After a 99 year absence, one of the greatest shows on Earth crosses the United States on August 21st: a Total Solar Eclipse (TSE). Earthlings may be living on the only planet in the cosmos that can see the phenomenon of the sun's disappearance. Because our moon is both 400 times smaller and closer than the sun, they appear to be the same size. This optical illusion lets the moon appear to put out the light of the sun in the sky, while on Earth, the moon's shadow turns day into night.
The shock of the sun's sudden disappearance put the fear of the gods into ancient people. As early as 2500 BCE Babylonian mathematicians figured out how to predict eclipses, but the media of the time was slow in spreading the word. World mythologies attributed eclipses to ordinary or mythical creatures swallowing the sun: Scandinavian myths say its the wolf who ate the it.
This eclipse born in the Pacific Ocean makes land fall near Lincoln City, Oregon, crosses the entire USA and dies out in the Atlantic after leaving Charleston, South Caroline. Within a 67-mile wide band, the moon shadow races across the land at 2900 mph through Oregon creating an eerie twilight for the two minutes and nineteen seconds of local totality. Temperatures drop five to ten degrees. Animals revert to night behaviors: birds roost, and insects quieten. Stars, and four planets, Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter, will twinkle in the dark, daytime sky.
Modern eyewitnesses describe TSEs as powerful, mysterious and magical, and inspire many to follow them world-wide. The first one in the United States in 99 years attracts an influx of tourist to the path of totality as hotels, homes, campsites and RV parks are booked to the max. Small towns, like Madras, Oregon, population 6,000, expect to host up to 100,000 visitors pushing their capacity to provide gas, water, ice, food, medical care and other services beyond their limits.
If you plan on traveling into the 67-mile wide viewing zone, fill your gas tanks, and load up your coolers with more food, water and ice than you think you'll need and enough to share. Many roads into peak viewing areas are only two-lanes so expect heavy, slow traffic. Be patient and be prepared, but, go! This is a rare bucket-list quality experience.
Energetically, eclipses are super-duper new or full moons that occur four to five times a year. This TSE pours on the energy with the eclipsed sun in the unusual position of being the second new moon in the sign of Leo which is ruled by the sun. At a mature twenty-eight degrees, this majestic sun should completely command the moment. But, no! It is blotted out.
The sun, representing our will, action and take charge energy is overshadowed as the moon provides a dramatic break in action. Our receptive side steps forward with quieter, soul yearnings, giving us a reality check on how we use our light. Are we creating life from our natural glow or scorching the earth with overblown egos?
As frightening as it is to see the sun disappear, it's equally as frightening to see our unconscious antics when we try to stay safe by not being seen. Leo brings us courage to take a risk, be visible, and stand in the spotlight owning who we are and our lives. The moon, also in Leo, provides a respite from the unrelenting sun. She says, “Quiet. Look at the radiance of your golden heart. Reclaim your innocence and live from there.”
Two minutes and nineteen seconds of quiet and mystery. To consider our tiny self on this little planet in the immensity of the universe and laugh. What a gift! Life! Me. Here. Now.
As the sun reappears, we can return to life as usual or make new choices. We could drop our masks and revel in the brilliance of ourselves and others. We could rediscover life as play. We could trust that who we are in the simplest way is quite enough, thank you very much.
In other words, we could simply shine, like the sun.
On the world level, concerns about shooting the messenger might have had Babylonian astrologers drawing straws to see who would deliver predictions around this eclipse to the king, chief, or, dare we say, president. The Saros Series this eclipse springs from arose in 1639 and tends to spawn contentious events like assassinations and financial disasters. Linking the TSE chart with the USA chart and Trump's does not look good. Throw in other countries' charts being triggered, like North Korea, and Israel, and this eclipse is certain to bring world-wide events to a boiling point.
Planets continue to activate eclipse point's after the event. The first planet up: Mars, the Warrior, in Leo, a fire sign. (Woohoo. Fireworks.) Mercury retrograde in bombastic Leo trips across the eclipse degree two times in the following month. (Foot in mouth issues and not knowing when to shut up. Oh, my!) The emotional moon crosses the point in late September. At the three month point, the all powerful Sun stresses the eclipse point. (JFK was shot in November after a summer eclipse from this Saros Series.) Six months from the event, new eclipses occur supporting or shifting the TSE's potential.
Eclipses mark a particular moment with the story unfolding over time. They merely bring energy to countries and people. It can be used in a myriad of ways. As we make our choice, remember the moon's reminder of our soul's yearning. Our greatest work is living true to our golden heart - where love shines like the sun.