Your Guide to Eclipses: Blessings & Breakthroughs
Like planetary retrogrades and having to tell Netflix yes, in fact, you are still watching, Eclipses happen so frequently that if we figure out healthy, practical, and even optimistic ways to work them, they can ultimately be times of positive change. Even if they bring up difficulties and feel painful, remembering that this too shall pass, so we might as well be aware and conscious during it, can help us. Remember something you achieved that was really important to you? You might have had to break up with someone, move, stand up for yourself, switch a bad habit, or any number of other painful situations in order to get to that higher ground. This is how Eclipses sometimes work, by highlighting what isn't.
Unfortunately, because of the patriarchy, superstition, and ancient astrology, Eclipses have gotten kind of a bad rap (Gentle reader, I implore you to not listen to anyone who uses fear tactics and superstition as part of their story). In ancient times, folks would look to Eclipses to explain famine, deaths, and war. Blaming nature was a way to explain life's events. Eclipses were believed to coincide with the deaths of important leaders and rulers, like Popes and Kings. Even if the deaths of the ruler took place weeks, months, or years after the Eclipse. Other rulers would actually use Eclipses—once they could figure out when they were happening—to manipulate the masses. (You can google Christopher Columbus; he did this in the early 1500's to the Arawak Indians, the Indigenous people of Jamaica.)
Because in a lot of cultures, the Moon was "bad" (aka wild and femme and magical and feminine), the Moon doing strange things—like covering up the sun, or appearing red—was a "bad omen." Of course, looking at the sun during an Eclipse would lead to eye injuries, and anyone who has seen a Blood Red Moon during a Lunar Eclipse knows how visually striking, or even ominous, it appears. Sadly, fear-based thinking has stuck. Even though it is rooted in nothing except the patriarchy.
Traditionally, I've noticed that both noticeable external and internal changes happen around Eclipses. People move. Or, people have realizations that lead to some sort of movement. There are break ups, break downs, and breakthroughs. Our water—our emotions, our intuition, our inner motivations, our needs—can get stirred or shaken up around this time. Be gentle with yourself, and others.
In my book The Moon Book, I talk about reframing Eclipses as being blessings, because if we work with them, they can lead to important, heart expanding breakthroughs.
Because what is an Eclipse exactly? For a Solar Eclipse, the Moon passes in front of the sun in such a way that it is blocked out—there is shadow there, covering our consciousness. The lunar astrologer Dane Rudyar believed that at a Solar Eclipse, the present is obscured by the past. This allows ourselves to see something important from our past clearly, to confront it, in order to heal and move on.
I believe that is an interesting theory, and would extend this idea around our shadows coming up to the light. We can confront them, we can treat them differently, in order to reprogram and heal. Parts of our ego that have been keeping us small, keeping our patterns the same, are up for dissolution. We must first confront our shadows, which is painful. We then must change our behavior, our thought patterns, and how we relate to ourselves—which is harder!
There is another school of thought around Eclipses, which I also agree with: Eclipse energy is amplified energy. Emotions, behaviors, themes, and patterns are amplified. For some of this, Eclipse season is a beautiful time. For others, what is most frustrating about one or more aspects of our lives comes up strong. It may become too painful to ignore. Decisions are made.
Ancient Tibetan Buddhism thought around Eclipses is that what we do at them is amplified times 1,000. They suggested spending time doing acts of loving kindness for others, as well as spending concentrated time on activities that supported intuitive and spiritual growth.
Eclipse energy is amplified energy that we can use to envision expansion around our consciousness, behavior, and emotional patterns. For some of us, this is a boost, a portal into another way of being. Our visions start to coalesce into actions. We start to make different choices.
Eclipse could whisper to you: stay soft enough to trust. Stay brave enough to keep going. Stay centered enough to receive the blessings that come when you reach up for your dreams. Stay grounded enough to remember how beautiful you are.
Another favorite way to work with Eclipse energy is to facilitate profound transformation. This could be the beginning of an important process or practice for you.
Transformation doesn't happen overnight.
Transformation happens in the small, imperceptible moments.
You pause, and decide to refrain from snapping at a loved one.
You center, and decide to come back to yourself, through a walk, a stretch, a good cry: instead of numbing out on the screen or with another unfulfilling coping mechanism.
Transformation happens when you choose to move towards what you love, day after day, in small and private and large and bold ways, until the moment comes when you've realized you are getting rewarded.
Nothing changes if we don't change.