Introduction to Prenatal Eclipses
– Written by Philip Graves – 21st January, 2004
– Reformatted for WordPress, 9th June, 2016


What is a prenatal eclipse?

A prenatal eclipse is the last eclipse of the Sun to have occurred before birth. It is considered by karmic astrologers such as the late Rose Lineman to be the primary significator of the karmic path of the individual, indicating all past life karma (debts and assets alike) that is relevant to the current lifetime; the kinds of relationships and perplexing situations in the present incarnation required for karmic progress; the means of resolving karmic problems; a path to spiritual understanding; and certain facets of evolutionary progress. Non-believers in reincarnation and karma will find the theories outlined in this article tenuous. They are presented here nonetheless for information purposes.

Eclipses occur in groups of between four and six spread over about a year. Each group is known as belonging to a particular Saros series, the full cycle of nineteen of which recurs once every approximately 18 years. Eclipses always occur at the lunar nodes, since they are where the Moon’s orbit of Earth intersects the ecliptic, or plane through which the Earth orbits the Sun, thereby providing a necessary condition of geometric alignment for an eclipse to occur. Each Saros series manifests as at least two North Node eclipses, marked N in the prenatal eclipse table linked below, and at least two South Node eclipses, marked S.


Finding the prenatal eclipse

Use the accompanying table here for births between 1940 and 1999. The last solar eclipse in the table below to have begun before your moment of birth is your prenatal eclipse (PE). The accompanying lunar eclipse(s) (LE), as defined below, are valid whether they occur before or after birth.


Prenatal eclipse interpretation

In natal interpretation, the prenatal eclipse (marked PE on a figure) is considered together with the initial eclipse of its series (marked IE), as shown in the table below; and with any lunar eclipses that occur a couple of weeks before or after the prenatal eclipse (there is always at least one, and occasionally two), which always occur at the opposite lunar node from the prenatal eclipse, and are known as accompanying lunar eclipses (marked LE). Also considered is the key planet, as explained below.

The PE is interpreted in the nativity with reference to its sign and house placement, and aspects, using the same orbs as are used for any planet for the type of aspect concerned. Its sign placement shows the common interests and causes of the PE generation; and the gift of awareness that the generation is responsible for sharing with the collective. But on a personal level it will be more strongly expressed where there is found an angle or a strong planet or multiple planets in the same sign; and the positive and negative sign potentials will be brought out by harmonious and inharmonious aspects to the PE in the figure. [The domicile rulers of the decan and dwad sign colorations further colour the sign influence.] Its sign element shows characteristics of personality that have been insufficiently developed (or misused) in previous incarnations, and therefore require personal focus in the current life; and also indicates a suitable manner for the resolution of karmic problems, but this will require adjustment if it conflicts with the overall elemental balance of the nativity. Its house placement describes activities and relationships that teach karmic lessons, produce karmic progress, and can be used to work out karmic situations and resolve karmic debts. Its aspects link the general potentials of the PE as indicated by its sign and house placement to problems (shown by inharmonious aspects) and resolutions (shown by harmonious ones), taking into consideration the general nature and placement of each aspected planet. Harmonious aspects act as channels to spiritual growth, while inharmonious ones tend to inhibit it, requiring effort for this blockage to be overcome.

In karmic astrology, quincunxes are considered to qualify as major aspects, and are accorded special significance as indicators of a disposition to repeat karmic errors, the resolution of which inclination requires individual effort.

The dispositor of the PE (the almuten of its sign and degree placement) sheds further light, by its sign and house position in the figure, upon the karmic resources and situations that will manifest in the life.

Where two prenatal solar eclipses occurred since the last lunar eclipse before birth, the individual (and his / her PE generation) has the responsibility to share two lessons with humanity.

In predictive astrology, aspects thrown by transiting or progressed planets to the natal PE activate the release of the latent potentials of the PE, taking into account the aspect type as well as the general nature and placement of the aspecting planet. Conjunctions and inharmonious aspects by transit and progression trigger events, whereas harmonious aspects produce conditions or circumstances that aid the individual to vanquish karmic blockages.

In synastry, aspects from the prenatal eclipse of one individual to planets in the nativity of the other indicate certain karmic functions of the relationship.


Types of prenatal eclipse

Total solar eclipses show a need for initiative and hard work in order to utilise the potential of the PE. Annular solar eclipses bring an innate consciousness that assists in the realisation of how to make the most of karmic assets, although not directly opening the way to them. Partial solar eclipses bring not only awareness of but also easy access to the situations and relationships in life that serve as karmic assets.

North Node solar eclipses indicate an evolutionary state characterised by relative ease of access to spiritual enlightenment, and freedom from negative preconceptions that may have prevented karmic progress in previous incarnations. South Node solar eclipses indicate the inheritance from previous incarnations of deeply ingrained negative biases that inhibit spiritual development, which, until the individually consciously overcomes them, will be inclined to prevent the resolution of karmic problems.


Finding the Initial Eclipse

In the table below are listed the initial eclipses for the North Node (N) and South Node (S) manifestations of each series. Series marked ‘-E’ are the earlier version of two concurrent versions of the same series.


Ser N Node Ser South Node Ser
1 13º Cap 29º Leo – 00º Vir
2-E 06º Cancer  
2 26º Gemini 02º Taurus
3 22º Libra 27º Leo
4 11º Gemini 27º Aries
5 19º Libra 22º Cancer
6 28º Taurus 22º Pisces
7 17º Libra 07º Cancer
8 06º Gemini 11º Aries
9-E 17º Leo 05º Cancer
9 28º Leo 26º Cancer
10 10º Taurus 26º Pisces
11 16º Leo 29º Gem – 00º Can
12 28º Taurus 23º Aquarius
13 21º Leo 06º Gemini
14 15º Taurus 10º Virgo
15 27º Cancer 24º Gemini
16 06º Pisces 28º Virgo
17-E 12º Cancer  
17 05º Leo 11º Gemini
18 21º Aqu 03º Virgo
19 21º Cancer (Not Known)

NB: In the table above, ‘Ser’ denotes ‘Series’


Initial Eclipse Interpretation

The IE acts similarly to the dispositor of the PE, in linking the PE’s scope for manifestation to another area of the figure. In interpretation, its sign placement acts as a subtle filter through which the sign placement of the PE must function, while its house placement links the affairs of the house concerned to those of the house tenanted by the PE, showing issues auxiliary and supplementary to those of the PE house. Where the PE and IE occupy signs of the same element or are related by likenesses in the domicile rulerships of the secondary and tertiary sign influences conferred by each of their decan and dwad placements, the sign placement of the IE will support and strengthen that of the PE.

Aspects from the IE, the consideration of which is restricted to a 2º orb and to major aspect types only, describe innate attitudes that may help or hinder character development and spiritual growth, in accordance with the aspect type, and the general nature and sign and house placement of the aspected planet or angle. Harmonious aspects indicate positive attributes inherited from previous incarnations, while inharmonious ones warn serve as warnings against the negative potentials of the house placement of the aspected planet or point in connection with the sign placement of the IE.

Any natal aspect from the IE to the PE is of particular importance, elevating the significance of the IE in interpretation to almost equal ranking with the PE.

Aspects by transit or progression to the IE activate the latent potentials of the PE.


The Accompanying Lunar Eclipse

The LE shows instinctual responses to the karmic situations connected with the PE, and unconscious attributes of the inner self inherited from previous incarnations. Its sign placement indicates the manner of instinctive response to karmic situations and events; while its house placement shows situations and relationships that bring spiritual support to the individual, and activities that constructively release inner energies.

Aspects to the LE are considered only by major aspect types and restricted to a 2º orb. Harmonious ones show appropriate instinctive reactions which the individual should endeavour to develop and put to use. Inharmonious ones show inappropriate reactions which the individual should try to control, since they impede positive spiritual development.

A total lunar eclipse shows the most deeply entrenched habits of instinctive reaction, and brings the capability for automatic utilisation of positive inner response tendencies but restricts the recognition of negative ones and the development of more constructive responses in their place. Those habits indicated by a partial lunar eclipse are relatively mildly set, and those shown by an annular lunar eclipse still more lightly so.

The PE and LE will always be in either opposition or quincunx relation to each other, by sign and house placement (not counting degrees). By sign placement, relation by opposition shows a perfect complement between the individual’s manner of inner expression (indicated by the LE) and manner of outer expression (indicated by the PE) in response to karmic situations. Relation by quincunx shows a requirement for inner adjustment as a precondition to the optimal utilisation of lunar energies in addressing the karmic situations and issues indicated by the placement of the PE. By house placement, relation by opposition lends to the affairs of the house tenanted by the LE a supportive influence upon the karmically relevant activities of the house tenanted by the PE. Relation by quincunx brings a distressful disparity between the instinctive response to karmic situations and the nature of those situations.

Where the LE occurs before the PE, the response to the conditions shown by the PE is relatively passive, reflecting the waning (decreasing in light) of the Moon in the interim period. Where the PE succeeds the LE, the response to the conditions shown by the PE is active and characterised by initiative and reactions compatible with the condition of the Moon in the nativity, reflecting the waxing (increasing in light) of the Moon in the period between the solar and lunar eclipses.

If there are two LEs, one before and one after the PE, both require interpretation separately, by their placement in the figure and their relation to the PE.


Prenatal Lunar Eclipse

Karen McCoy and Jan Spiller separately interpret the last lunar eclipse before birth, regardless of any series connection to the prenatal solar eclipse, as an indicator of qualities the individual needs to take on, and lessons the soul desires to learn, in the current incarnation. They stipulate that where two prenatal lunar eclipses occurred since the prenatal solar eclipse, the individual has a dual destiny with two lessons to learn and issues to address. These authors also theorise that medical problems related to the sign placements of either solar or lunar prenatal eclipses arise when the life lessons indicated by the eclipse concerned are poorly psychologically integrated.


Key Planet

The planet or luminary immediately after the prenatal eclipse in the natal figure (as counted forward through the signs, anti-clockwise in the figure) is termed the key planet and is said to indicate facets of the immediately preceding incarnation that bear karmically upon the present one.

The key planet is also considered by aspects, especially those to the PE, LE and IE, and by its distance from the PE. Aspects to any planets in the figure show connections between the current and previous incarnations. Inharmonious aspects are said to indicate karmic problems whose resolution in the previous incarnation was incomplete and ineffective, calling thus for renewed and more effectual attention in the present lifetime.

The separation between the key planet and PE in degrees arc is said to indicate the amount of time that elapsed between the previous decease and the birth, at the rate of one year per degree, or six days and two hours per minute. It is speculated that a very rapid reincarnation is testimony to the ill-preparedness of the individual for death when it struck, sometimes indicating accidental or violent death.

The sign and house placement of the key planet hold clues to the cause of death at the close of the previous life. Afflictions to the key planet from malefics that are either posited in or Lord of the Eighth House can indicate sudden death (if Uranus is involved) or death mediated through accident (if Mars), suicide (if Neptune), or criminal violence (if Pluto). Harmonious aspects from the key planet to planets that are posited in or Lord of the Eighth House indicate a relatively peaceful death for which the individual was well-prepared.

The sex of the key planet (with Moon, Venus, Neptune and Pluto considered female; Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus male; and Mercury the gender of the sign in which it is placed) has been suggested to indicate the individual’s gender in the previous incarnation, although on statistical analysis this doesn’t work out too well since the balance of babies born is not weighted so strongly in masculine favour as the distribution of male and female planets suggests.

The key planet, by its general nature and sign and house placement and aspects, is also a significator of the personality and position in the previous incarnation.

References: Rose Lineman; Karen McCoy / Jan Spiller


Return to Astrology Article Menu…

Share to: