What exactly do solar eclipses symbolize? How should we navigate ourselves through the window of an eclipse?
* Let’s start by recalling that the Sun has traditionally been associated with ambition and purpose. The Sun is a symbol that brings unity, coherency, clarity, light, inspiration, and direction. We say this because the Sun’s path is the unifying symbol in astrology. The zodiac is defined by the path of the Sun, and all the planets orbit around the Sun (from our vantage point they move above or below the Sun by latitude relative to the ecliptic).
* The Sun’s face remains constant, and the light of all the other planets is dependent upon the Sun and its position, whether it is day or night, etc.
* The Sun is therefore related to what is ideal, fixed, relatively permanent, and unchanging. Materially, we say the Sun is related to power, to kings and queens, to powerful or famous people, to rulership and governance, to great knowledge or mastery, and so forth. Spiritually, astrologers have compared the Sun to the knowledge of true forms, to spiritual ascension, to divinity, and to spiritual enlightenment, self-realization, and wisdom.
* Each of us is here, living the material, temporary lives we are here to live, largely forgetful that we are eternal, spiritual beings who have never been born and will never die. Each chapter in our lives, each experience, could be said to serve two basic purposes. One, experience serves our desire for experience, which is rooted in the wish to find bliss and happiness in this material world. This journey is doomed to fail because of the nature of experience in time and space is fundamentally impermanent. The second basic purpose that experience serves is to offer us opportunities to recall our nature as divine, spiritual beings.
* The Sun in our birth charts is one very important symbol that we read in order to understand both a person’s material/worldly desires for certain kinds of experiences (like the major plot line in a movie or novel), as well as the path by means of which self-realization and spiritual enlightenment may occur.
* When the Sun is eclipsed, it literally means that darkness falls across the Sun at the time of a new solar/lunar cycle. You could also think of it as the Moon covering the Sun.
* The Moon is the swiftest of the astrological planets, always changing, always moving, waxing and then waning. In contrast to the symbolism of the Sun, the Moon has traditionally been more closely related to the realm of impermanence. The Moon is the banner bearer for the realm of things that come to be and pass away. This realm “reflects” the divine and eternal, just as the light of the Moon reflects the Sun. We study the Moon in the birth chart as a part of the study of our inborn psychological disposition, family karma, life circumstances, and many of those things we do not feel as though we have as much “conscious” control over.
* So when the Moon or when darkness eclipses the light of the Sun, we tend to get any of the following general meanings:
* My sense of ambition and purpose in general or in some particular area of my life is completely changing.
* Circumstances beyond my control are shifting my focus from worldly to spiritual truths.
* My material ambitions, gains, health, accomplishments, possessions, are being lost, harmed, or are changing significantly as circumstances surrounding these things are changing, sometimes in what feels like highly “fated” situations.
* I am awakening to what really matters, to the difference between material and spiritual pursuits, pastimes, or pleasure.
* Something must end, or be lost, in order for a new beginning to take shape.
* Leaders, kings, rulers, and powerful people are eclipsed, removed, empowered and disempowered, etc. Dynasties change.
* Oaths, promises, or commitments to something higher are kept and/or discarded, made or broken, completed or abandoned.
* Our vision changes. We stop looking at something and start seeing something. We move to a deeper understanding of something invisible that lies beneath the superficial appearance.
As we move through life, powerful eclipses like the ones we’ve seen this month always reveal to us the super structures of our karma. If we study what happens during eclipses, what almost happens, what themes become extreme or extra intense for a period of time, we come into contact with some of the core spiritual “curriculum” of our lifetime. If we heed the message and use our freedom to transform and elevate our consciousness, real transformation within the superstructures of our karma can take place. Eclipses are extremely powerful opportunities, but they almost always require spiritual courage. They require holding the tension of opposites and allowing ourselves to feel the burn of that tension until something entirely unexpected is born in the fire of our concentration…”I will stay with this complexity and with this tension until it blesses me.”
There are many people calling this the great American eclipse…many people traveling to “see it,” and purchasing special glasses. This is good. We should be happy that people are excited about a celestial event steeped in thousands of years of astrological lore, especially since it is happening in the midst of what may be some seriously pivotal political events in the USA. This eclipse could literally be part of waking millions of people, even if just in some small moments, to the remembrance of spiritual truth, of karma, and of destiny.
At the same time, let’s remember that the real eclipse is happening in our lives, in our minds, in our hearts, in our relationships and families, in our homes, in our children, in our love, in our friendships, in our society, in our neighborhoods. And let’s remember that the real pilgrimage is the choice to love, which often takes us across 1,000 miles of distance, distance kept cold in the heart, in an instant. And let’s not forget that the real glasses we purchase is the way we spend our time and the investment of our mind and consciousness, each day, looking beyond the material appearance of things, allowing our worldly desires and attachments to be eclipsed, day in and day out, moment by moment, by the desire for divine love, which is free and open, open and free, unchanging but endlessly personal.
Prayer: Show us to see the real eclipse. Show us where to find the real glasses.