What do Jennifer Aniston, Maria Shriver and J.K. Rowling have in common? They were all married near the date of an eclipse, an important influence in astrology.
Eclipses have a bad reputation in astrological lore. Some say they bring emotional instability, discontent and even disaster. Ancient Babylonian cuneiform tablets shout warnings of the death of kings and the destruction of temples under their auspices. Sixth century B.C. Chinese classics see the phenomenon as “ugly” and “abnormal.” Bible commentators have linked not only the death of Christ, but also the great flood to eclipses. Shakespeare had both Gloucester in King Lear and Othello attribute their domestic mishaps to the influence of the dreaded eclipse. And Joan Quigley, Nancy Reagan’s astrologer, persuaded the President to delay announcing his second term candidacy until January of 1984: there were two eclipses the previous December.
Most of us regularly survive at least four eclipses a year, but catastrophic prophecies continue. One can understand why: for all our modern understanding, there’s still something spooky about the Sun being darkened and the temperature dropping in the middle of the day, or the Moon turning blood red – primeval drama in the midst of the information age.
Eclipses are like powerful new or full Moons. In relationships, this could suggest high emotions, over-sensitivity, insecure domestic situations and even the possibility of separation. So it’s best to steer clear of them for electional dates if you can. Al H. Morrison advised against scheduling important dates from ten days before to at least three days after an eclipse for best results.
But what do they really signify for weddings? Eclipses turn a spotlight on whatever they touch, and seem to be a natural for high profile weddings. The couples get a lot of attention on their wedding day, making for great publicity but potentially creating issues in their personal lives and sense of privacy as the marriage goes on. Yet we need to remember that wedding charts are secondary to the couples’ birth charts and compatibility. While eclipse weddings can certainly have a dramatic influence, they don’t exist alone and are dependent on other charts, too.
The most famous eclipse wedding was Prince Charles’ marriage to Princess Diana on July 29, 1981, two days before a total solar eclipse. The royal couple had two male heirs, but their marriage began breaking down about five years after the wedding. Princess Diana was loved by the media and the public, but books and telephone transcripts revealed the couples’ private lives and created a media frenzy. Charles had returned to an affair with Camilla Parker Bowles and Diana found her position challenging and stressful. In the end they were incompatible, separated in 1992 and divorced in 1996. (These issues might also be seen in the squares between Mars and Saturn and the Moon and Pluto in the wedding chart.)
Oddly enough, Charles married Camilla on April 9, 2005, one day after a total solar eclipse. This was another much publicized union and though the couple seem happy, they have a complicated past and their relationship must be complex. Camilla was the victim of negative publicity, but began accompanying Charles to official events a year before their wedding. The Sun, Moon, Venus and North Node in this wedding chart all trine Pluto, suggesting transformation through the marriage.
Partial eclipses may be somewhat less potent than total ones, but they should still be noted. Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston married two days before a partial solar eclipse, on July 29, 2000. By Hollywood standards, their marriage was considered a success, lasting about five years. But we can once again see the high publicity influence of the eclipse – they were fodder for celebrity gossip for years, even after their break-up. (The Sun was also opposite Neptune in their wedding chart.)
Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling married anesthetist Dr. Neil Murray in a private ceremony four days before a partial lunar eclipse, on December 26, 2001. It was the second marriage for both, and so far they seem to have done fine, with a son born in 2003 and a daughter in 2005. The wedding was a day beyond Morrison’s suggested three-day waiting period after an eclipse, but the eclipse influence may still have something to do with Rowling’s relationship with the media. She’s filed numerous lawsuits against the press, particularly involving publication of unauthorized photos of her family. The Sun opposite Jupiter in Cancer in the wedding horoscope reiterates the possibility of excessive publicity.
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver were married on April 27, 1986, three days after a total lunar eclipse. Certainly this couple, too, received quite a lot of publicity from their marriage, most of it beneficial to them. At the time of the wedding, Arnold had completed his first Terminator film and Maria was co-anchor of the CBS Morning News. They already had a nine-year relationship, despite his being a staunch Republican and she a prominent Democrat. Oprah Winfrey and the whole Kennedy clan were guests at the elaborate Hyannis, Massachusetts wedding, where swarms of reporters and photographers angled for news.
Arnold was sworn in as Governor of California in November of 2003, and Maria resigned from her broadcast duties to focus on her role as First Lady shortly thereafter. They had two sons and two daughters together.
Eclipse-like, though, Shriver left the family home in 2011 following the news that her husband had fathered a son with a household employee (born just days after her own youngest boy). Maria filed for divorce in July of that year. Perhaps we can begin to see dramatic beginnings and endings in some of these wedding charts. In this one, the Moon in Sagittarius also squares Jupiter in the 9th house and conjoins Uranus, both of which may indicate unusual publicity and dramatic or abrupt domestic developments. The Sun in stable, fixed-sign Taurus in the wedding chart also opposes Pluto.
Paul McCartney is another super-celebrity who has had two eclipse weddings. He married Linda Eastman on March 12, 1969, six days before a solar eclipse on March 18, in a civil ceremony at a London registry office. Hundreds gathered outside while the couple waited an hour for the best man to arrive.
Linda was a rock photographer, and the two had met a few years before. They subsequently formed the band Wings, and Linda received criticism due to her lack of experience as a musician. Nevertheless, the band was enormously successful. Paul adopted Linda’s daughter from a previous marriage, and they lived with her and their own three children in rural Scotland and southern England. Linda became an animal rights activist, wrote vegetarian cookbooks, and inspired her husband in many ways. She died of breast cancer on April 17, 1998. (The Sun opposed Pluto and the Moon squared Uranus in this wedding chart as well.)
Paul’s marriage to Heather Mills took place on June 11, 2002, a day before a solar eclipse in his own Sun sign of Gemini, and this marriage was much more controversial. He was nearly 60 and she only 34 at the time. Heather was a former model who had lost her leg in a run-in with a motorcycle, yet continued modeling and sold her story to a tabloid. Despite Linda’s death over four years before, the public and press never accepted Heather. She did not expect children as she’d experienced fertility problems in the past, but the couple had a daughter in 2003. Here is perhaps a positive aspect of some of the unusual developments possible under the influence of an eclipse.
Paul and Heather separated in 2006, with Heather claiming he was a substance abuser and that his daughter, Stella, had undermined the relationship. She represented herself in divorce court and sued for a tremendous sum. While the judge awarded her over 24 million pounds in settlement along with child support payments, he nevertheless commented that she was not a good advocate for herself. The press continued to harass Heather, despite her work for animal rights and vegetarianism. Paul and Heather’s wedding chart has the Sun conjunct Saturn with both opposite Pluto and Jupiter exalted in Cancer.
But we’ve only looked at celebrity weddings. What would an eclipse be like for more average couples? Emylu Lander Hughes’ A Book of Marriage Charts (AFA, 1986) includes 5 out of 63 weddings that were finalized in the shadow of an eclipse.
A trapeze artist couple at the Ringling Brothers Circus became engaged while in the air for a performance. When married in a private ceremony two days before a solar eclipse, hundreds gathered outside the church and tried to enter. The couple were applauded as they left and had never expected an audience. The Sun was conjunct Uranus for this wedding.
The fourth marriage for a 55-year-old woman and the second for a retired 63-year-old actuary lasted over eleven years. She was a recovering alcoholic and there were some crises when she began drinking again. They entertained from their luxurious condo and traveled quite a bit. (The Moon squared Uranus, the Sun conjoined Jupiter, and Mars conjoined Neptune for this wedding day).
The second marriage of two PhDs with a 14-year age difference occurred four days after a total solar eclipse. Following the marriage, the bride became hostile to her husband and his four kids. She died of an incurable disease several years later. Mercury and Jupiter square Uranus, along with Saturn squaring Neptune in the tenth house must account for some of the unusual elements of this story.
A stormy first marriage between two young people took place two days after a lunar eclipse. They were separated within a year, then reunited. Unfortunately, they were divorcing within three years, after both having affairs, and ended up battling over custody of their young son. Mars square Saturn, the Sun square Pluto and other astrological challenges influenced this marriage.
While these eclipse wedding charts seem to often show a lack of domestic tranquility, this is a very small sampling. Many couples must have been married on the same day as Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, and none received nearly as much attention. And all of these celebrity couples had been in the public eye before their marriages, too. We haven’t really considered signs, houses or aspects to the eclipses or the differences between solar and lunar eclipses. The natal charts of the couples, their compatibility, transits and progressions at the time of their marriages should all be considered for a complete interpretation. Many more charts would have to be studied to reach any definite conclusions.
However, couples married near an eclipse may need to consciously control their emotions and feelings, and try to be practical and rational. All couples deal with difficulties in life, and those with eclipse weddings should make an effort to take things in stride and not exaggerate frustrations with the home, family or in-laws, focusing instead on the positive and celebrating what they share.
Some couples do prefer a high-adventure, somewhat unpredictable and emotionally charged lifestyle. Those may have nothing to fear from an eclipse. But most clients tend to be focused on security and stability; if you’re choosing wedding dates, I’d still recommend trying to avoid ten days before to perhaps even four days after the eclipses – not always an easily accomplished feat.
This article originally appeared in the New York NCGR Ingress newsletter, Spring 2016.
Emylu Lander Hughes’ A Book of Marriage Charts on Amazon.com: Book of Marriage Charts