Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to The Eclipse to End All Eclipses. Rarely in my lifetime has so much attention been focused on a single celestial event. Mind you, I’m a big eclipse fan; as many of you know, I created a personal eclipse report that I’ve sold for more than two decades. And as the inexorable drumbeat of media has intensified over the last month, so has the demand for these reports.
But over the past few days, even as lines of eclipse-seeking tourists clog the highways of Oregon and social media nearly disintegrates under the weight of eclipse-related posts, the report orders have slowed a bit. One night, our electrical power was abruptly “eclipsed” for five hours. And in a development that, to my superstitious mind, seems somehow related, even our hot and humid August weather has cooled.
As we approach the threshold of the big event, it’s as though the Sun’s power is already dimming. And as the tingling, hair-raising suspense of the eclipse intensifies, maybe it’s time to turn inward, where a darkened sanctuary defies August’s beckoning sunniness.
This Solar Eclipse takes place in Leo, the sign in which self-hood struggles to be fully realized. The Leo self sings, dances, paints, delivers monologues; creation and performance are how it discovers who and what it is, and what it wants to become. When the authentic Leo self is given free rein, it eventually finds its audience. But while validation of an audience is intoxicating, it’s also dangerous. If we begin to spend more time performing for an audience than immersed in the joy of creation, too much time begging for attention and too little absorbed in happy, creative reverie, we lose the connection to our internal, uninterruptible power source.
In all the talk about this eclipse, the joy and creative self-expression that are Leo’s birthright have been conspicuously absent. I realize speaking about joy seems trivial, even sacrilegious, in the face of horrifying displays of racism and threats of nuclear war, and that it’s no substitute for activism. But in celebrating joy and sacred self-hood, we automatically reject the horrors of hatred and warped pride, and affirm the very happiest reasons for living.
Love is not a cure for all that ails us, but it’s the right inspiration for the fight.
When we create, we’re active, engaged, and awake. The first thing I notice during a power cut is how much I rely on entertainment created by others, instead of turning instinctively to making my own creative mischief. How I miss my Netflix and email and Facebook, even though I complain about how they suck too many hours from my days!
But gradually, I surrender to the darkness. I wander through the house lighting candles. I try not to mind that I neglected to charge my phone earlier in the day. I enjoy the challenge of unpacking the dishwasher in the dark. I chat with my husband and pet the cats. I think about something I’m writing and perhaps gain a new perspective on it.
I’ll admit, it’s a relief when the lights come back on and normalcy returns. But part of me feels a bit melancholy, too, as though a soulful conversation has ended too soon. Like a pilgrim in the path of totality after four minutes of magical, eclipsed solar darkness, or even our nightly sleeping selves, exploring the hidden realms of our dreams, we can be changed by darkness.
Power that comes from outside of us is something we take for granted—relying on it in ways we don’t even notice, like the father we didn’t know was a source of strength until he’d gone away, or fearing it, as the bared teeth and saber-rattling of maddened despots. But when the lights go out at the Leo Solar Eclipse, we get the chance to reconnect with the solar god within ourselves, to reclaim the throne as monarchs of our own sacred realms.
This eclipse symbolizes something vitally important, particularly to the United States, where it’s visible over a large swath of the troubled and divided nation. In recent days, the news has turned uglier than ever and the tone of discourse verges on hysterical. It’s as though the Sun itself is resisting its coming eclipse by doubling-down on the heat and ferocity of ego, swagger, and rage.
But the eclipse is coming. And as we draw closer to the quiet holiness of the eclipse moment, something sweet, serious, and profoundly heartfelt is trying to emerge. Make room for it. Light a candle, and offer a little prayer. Shut out the chaos for awhile, and tune into your own frequency. All is well in your own kingdom. Decide what you will create there.
© 2017 April Elliott Kent