It was a day like any other. The sun was shinning and the thermometer was already marking 33 °C. Then, right out of nothing, the temperature drops. The light dims and everything became darker. The birds started chipping. And just in the floor below, the students started making noise. ‘The Sun is being eaten’ was the common thought. They all knew better, mind you, but the suggestion brought by what they were seeing was just that appealing. Images speak louder, after all.
Above, immersed in work, I noticed only the sudden lack of brightness and thanked the gods for that small relief from the hardships of tropical weather. And the birds, that were chipping as if the sun was coming down. All of this lasted for 15 minutes or so. Then the light came back — strong and sharp as ever — the birds quieted down and so did the students. And I continued with my routines.
This happened last year, while I was in East Timor, a small country between Indonesia and Australia. It was the second time I ever experienced a solar eclipse. East Timor didn’t have the privilege to be on the area where the full phenomenon was observable. We were close to it, with the solar disk being being covered in about 75% of its diameter. For those kids, though, it was still enough to cause a commotion.
As today’s the day of the next Total Solar eclipse, I can’t stop feeling a little apprehensive, since this particular eclipse is happening in Leo, which happens to be my solar sign. And well, having the ruler of your sign eclipsed in that particular sign, even if only for a few hours, is not something that looks very promising.
A day without night, a night without day
Astrology aside, I’ve come to consider total Solar eclipses as special events: as the Moon becomes the Sun, day and night cease to be separate entities, to become something else entirely.After all, there is no night, for the Sun is still high above the horizon; and there is no day, for darkness has fallen, and all it carries (good and bad) is again made tangible.
What, for me, seems most striking in Solar eclipses is exactly that: the rise from duality. For a brief moments, everything is laid bare in front of us and we can get a glimpse into something bigger than what we usually are.
I’m reminded of that Michelle Pfeiffer movie, Ladyhawke, where a couple was cursed to never be together again, he, by turning into a wolf by night; she, by turning into a hawk by day. They could see each other only on those brief moments when the night was turning into day and the day into night. The curse could only be lifted when they both, together as a couple, confront their bewitcher. Which, as you can imagine, ended up happening during a Solar eclipse.
Solar eclipses are then, first and foremost, a call into awareness. A call to notice and to see how we connect with everything around us. Are we attached to the world of forms and shapes that is the world of light? Or do we prefer the intangible world of emotions, always stirring in some dark place? Do we remain dependent of structure or, on the other hand, everything is fluid and malleable?
Here in Portugal, this eclipse will still be visible, but just barely, with only a 0.26 magnitude. This means that I can still see some overlapping between the Sun and the Moon disks, but that will be it. No dimness of light; no birds chipping; no wind blowing, nothing. It will still be there. And everything becomes subtler. Much subtler, in fact; the work more internal then external.
What can I do to make the best of this Solar Eclipse?
This starts off well, I see. The Sun and the Moon are again called to celebrate their union. This will cause everything to overflow, as the light usually directed to others turns inwards, and I am asked to act as a witness to the event.
The armor of the King of Coins strikes me as significant. I see someone who wants to be shielded as much as possible, with his helmet and metal pieces and big shield raised high. And yet, he still peeps through the fringes at what is happening. Or maybe, at what is coming next. There’s shielding, but this King still wants to interact with the outside world. He looks like he is waiting for something. I pull an extra card and get the Judgement. Ah… things are transitioning. It is time for the old to give place to the new. This is to happen now, while the sky is open and the fires are stirring below.
‘Do you like what you see?’, the cards seem to ask. ‘Are you ready to move along?’
The thing to do, then, is to just be bold and fearless; to embrace what is happening. And to step forward. I like it how the child in the Judgement card mimics the human figure in the Fool. You let her manifest and you start walking. Just like that. The immersive sensorial experience might be off, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t take notice of what is happening.
The thing not to do, is to remain encased and shut down all that’s around me. That King was heavily protected. But when I get to see the Queen of Cups, it’s as if this armor turns into a cocoon, encasing him. He becomes immobilized, incapable of giving a single step more and remains there, at the entrance of this new stage.
At the time of this writing, the eclipse is already happening. But here in Portugal, the show starts later, giving me just enough time to get ready and witness the door opening slightly.
Which is what I’m about to do just now…