On July 21, the sun will be eclipsed at 10:35 PM EDT and the world (or at least that part of the world with the biggest population – India and China and places surrounding them) will be plunged into darkness for approximately 6 minutes.  A wonder of nature,  this eclipse is the longest eclipse of the 21st century.

So what does it mean when the sun disappears?

From time immemorial, earthlings have pondered this question and superstitions abound in every culture. Many cultures believed that a demon or dragon ate the sun. In Hindu mythology, the two demons Rahu and Ketu are said to “swallow” the sun during eclipses, snuffing out its life-giving light and causing food to become inedible and water undrinkable. Pregnant women are advised to stay indoors to prevent their babies from developing birth defects, while prayers, fasting and ritual bathing, particularly in holy rivers, are encouraged because temples are often closed. In ancient times, the Chinese believed that a heavenly dog or dragon devoured the sun during the eclipse. As the story goes, people would make noise to scare off the dog and rescue the sun. In the Odyssey, Homer states that, “the Sun vanished out of heaven and an evil gloom covered all things about the hour of the midday meal.”

Negative people make a living off of doomsday predictions.  But the truth is that solar (as well as lunar) eclipses are natural phenomena.  They usually happen twice a year although occasionally there are three of them. Often, secrets are revealed at this time or an awareness becomes apparent that sheds new light on something.

The eclipse can be either a south or north node eclipse. This particular one is at 29 degrees of Cancer meaning the Sun and Moon are together with the south node of the Moon.  The south node is a place where we are addicted to an old behavior pattern, something that we run to without awareness or consciousness. The sign of Cancer is about security, nurturing, hunger, relationship with the mother, creativity, fertility, and children.  The south node in Cancer is about clinging to these things to avoid whatever they’re covering up.

So wherever one has 29 degrees of Cancer in their personal horoscope will be the arena where this eclipse is operating.  Those born from July 17-22, October 17-22, January 17-22, and April 17-22 are most affected but most of us will feel the eclipse as a nagging dissatisfaction with something we are involved with compulsively.

Look at your sun sign and ascendant if you know it:

Aries – creating a home and being a parent; Taurus – being heard; Gemini – making money; Cancer – doing it all yourself; Leo – hiding out in work or not working; Virgo – being a team player; Libra – getting recognition from the powers that be; Scorpio – leaving your community for foreign shores; Sagittarius – gratifying your desires; Capricorn – considering your partner more than yourself; Aquarius – working and taking care of yourself; Pisces – kids and your creativity

Since solar eclipses happen at the New Moon, they signify a time of new beginnings but you often have to proceed on faith because  the light is blocked. Since eclipses come in 19 year cycles,  whatever seeds you plant now will take 19 years to bear fruit.

If you think that’s a long time, consider this.  The Queen Mother of the West (a Taoist goddess) was fortunate enough to have a peach tree of immortality in her garden.  Blossoming only once every 3000 years, it took another 3000  years for the immortal peach to finally ripen.