"Once you’ve seen one eclipse, you’ve seen them all,” I silently grumbled while sifting through piles of paper for my next book on the Yoga Sutras.
As I got to the verse in Chapter III that is about the solar entrance in the body that reveals the entire cosmos, the TV popped on showing the first appearance of the eclipse in Oregon. I stopped writing and sat stunned as the shadow of the moon crossed ever so gently over the burning fierceness of the sun. It was as if the moon was a powerful and slow moving goddess who in that moment of time aligned with her masculine counterpart in a magnetic field of love.
I began to cry with the beauty and sacredness of the moment. All I could say was, "I didn't know...I didn't know!" I marveled at all those who did know and sought the path of totality to witness this historic event in person.
As I watched the image, I could see the unending light still expanding its corona or aura beyond the dark shadow of the moon. The silvery light called Baily’s beads bubbled in the margins around the perimeter like universal pearls. This truly was a sacred moment in time. The moon in yoga is equated with the feminine energy, which at this moment was shielding the burning fierceness of the sun like a beautiful goddess bringing a healing balm to this planet.
The sky darkened and the atmosphere grew suddenly colder, according to my daughter Mira who was among the 30,000 people who gathered at a festival in Oregon. For this one moment in the cosmos, the sun and moon met as equals, showering their grace and blessings on all beings not just of this country but also of the world. Mira was very moved by this event and wrote a magnificent article on her experience. I asked Mira to share her powerful insights, which follow here:
The solar eclipse that rippled through the U.S. in its path of ‘totality’ has been a powerful shift for the earth and humanity, something I, along with many others have felt deeply. I’d like to share some of my reflections and experiences regarding this potent time in history.
Astrologically speaking, the eclipse is a time that is considered tricky and dangerous. It is recommended not to look at the eclipse, but hide inside and meditate, do mantra and pray. It is a time when the veils between realms become thin, when our major luminary — the light of the sun — is occluded and we are cast into darkness. It is a time when we are more vulnerable to spirits and entities. Because of that thin veil, it is a potent time also for prayer and intention, which can be planted in a very open window. Mantra, prayer and intention are magnified 100-fold.
As I drove north from California with a friend towards the path of totality days before the eclipse to join the Oregon Eclipse Festival, which attracted around 30,000 people, we entered a foreboding picture. From all sides were warnings of the worst traffic jam in U.S. history, gas stations running out of gas, and stores running out of food and water. The governor of Oregon declared a state of emergency. One person told us to hide the back-up emergency gas can we would need if we got stuck idling on the highway for 12 hours, because someone might steal it. On top of that, my Ayurveda friends were warning of the astrological “danger.” My friend asked incredulously, “Are you going to look at it???” At that moment, I really didn’t know. I thought I might hide in my tent at the moment of the eclipse, which would be ironic considering I would probably be the only person to make the journey, fight the traffic, and not even look at it!
When the moment came, my friend and I gathered at the sun temple with the hoards of people gathering together with the First Nation’s people who were initiating a space of ceremony. We found a separate space under a tree to create an altar and prepare for mantra. We chanted the Maha Mrityunjaya 108 times, through the entire window of the eclipse. This is one of the most healing mantras to assist times of transition — like birth and death — and asks that we may detach from the vine effortlessly like a cucumber that has ripened and is ready to let go. At the moment of total eclipse, an intensity dropped in. It got cold, and an eerie silver light cast upon the earth. My friend started crying and it felt like together, we were carrying a deep wound of earth and humanity, and seeing it through a birth canal until we would emerge back into the light.
I looked the eclipse right in the face and it was one of the most powerful moments of my life, truly life-changing. To look such a cosmic event full in the face, to cast aside the fear and doubt and step fully into that moment of potency, felt like stepping through a window into a place of power.
I am an eclipse baby, born a couple hours from a full moon lunar eclipse, which is considered inauspicious in astrology. Since this solar eclipse, I am learning and seeing the power of the eclipse energy, not as something to fear and avoid, but a potent power that can be utilized for healing. My whole life has been a journey of moving into the dark and emerging back into the light, which has given me a strength and comfort in those dark places and transitional moments of time and space most people seek to avoid.
In Sanskrit we call these points of transition sandhis, which literally means joint, like dawn and dusk — the joint between night and day, the change of seasons, or transitional phases of life. In the space of sandhi, vata (air and ether element) is increased and it is considered a time we are vulnerable and need protection. The eclipse is a major sandhi. This is a time where distortion can be magnified, but it has a power in it too.
Humanity, especially this year is moving through a sandhi and what has become resoundingly clear to me in this eclipse window is the potency of this moment in time for healing wounds of earth and humanity, for past and future. In the weeks following the eclipse, I feel I’ve been half in this world and half in a space of magic with messages pouring in from the ethers, from plants, from animals and all pointing to the same thing. Fellow awake souls are hearing the call to gather and reconnect, moving through deep spaces of change in their own lives to step fully into who they are. Even waiting in line for the bathroom at a co-op in Mount Shasta I start talking with the stranger behind me about the major changes blossoming in her life and the messages coming from others about her path in this life. Everywhere I go I feel I recognize people, as if we’ve known each other before and are gathering again.
This is the message: It is time to SHINE, to cut all the blocks and fears that keep you from your true expression on planet earth, it is time NOW to be who you truly are and DO what you came to planet earth to do. The earth URGES us just to show up and be present to each other and to opportunities for healing divisions. It is a time for reconciliation with past wounds, we always wound each other so we can heal and grow and it’s time to rise above the details of the drama and see it from the buddhi mind — in its ‘path of totality’ where we can give thanks for the opportunities to learn and grow and let go of the pain which keeps us locked in contraction. It is time to dream the possibility of the best possible outcome and show up as the best version of yourself and hold the best possible expression of others.
It’s also a time to speak truth. Digest the pain within yourself first to have the most powerful expression — anger and bitterness will weaken your power and the words will not land. When you can speak truth from a higher place of love and wisdom — it will move mountains of change. It is time to heal the wounds of masculine and feminine — as the sun and moon have united together. It is a time to heal wounds of past lovers and relations — by doing this on the individual level it will ripple into the healing of the universal masculine and feminine.
It is a time to dissolve masks and the roles of what we are to each other, to see each other in that stark moment of naked truth and support each other from that space — and equally important to assume the mask and role again. It is okay to play with masks of selves as long as we see it for what it is and remain connected to the greater truth of who we are.
Gathering at the Oregon Eclipse Festival with 30,000 people has restored my faith in humanity. You would think you would see some of the worst of humanity arise when that many people gather but everywhere I looked people were kind, clean, considerate and respectful of each other and the earth. It’s not perfect Utopia. I know there were altercations I didn’t witness, but for those numbers of people, I expected worse. I was continually impressed with the magnitude of human creativity in art, performance, music, crafts and offerings. May this be a prelude to the potential of how we can grow together as our population increases.
The eclipse was first visible in Oregon — all those people gathered in one place, led by the First Nations people in ceremony — planting seeds of intention and prayers in a potent time and space to ripple across the U.S. — in hopes of imprinting upon this country (thus affecting the world) the potential of how humans can come together in respect and consciousness.
This is bigger than you and me and the work we do together with each other, the earth and the animals, and NOW has the power to heal wounds of humanity, our ancestors and the future generations. Time and space has come to a point within this eclipse window. Be the best of who you are, shine bright and go forth with the WHOLE of your Self – all expressions finding integration within you to do the work you came here to planet Earth to do.
Photo Credit: Gary Gilbert, The Seattle Times, Madras, Oregon