The Solar Eclipse of August 21st
The moon will cloak the sun today. By a celestial coincidence, the sun and moon appearing to be the same size will line up so precisely that the sun’s rays will be blocked from reaching the earth. Every couple of years, a solar eclipse wraps the planet. Today the moon’s shadow will sweep across the continental United States from Newport, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina.
The sun is our life force—an incandescent, ionized ball of plasma that nourishes life on earth everyday, all day. The sun and moon together are essential celestial clocks, providing a rhythm to the ordinary. Which is what makes today so breathtaking. For a few precious minutes, for those in the path of totality, there is no normal.
The sky darkens. The sun’s orb blackens to an other-worldly ebony. The world feels off kilter. The temperature plummets ten degrees or more. Birds fly erratically, their songs fall silent. Everything you know to be true and familiar is taken from you at that moment.
The eclipse begins as the moon takes a bite out of our nearest star, devouring more and more of the sun until only a diamond ring sparkles on the edge of the moon’s ring. When the solitaire of light disappears at the midpoint of the eclipse, spectators may safely remove protective eyeglasses until the diamond ring reappears. At this midpoint, the sun’s corona—its aura—dances with a scintillating, iridescent light show. On all other days, the sun’s corona, its ring of fire, is hidden to us. But for these brief minutes, we see the solar system—our universe—in motion in real time. With it comes ecstasy, awe, and unspeakable wonder. A rare chance to gaze directly at the spectral plasma surrounding our solar star. As it twists and contracts, time itself stands still.
Ask yourself, where does all that sunlight go? While the eclipse is disrupting our earthly ordinary, it is super-charging the moon with its fiery brilliance. The light we rely on to guide us—our conscious solar mind—will stop propelling us and instead feed the moon, our unconscious lunar mind.
While under the moon’s shadow, what will you do? Take time on this day to meditate, to make space for the awe, to smile at your neighbor. Let the celestial energies move within you. Use this day to symbolically clear stagnant areas in your life. Harness the energy with your intention. Tibetan Buddhists believe that solar eclipses multiply one’s actions 10,000 times. Kind words, good works, and laughter will ripple more bravely into your community on this day.
Tune in to our eclipse inspired playlist.
Meg B. Holden writes and makes her home in Portland, Oregon.