What does it all mean?
Lots of scientists are very excited to observe this solar eclipse from many vantage points. The national eclipse ballooning project will send up 72 balloons in order to look down on earth's atmosphere to see how it responds to the sudden loss of sunlight. Some think it creates turbulence and they hope their project will help the aviation industry. We're so dependent on our electricity now that a huge solar flare could cause major damage. A better understanding of the intricate relationship between the sun’s magnetic field and its corona might help us take better precautions against space weather. So much fun and oh-so-serious stuff!
Lots of spiritual gurus have lots of things to say about the darkness and the return of light, too. "Things will be intensified to help us clear out everything that no longer serves our highest good" (Emmanuel Dagher). "A theme for this eclipse is breakthroughs - which often come after breakdowns" and "when there are eclipses in Leo, astrologers historically have linked them to the coming of a ruler or the downfall of one" (Chani Nicholas). "Metaphorically speaking eclipses are moments when we must face our individual and collective shadow, to allow us to find healing through a new level of understanding" (Donna Woodwell).
A friend texted and asked me during the eclipse if I felt a different energy. My answer: yeah! frustration. Frustration that I don't have a better camera or a telescope! I am really envious of people who took a photo of the sun that actually showed the shape of the moon's shadow on the sun. However...my phone captured this really cool little blue crescent - the inverse of the shape of the sun + shadow at that moment, and I think that's pretty neat.
Where I live on the coast it was of course completely socked in with fog. It's summer. That's how it's supposed to be. Somebody even posted a hilarious picture on fb of the local weather prediction during the solar eclipse. A twenty minute drive however got me into the sun in time for the main event. And provided me with a couple of observations.
1. IT WAS REALLY EXCITING!!!
2. I can't wait til 2024. I will be retired then and can hook up with friends and family along the path of totality.
3. I hope it doesn't snow or rain!
4. I will look for other less staggering astronomical events in the meantime.
So many people stopped to watch. The road on both sides of the dam and along the reservoir was blocked with parked cars. Families, partners, friends, strangers, old, young, middle, working, vacationing, retired. People with picnics, people with blankets, people jumping up and down with excitement, people embracing, glasses of wine, bottles of juice. My favorite were the 5 or 6 guys piling out of their truck in their gardening gear; "the boss" surprised them by passing out eclipse glasses and they were all having a blast. Everybody had some kind of protective lens to look at the sun. And everybody was sharing! people with telescopes, people with eclipse glasses, people with welders helmets (hope they were strong enough!), people with little pieces of protective gels, papers with pinholes. And cameras.
Who are these people? Who gets excited by this wonderful event in the sky? Who has to get out there and see it for themselves?
Dreamers. Lovers. People who can allow themselves to feel awe; who can allow themselves to feel connected to the cosmos; who revel in the feeling of inspiration, oneness, and possibly even hope; who can - even for just a few minutes - put aside the dramas of the everyday, of yesterday and of tomorrow, and stand in the precious moment.
But what does it all really mean? It's personal. Everyone perceives the moment of "totality" differently. There are themes, however. A solar eclipse invites kindness, tenderness, vulnerability, sensitivity; union, connectedness; a sense of awe and wonder. I was reminded of the power of the moon, darkness, the "feminine," of quiet and of understanding. There are those who slept through it. Let them. Dreamers and lovers know the secret. In the words of the great Jack Horkheimer, The Star Hustler, "Keep looking up!" This is Love
This is love: to fly toward a secret sky,
to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment.
First, to let go of live.
In the end, to take a step without feet;
to regard this world as invisible,
and to disregard what appears to be the self.
Heart, I said, what a gift it has been
to enter this circle of lovers,
to see beyond seeing itself,
to reach and feel within the breast.
by Jelaluddin Rumi, James Cowan, Translator
Those who don't feel this Love
pulling them like a river, those who don't drink dawn like a cup of spring water or take in sunset like supper, those who don't want to change,
let them sleep...
by Jelaluddin Rumi, Coleman Barks, Translator