New Moons tend to be seed-planting times. But solar eclipses operate more like Full Moons. They’re wild, energetic, and revelatory. Ancient Babylonian astrologers worried about eclipses. They understood the metaphor. The King—as the human Sun—was going to be darkened. He would lose power. And so would the vitality of the nation. The astrologer-priests summoned all their ritual magic in order to avert this disaster by hoping to obscure it, praying the heavens would send a rescuing bank of clouds or a sandstorm.
Whenever their ancient magic didn’t dissolve a particular eclipse, the priests knew they had a busy six months ahead, leading the king and others through the namburbi rituals, designed to unwind all the damage done by the darkening of the Sun. Today the yogis still advise, stay indoors, rest, and above all, don’t travel during an eclipse. The demons are out. And we’re more vulnerable to them. In many cultures around the world, pregnant woman are told not to go outside during an eclipse in order to avoid birth defects.
If you’re energetically sensitive—even minimally so, you understand the logic. Today we might replace the word “demons” with “negative ions” or a phrase like “it’s crazy out there.” Energetically—eclipses, whether they’re total or partial—jitter the atmosphere worldwide. There’s an increase in electrical energy that makes things feel buzzy and unnerving, like a band is playing salsa in a dance hall one dimension away.
You can sense an eclipse in the days, sometimes weeks, heading into it. The friction builds and people gradually lose their bearings. How do you protect yourself? With good rituals of stability and self-care. Keep the nervous system toned. That’s because it’s most likely little things, not big things that will do you in. Most people will experience the eclipse as a cascade of minor irritating events that can build into something bigger. You’re cut off in traffic, three times. You’re in a hurry and suddenly trapped by four shopping carts in an aisle at Trader Joe’s. You try to suppress the impatient anger and go about your business. But hours or maybe days later, in an untended moment, you lose your anchor and veer off balance. You erupt. Or collide with something. During a solar eclipse, the shadow comes out of hiding.
August eclipses typically wobble governments, leaders and kings. In the August eclipse of 1998, then president Clinton was heading towards impeachment. Just a few days before the eclipse and after months of denials and silence, Bill Clinton admitted that he’d had inappropriate relations with the intern Monica Lewinsky. The shadow came out of hiding. Last year’s August eclipse heated up the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA leading to a deadly attack against a peace protestor, after which President Trump argued there were good people on both sides. His sympathy for racists wasn’t surprising. But that he said it out in the open was. It’s been considered more appropriate to speak in dog whistles, pretending the dark underbelly of privilege, corruption and power isn’t really there. The eclipse brought out the bullhorns.
Last year’s August eclipse was particularly significant for the United States. Called “The Great American Eclipse,” its dark path of totality divided the United States in two–an appropriate celestial gesture, symbolizing our politically divided country. That eclipse triggered an old national wound, unhealed and festering since the birth of our democracy coincided with slavery, a schism which would later erupt in the Civil War, a rift that is still playing out today. Leaders are made and/or broken during late August eclipses. I’m not surprised that the Trump presidency continues to face severe crises, but there’s been hardly a month in his still-young presidency that this hasn’t been true. It’s hard to believe we can be surprised again, but we’ll see what this eclipse brings.
Now is the time to observe what the leaders are doing. Don’t turn away. Witness. Are they up to their calling or not?
As for ourselves, we should remember that true leadership always starts within. Whatever the circumstances in your personal kingdom, are you anchored? Are you sound? Are you seeing clearly? What do you stand for in these tumultuous times?
What are this summer’s eclipses activating for you? Find out by ordering April Elliott Kent’s fabulous Followed by a Moonshadow eclipse report. Wanna know what else is going on in your heavens? Order Steven Forrest’s Skylog report. If your birthday is within three months, ahead or behind you, Mary Shea’s Solar Return report will complete the picture of your year.