Al H. Morrison, Eclipse paths and the Saros
by Andrew J. Bevan, QHP, DMS Astrol (c) 2006



In November of 1984 I was visiting New York and looked up Al H. Morrison (1916-1995), editor of the CAO TIMES. Walter Mondale had just lost the US election to Ronald Reagan, and Michael Lutin had taken me along to a 'losers party' consisting largely of a clan reputable NY astrologers. Morrison took me on a tour to show off some of the sites of the city and this would have been on November 8th, because I recall the lunar eclipse of the day. From the top of the World Trade Centre Morrison filled me in with all the history and facts of the building. He said: "This building is fire-proof, earthquake-proof and plane-proof." And then he turned round to me and said: "But I reckon someone will try and fly a Boeing through it some day." Morrison had studied the founding charts. Some 16 years later his prophecy came true.

I never saw an office apartment so crammed and disordered with literature. Robert Hand once said to me: "The trouble with Al H. Morrison is that he has forgotten more astrology than any other of us ever knew all put together."  One of the items that Al H. Morrison did produce on November 8th, 1984 was an old catalogue of eclipse paths. He directed my attention to a particular eclipse, or probably two, some 60 years BC and their relationship to Bethlehem. With reference to the triple conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in 6 BC, he said to me: "Andrew, we don't quite know how the ancient astrologers or holy priests actually worked things out.  

The Importance of Eclipse Paths and the Saros
It took me years to recover a eclipse map for the epoch in question. These invaluable charts have become available thanks to the work and efforts of Fred Espenak, Nasa. Click here to view the Total and Annular Solar Eclipse paths calculated for the years -0079 to -0060 ( 80BC - 61 BC) as calculated by Fred Espenak in full size. The total phase of the 61 BC total solar eclipse begins in the region directly above Jerusalem and Bethlehem(!!) Check it out!

Regarding the BC-eclipse calculations: The year zero does not exist. The program performing the eclipse path calculations for Espenak is based on other considerations, therefore year -0060, as indicated on the map, refers to the year 61 BC, and so on. The problem is explained by Espenak, 'here'. Espenak provides exact eclipse dates according to the Julian calendar, while the charts provided in the current article are according to the Gregorian calendar, which is presently in use.  It may be acknowleded in the same wind that Mr. Espenak, whom I have met, and is an expert astronomer, mathematician and scientist but does not wish do discuss theories of astrology. I am not sure whether this is an expression of a personal opinion on the subject of astrology, or simply putting a rational and scientific boundary for the scope of his work. It is a wonder why a person would spend his life travelling around the world to stand under the path of a Solar Eclipse without wondering whether they convey a higher meaning in the scheme of the Gods.

The Total Phase of the 61 BC eclipse begins directly above Bethlehem


The Total Solar Eclipse of 18. September 61BC (Espenak: -0060 Sep 20) is a member of the Saros Series 72. The Saros Cycle is a progressive repetition of eclipses discovered by the Chaldeans that made it possible to predict eclipses either centuries in advance or retrospect with great accuracy. In astrology, the first and initial eclipse of a Saros series bears a founding meaning or promise that is carried on throughout the eclipse series. The Saros series 72 was born with the Partial Solar Eclipse of 8. August 728 BC. At this time the Sun and Moon paths intersect with the maximum orb and relatedness to the Moons nodes, in this case the Moon's South and descending node, which permits an eclipse of the Sun to occur. Saros series' always commence as a sequence of partial eclipses at either of the Earths polar regions, but as the series develops the conjunction of the Sun and Moon occur closer to the Moon's node, which is the point where the Sun and the Moon's path intersect. The eclipses become 'tighter'. The partial eclipses develop into total and annular eclipses, and the point of eclipse maximum moves closer to the equator. After the eclipse series has culminated and performed its eclipse of highest altitude the conjunction of the Sun and the Moon will move away from the Moons nodes, the eclipse paths will draw away from the equator and the series will eventually end in a sequence of partial eclipses in the polar regions opposite pole to where the eclipse series originally started.

To understand the meaning of any eclipse it is considered important to go back and study the eclipse that originated that Saros series. The 'Mother' eclipse bears an important meaning that is carried on to future eclipses of the same series, so that the full meaning of a current eclipse is acheived by going back and studying the initiation eclipse of that same series. The Saros series 72 commenced with the annual eclipse of 8. August 728 BC. If the Saros Series 72 is related to the coming of Biblical coming of the Christ, its is interesting that this was first predicted by the prophet Isaiah who lived at the same time, 700-800 BC.


Partial Eclipse of 8. Aug 728 BC (Gregorian), Initiating Saros Series 72




The Saros Series 72 commences with a partial eclipse that does not strike the Earth with a path of total shadow in the same manner as a total eclipse. The partial eclipse was not visable from Jerusalem, but the lumanaries would have been rising in the ascendant in the East at the time they were joined. Any planet is reckoned to be in the Heart of the Sun, or Cazimi, for the period that it takes for that body to pass 16' before and after the Solar Center, since the approximate apparent diameter of the Sun is 32' of orb. It is custom to observe this longitude of orb along the ecliptic, whether the planet passes either South or North of the solar body. However, on occasion such allignments will occur at the correct planetary nodes and a true transit or eclipse of celestials will occur.

The outstanding feature of the inauguration chart of 728 BC is the fact that the eclipse occurs in the 15th degree of Leo and very Heart of the domain of the Sun. It is also significant that Venus is on the Autumn equinox in the beginning of Libra. This is a configuration we also find on 10. August 3115 BC, where there is a new Moon that may coincide with the beginning of the Mayan calendar. The interlocked relationship between the Earth's and Venus' orbit around the Sun cause the phases, risings and settings of Venus to move through a 7 year cycle with great accuracy. The ancient astrologer/priests knew about this relationship and it was very important for the timing of sacred happenings. In the latter chart, which I am proposing for the Mayan calendar, indicates the 'Beginning of Time, and in this lunation in the 18th degree of Leo (not eclipse!) the luminaries are alligned the great chronocator, Saturn, the Lord of Time. I mention this as a clue to important epochs.

As a matter of technical detail, I include that the first total eclipse of Saros cycle 72 occurs on 6. April 331 BC, Gregorian calendar. However, that what was indicated at the moment of the initiating eclipse of 8. August 728 BC reached its height as the Saros cycle and was at its highest altitude as the cycle reached its maximum with the 61BC chart. The chart below shows how the Solar Eclipse of 18. September 61 BC occurs within minutes of the Moons south node. Thus, it becomes obvious that at this point the Saros series 72 is at its highest altitude. The promise of the initial eclipse of the Saros series 72 occurring on 8. August 728 BC, culminates with the eclipse of 18. September 61 BC. The Holy Priests of antiquity traced the path of the eclipse to the place where its phase of totality first struck the Earth. This was the location where they predicted that the promise of the initial eclipse would land and come to Earth.


Total Solar Eclipse of 18. September 61 BC, Saros series 72



The eclipse 18. September 61 BC shows the series is at its height or highest altitude or peak as the eclipse occurs within minutes of the Moons South node. The chart I am provided is for when the Sun and Moon are alligned as seen from the Earth's center, although due to the closeness between the Earth and Moon the actual and apparant position of the Moon in the skies will vary according to where the observer is located on the planet. Espenak states that the eclipse peeked at 08.24 GMT. We know that the total phase of the eclipse path travelled from the region of the Holy country and we can trace the eclipse path to 1° North of the equator where it peaked West of Indonesia, to where the total phase was completed East of Australia. The path of the Moon's shadow travels Eastward and is not observed from all places at the same time. In fact the actual phase of totality may vary from a few seconds and up to about 6 1/2 minutes.

Interesting features in this chart include might include the observation of the eclipse be contained by the planetary opposites Jupiter and Mercury, who are dispositors of the Moon's nodes, and their condition causes a situation termed as an 'Opening of Gates' by ancient astrologers. Another striking detail is Saturn in the 1st degree of Gemini. Noting the position of the eclipse in the 25th degree of Virgo, it can be seen that this is the same as the position of Saturn in the chart of the initiating eclipse og 728BC.

As a consequence of the Saros, it is remarkable to find another eclipse of this series appearing in the year 7 BC, which is the same year as the tripple-conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn that gave the uprise to the legend of the Star of Bethlehem.


Total Solar Eclipse of 21. October 7 BC, Saros series 72



The 7BC eclipse of the Saros Series 72 occurs the Moon's South node in a square to the position it held in the initiating eclipse of 728BC, which might give is special significance in terms of the progression of the cycle. The lunation culminates close to the upper Midheaven of Jerulasalem. The Outer Planets are not discovered at the time but the planet Uranus is often reckoned as a 'Spiritual Sun' and the eclipse occurs on the antiscia of Uranus. The allignment of Jupiter and Saturn can be observed in this chart as they are retrograde in the skies and with have their 3rd and final conjunction on 4. December 7BC. The triple conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, together with the Solar eclipse of Saros 72 makes the year 7 BC to a very special year indeed. 

The 72 Saros series eventually terminates with the Partial Eclipse of the Sun on 25. January 752AD.