Dec 092011
Decemebr 9 2011 lunar eclipse

The December 9 lunar eclipse begins at 6.33pm (Thailand time), becoming a total lunar eclipse 9 - 10pm

WORD ON LUNAR ECLIPSE: Rahu is to make a rare appearance in the skies over Asia on Saturday (December 10, 2011) in the form of a total lunar eclipse, which will be visible from Phuket from 6.30pm.

The eclipse, traditionally believed to be the Hindu god Rahu, will begin just after 6.30pm (Thailand time) and become a total lunar eclipse between 9pm and 10pm.

Saturday’s total lunar eclipse is the second total lunar eclipse this year and only visible in its entirety from Asia and Australia, and Alaska and northernmost Canada before sunrise on December 10th.

rahu at a temple in Thailand

Rahu at a temple in Thailand

In Vedic astrology and Buddhist mythology, lunar and solar eclipses are caused by the god (9th planet) Rahu as he attempts to swallow the moon, or sun, prompting believers to make offerings to appease him.

In Thailand, people traditionally bang pots and pans during an eclipse to scare off Rahu.

Black is the colour associated with Rahu so offerings are made to him during eclipses, such as coffee, black beans and black biscuits.

All Hindu temples in Burma worship Rahu, and in Thailand he can be found at several temples, including Wat Traimet in Bangkok’s Chinatown and Wat Yannawa. Thai businesses will also make offerings of sugar to feed black ants, said to be a favourite delicacy of Rahu, who is believed to be the bringer of misfortune when not in a good position in one’s horoscope, but is also seen as a sign of strength and can be called upon for protection in Buddhist mantras and prayers.

The negative effects believed to be caused by Rahu are many, including: social backwardness; mental tension, abuse of power, electric shock, lethargy, evil thoughts and bad dreams, trouble while in a foreign land, loss of money in vices, ill health, fear and paranoia and possession of evil spirits.

Beneficial effects include: command over foreign languages; courage; financial gain and luck in the attainment of higher positions, especially in government.

Whatever your beliefs, Saturday’s appearance of Rahu is a rare spectacle not to be missed.

See the chart below for the lunar eclipse visibility around the world.

Visibility of the December 10 total lunar eclipse

Visibility of the December 10 total lunar eclipse