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The moon

When a lunar eclipse occurs, it’s part of a sequence of 1-4 occurrences, each six months after the last one. On the Hebrew calendar it also happens that two important festivals occur at the full moon six months apart, with Passover in month 1 and the Feast of Tabernacles in month 7. So whenever there’s a lunar eclipse at Passover, we’re likely to also get an eclipse at the feast of Tabernacles, and vice versa.

How often does this happen – a lunar eclipse at Passover and/or Tabernacles?

Looking at just total eclipses, we find that:

  • Month 1 and month 7 total eclipses occur in sequences of 1-4 occurrences, 6 lunar months apart
  • Between one of these sequences and the next is a span of 18 years
  • Then we find a cluster of 2-4 of these every-18-year sequences occurring every 65 years

Three of these clusters take 65 x 3 = 195 years, and 196 = 49 x 4, so once again we have a correlation with the 49-year Jubilee cycle.

(65 x 3) + 1 = 196 = 49 x 4

What this means in practical terms is that every fourth Jubilee we find a similar pattern of eclipses, occurring just 1 year earlier in the Jubilee cycle. Looking at actual occurrences we find that in addition to many cases of this, where an eclipse just comes a year earlier every fourth Jubilee, there are also eclipses which hit transition points in their sequences, so that they occur 8 years later or earlier than we would otherwise have expected (making it 7 years later, or 8-9 years earlier). Also we encounter a continual shifting in the quality of the eclipses, putting a limit on how many 4-Jubilee periods one of these sequences can last, simply because what was total is now only partial or penumbral. More study needed to put numbers and fuller definition to these details…

But notice this – for an eclipse near the center of a cluster of total eclipses, an eclipse 65 years away should also be near the center of its cluster and thus also be total, and we can usually expect to find total eclipses 18 years on either side of it, giving us total eclipses 65 – 18 = 47 years away, and 65 + 18 = 83 years away. For an eclipse near the end of its cluster, there’s also a fair chance of finding another total eclipse 65 – 18 – 18 = 29 years away. And for an eclipse near the beginning of its cluster, a fair chance of finding another one 65 + 18 + 18 = 101 years away. This gives us the following five potentially significant spans of years: 29, 47, 65, 83, 101.

We’ll see elsewhere that the number 47 is quite significant. Since 47 is one of the cycles of Mars, this allows lunar eclipses to sometimes align with the cycle of Mars. And it’s close enough to a 49-year Jubilee period to allow this activity of Mars and the moon to occur close to the same point in two consecutive Jubilee cycles, just occurring 2 years earlier in the cycle than in the previous Jubilee cycle. Since the 47-year interval is between eclipses occurring at different points in their respective clusters, it won’t be a long-term correlation. We’ll probably find a maximum of three such occurrences in a row, each 47 years apart.

The number 83 is quite familiar, too. 83 is a stable point in the cycle of Jupiter’s conjunctions, meaning that a triple conjunction of Jupiter with a particular star is very likely to be followed by another one 83 years later. Though I haven’t yet explored this correlation between Jupiter and the moon, the numbers suggest another interesting thing to watch for as we examine patterns of eclipses. This interval too is likely to have a maximum of three occurrences in a row of correlations between lunar eclipses and Jupiter’s conjunctions.

And then 29. This number belongs to Saturn’s cycles, allowing the possibility for two consecutive conjunctions of Saturn to both be aligned with lunar eclipses. The 29-year interval applies to eclipses that are offset even more from the centers of their clusters, so Saturn won’t likely be matched up with eclipses of the moon for more than just two conjunctions in a row.

I’m not aware of any significance to the other two intervals, 65 years and 101 years. But look at what we do have. We have correlations between the lunar eclipse cycle and the cycles of all three of the visible outer planets – Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars. Quite an intriguing design feature, enabling the moon and these planets to cooperate in ways that simply would not be possible if these numbers didn’t match up as they do. These will be very interesting patterns to watch for in examining the historical eclipse and conjunction data (see the Astronomical Calendars). Venus too may end up showing some interesting correlations with the lunar eclipse cycle. Though these correlations are less exact, they’re only one year off, with 47 years being close to six 8-year cycles of Venus (48 years), and 65 years being close to eight 8-year cycles of Venus (64 years). Since the span of the every-6-month eclipse sequences last up to 18 months, in many cases that could well compensate for the 1-year difference.

Examining the moon’s correlation with the cycle of Mars

In another study we’ll see that total lunar eclipses align with the cycle of Mars every 568 or 521 years. In terms of the 65-year and 18-year cycle lengths described above for lunar eclipses, the 568-year alignment comes from nine 65-year cycles shifted by one 18-year cycle, and the 521-year alignment comes from eight 65-year cycles:

  • ((9 x 65) + 1) – 18 = 568
  • (8 x 65) + 1 = 521

In terms of the cycle lengths of Mars, 568 years is made up of six 79-year cycles plus two 47-year cycles. 521 years is just 47 years short of this, being six 79-year cycles plus just one 47-year cycle:

  • (6 x 79) + (2 x 47) = 568
  • (6 x 79) + (1 x 47) = 521

In a typical sequence of 5 of these cycles, 4 out of 5 will have 568 years as their length while one will have the shortened length of 521 years, giving us a total of 2793 years, or exactly 57 Jubilee periods. This is also made up of three 931-year, 19 Jubilee cycles of Mars. But though Mars aligns with the Jubilee cycle every 19 Jubilees, it’s only every third time, every 57 Jubilees, that the eclipsed moon joins in this alignment.

The pattern with respect to Mars/Regulus conjunctions

Here’s an example of the pattern. In each year shown we find a triple or double conjunction of Mars with Regulus marking a set of lunar eclipses – but it’s only after 5 of these periods that the alignment with the Jubilee cycle wraps back around to the same point at which it began, which in this case is at year 10 of the Jubilee cycle:

-4239 Year 10 of the current Jubilee period + 568 yrs =
-3671 Year 39 of the current Jubilee period + 568 yrs =
-3103 Year 19 of the current Jubilee period + 568 yrs =
-2535 Year 48 of the current Jubilee period + 521 yrs =
-2014 Year 30 of the current Jubilee period + 568 yrs =
-1446 Year 10 of the current Jubilee period

This sequence of lunar eclipses is particularly interesting because it ends at the time of Israel’s Exodus from Egypt. If we continue forward from the Exodus, it gets even more interesting. Here we encounter two discontinuities – one at the Babylonian exile between the years -878 and -310 where the Jubilee alignment is shifted. The expected “Year 19” Jubilee alignment becomes “Year 7” because of the gap of 12/61 years. Then the other discontinuity is between the years 779 and 858 AD where we jump forward by 79 years from an old fading series of eclipses to a new series that’s replacing it:

-1446 Year 10 of the current Jubilee period + 568 yrs =
-878 Year 39 of the current Jubilee period + 568 yrs =
-310 Year 7 of the current Jubilee period + 521 yrs =
211 Year 38 of the current Jubilee period + 568 yrs =
779 Year 18 of the current Jubilee period + 79 yrs =
858 Year 48 of the current Jubilee period + 521 yrs =
1379 Year 30 of the current Jubilee period + 568 yrs =
1947 Year 10 of the current Jubilee period

But the two discontinuities accommodate each other nicely, resulting in the Jubilee alignment once again wrapping back around to the same place at which it started. As a result of the discontinuities the total time span is increased by 600 years, from 2793 to 3393 years. In terms of Jubilee periods, the total time span is increased by (600 – 12) / 49 = 12 Jubilees, for a total of 57 + 12 = 69 Jubilee periods. The most interesting detail is to see where we end up once the Jubilee alignment has been restored to the point at which it began. It happens at another very significant historical date – the 1947/1948 year in which Israel was restored as a nation.

The pattern with respect to Mars/Spica conjunctions

These two patterns both showed lunar eclipses marked by Mars/Regulus conjunctions. What if we similarly investigate lunar eclipses marked by Mars/Spica conjunctions? Here’s an example stretching from the year -4630 to -1837, showing that we get a very similar pattern:

-4630 Year 11 of the current Jubilee period + 568 yrs =
-4062 Year 40 of the current Jubilee period + 568 yrs =
-3494 Year 20 of the current Jubilee period + 568 yrs =
-2926 Year 49 of the current Jubilee period + 521 yrs =
-2405 Year 31 of the current Jubilee period + 568 yrs =
-1837 Year 11 of the current Jubilee period

The pattern doesn’t end here. It continues through the Babylonian exile, and though beginning to fade, it still makes a showing every 568 or 521 years up until very recent years, with the last of the series occurring in the year 1998:

-1837 Year 11 of the current Jubilee period + 568 yrs =
-1269 Year 40 of the current Jubilee period + 568 yrs =
-701 Year 20 of the current Jubilee period + 521 yrs =
-180 Year 39 of the current Jubilee period + 568 yrs =
388 Year 19 of the current Jubilee period + 521 yrs =
909 Year 1 of the current Jubilee period + 521 yrs =
1430 Year 32 of the current Jubilee period + 568 yrs =
1998 Year 12 of the current Jubilee period

I don’t yet see any historical significance for the dates shown in these first two tables of Mars/Spica correlations. The more interesting dates are to be found in a new series that begins to develop in the year -212 as the first series is begining to fade. Being a new, developing series, after the year 877 we find it expanding into two parallel branches. We’ll use two separate tables to show the two branches. Note that it’s the second branch which succeeds in returning to the same point in the Jubilee cycle at which it began:

-212 Year 7 of the current Jubilee period + 568 yrs =
356 Year 36 of the current Jubilee period + 521 yrs =
877 Year 18 of the current Jubilee period + 521 yrs =
1398 Year 49 of the current Jubilee period + 568 yrs =
1966 Year 29 of the current Jubilee period + 568 yrs =
2534 Year 9 of the current Jubilee period
-212 Year 7 of the current Jubilee period + 568 yrs =
356 Year 36 of the current Jubilee period + 521 yrs =
877 Year 18 of the current Jubilee period + 568 yrs =
1445 Year 47 of the current Jubilee period + 568 yrs =
2013 Year 27 of the current Jubilee period + 568 yrs =
2581 Year 7 of the current Jubilee period

The interesting dates to be noted here are the 1966/1967 year in which the newly restored nation of Israel gained fuller access to their land and to the city of Jerusalem, and the 2013/2014 year, in which the same astronomical sign is being repeated, but this time more fully and completely.


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