him in girl’s clothing and not cutting his hair until he is several years old, thus — again — ducking away from the energies aimed at him. Although this is a form of masking or disguising, it hints at the notion of substituting one child for another.
    Of course, this is also where sacrificial rituals come in that involved substituting an animal for the person who wants to appease or sway the will of the deity or direction of fate.

  • Brilliant interview Chris! It was so good to hear two of my favourite teachers together! I had many a heart warming moment ☺

  • Excellent! I’m just left with two questions: How come astrologers and astronomers use different Saros numbering systems, and what are the differences?

  • As an ex- student of Bernadette, both in medieval astro and fixed stars and having been part of the astrologyhub sessions on the 2017 eclipse, I do not agree that the eclipse and the Event Brady refers to is limited to the eclipse season. The Events are born out of the Eclipse but not limited to these 36 days. Just have a deeper look at the assassination of Kennedy and try to link it to the eclipse in july 1963. That will show that eclipses give birth to dramatic events, quite out of the scope of 36 days. But I do not have any name or fame in astrology , so a very humble opinion, but based on quite some research.

  • “Beautiful, complex and interesting”. Such a wonderful podcast…especially loved the insight into the Saros cycle birth charts. This talk with Bernadette Brady and the one with Lee Lehman on Horary have been the best podcasts to date!

  • The book Bernadette Brady talks about is: Interpreting the Eclipses by Robert Carl Jansky, an Astrology Classics reprinted recently by the Astrology Center of America, 17.95 US, available from your favorite online bookseller (Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Powells).

  • Fantastic episode, I always learn so much from Bernadette so this episode was quite a treat. Thanks Chris for your always insightful questions and the timing of this episode. Like other folks, I’m also wondering about the statement that the eclipse effect is limited to that particular eclipse season. I’m sure we’ll all be watching this one closely!

  • Loved this podcast. Thanks Chris for bringing Bernadette on board for this podcast. It has inspired me. Bernadette is an awesome communicator. Very easy listening and full of great content.

  • I’m sure there’s some great knowledge in here, but my Lord was the presentation awful. You guys buried the lead. I can’t see this connecting with a sub-30 audience. Me (28) and my fiance (31) were both disappointed. We expect a lot out of you, and you usually deliver. Not this time.

    That said, let me balance that with some positivity: I am starting to see the insight behind Brady keeping the orbs tight, and restricted to eclipse season. In my own studies I have come to a crossroads about the whole “oh yeah eclipses last anywhere between 3-6 months.” Like, how vague and imprecise is that?

    It’s much better to start smaller and tighter and, as expertise and nuance and synthesization grows, allowing the creative and innovative new to–whilst remaining grounded to scholarly tradition and philosophical reasoning–lead us towards the frontiers where our stale ego is too afraid to claim.

    The fact that I can listen to a 2-hour long podcast with my fiance, spend most of the time disappointed, and then, a week or two later, come away with one kernel of tremendous insight that figuratively transforms and elevates my practice — grounded through the experiential guidance of Brady, who, even though her teaching did not register much with me, still must be honored and respected for her legacy and reputation?

    Well then, that is why The Astrology Podcast is the best in show.


  • Great podcast! I concur with the above comment about this discussion with Bernadette and the discussion with Lee Lehman being the best to date. These are experts with a lot of knowledge and experience, and getting a this type of discussion is priceless–and the reason why this is an award-winning show. Btw, to your point, Chris, about the duration of eclipse-related fallout, I’m writing this two months out, and I’m still seeing fallout (saw it about a month ahead, as well). I think I will see aspects of this eclipse going forward until at least the end of the year.

  • In retrospect: August 2017 total solar eclipse was within 2 degrees of a natal Pluto square to natal Venus and 5 degrees of ASC to note the natal alone. Event hit Aug 2 for me , exploded on the eclipse day and was definitely true to theme of relationship but dramatic, fiery, tragic, true to natal ruler placement and planet (Sun), and house placement and kept going for 6 mos and will have a lifelong effect. So, not a friendly eclipse for me. Saris cycle natal chart was figured in not only by meaning but calculation. I am a believer in this method.