The lunar eclipse tonight -- on the eve of the Winter Solstice of 2010 -- will have all eyes on the sky and for good reason. Celestial phenomena, from meteors streaking across the sky to dazzling alignments of planets and stars, have fascinated us human types from the time we first appeared on the surface of Earth. We notice even something as simple as the phases of the moon as rites of passages, and over the millennia we have planned feast days and planting schedules around them.

Astrologers like me are always looking at what the planets are doing as they dance their way across the universe -- especially around eclipse time -- and wondering how they will affect our daily lives, and almost always find that they certainly do!

The sense of wonder we have about nature and the way it expresses itself in the sky can make even the most hardened skeptics admit there's at least a little something to a "superstition" such as this. There has even been statistical evidence supporting the increased emotional activity that takes place during a full moon, and we've all got an awareness of the turning points that appear when the seasons change. Little wonder, then, why there's such hubbub over the sky show of Dec. 21, 2010.

You probably recognize the date as the "first day of winter," and it is that, all right, at least for those of us in the northern hemisphere. The Winter Solstice is indeed the time when days in the north are shortest, because the top of the earth tilts
as far away from the sun as it will – for this year. After this, it's all uphill! Once the sun enters the zodiac sign of Capricorn at 6:39 pm. EST, the earth will begin its journey back toward spring, and the sun will give us more hours of light each
day.

In astrology, we look to the Winter Solstice as a time of high energy and focus. The trick is to harness these forces and make them work in our lives. Take stock of what you're working on, and find ways to make your projects even more exciting and fabulous. Study your relationships, and resolve to make them better, too. You might even make changes in the way you look or in your personal habits so you can improve your image and become a new and improved person.

For just about everyone, this is a turning point in our year, and it is commemorated in a variety of cultures by fun and festive holidays. Not surprisingly, all of them involve lighting candles or powering up electric strings of fanciful illumination. We create our own light in the darkness, in our humble human way, to honor the way religious and mythical figures brought light to our world. It really is rather miraculous. Yet, it's a normal, natural cycle, and it does happen every year.

The big deal about the Winter Solstice in the year 2010 is the Eclipse of the Moon (aka "Lunar Eclipse") that will take place just hours before the Winter Solstice occurs. In a Lunar Eclipse, the sun, earth and moon line up so that the so that the moon seems to disappear due to the shadow that's cast by the earth. And oh, by the way, this cosmic event is also technically a Full Moon, so get ready to howl!

The effect of the Eclipse can be felt in your life from three months before the date to about six months after, so you could be thinking about what happens or happened on the 21st at least through the winter.

This coincidental collision of planetary antics has caused a deluge of spooky headlines to spring up throughout the media, noting everything from the mere fact these two things haven't happened on the same day in hundreds of years to the possibility of strange and disconcerting world events because they are doing just that in 2010. Before you run off to the hills with your store of dried fruit, heirloom seeds and ample ammo, though, stop and remember –this is a really neat convergence of events, but it has happened before -- and the world has so far continued to revolve and evolve.

In astrology, the Lunar Eclipse is infamous for bringing certain matters to a head. You can expect the results of all the things you've been expending effort on to come in, for better or worse. At work, it could be good news about an end-of-
year bonus, or a call for the interview you've been waiting for. In your private life, it could bring a decision about where you'll live, and with whom. It might even mark the day you finally realize you're done with holiday preparations, or in your love life, it may bring the warm and wonderful feeling you've found "the one," or are more enamored than ever with the one you've been with for years.

There are plenty of reasons to "pop the cork," so to speak, and it is probably true that most of the events related to the eclipse will be happy ones. That's because it takes place in the hard-core celebrating zodiac sign of Sagittarius. The sign of
the Centaur can also bring some less-than-happy truths to light, though. Look for some embarrassing behavior on the part of politicians and other celebrities to be revealed in the news, along with increased possibilities of nations fighting over
their core belief systems, particularly religion and the laws that are derived from it. Also, if you're in a personal legal entanglement, and looking for opportunities to let it come to an end that allows all parties to walk away without regret, the
Lunar Eclipse can help you with that.

There could be some shock and awe connected to the eclipse, because it will light up a spot in the sky where the two planetary titans Uranus and Saturn have been battling for the last few years. There will be more news than ever about sudden changes in the economic picture, threats of war and the "earth changes" that have shaken us up as of late. The most we can do about these things is hope they won't be all that horrible, and make the world better by diving right into the spirit of love and compassion that so suits the season.

The promise of the Winter Solstice could cushion us from the less appealing news we hear, and it can also force us to face the truth of matters we might not want to deal with. There are times when we need a push like this, and once the storm is over, we may find the changes we were forced to endure were blessings we didn't originally recognize.

So what will happen to you after the Winter Solstice and Lunar Eclipse? You can try to blame the planets, but fact is, much will depend on you. What have you been doing to make sure it's something good? Are you following your passions, using your talents? These are some of the ways you can take advantage of the surge of energy you're bound to feel. To honor Sagittarius, above all, be true to yourself, and if possible, celebrate the things about your life that make you happy.

Then, if there's room for improvement, use the focus and energy of Capricorn and the winter season to get down to the work of creating the life you want. Don't forget -- when you're faced with little else but a store of assorted nuts, dried dates and raisins, you can always add a little rum and make fruitcake!


Judi Vitale is an accomplished astrologer and author of the new book, "Lovecasts: The Astrological Guide to Lasting Love." Her masterful knowledge of astrology allows her to give guidance and wisdom to readers and clients. You can email her here.

More fun with eclipses:
--Find out what tonight's eclipse means for your astrology sign!
--See videos of other cool eclipses here