All that you see. All that you taste. All you feel... That said, or sung rather, to the final track on Pink Floyd's Dark Side of The Moon, what was your attuning to this week's Great American Eclipse? Were you one of millions of Americans from coast to coast gazing up in wonder Monday afternoon, aided with a camera, telescope or cardboard-frame protective glasses as the moon blotted out the sun? Were you thoroughly sated, found it a bit "meh" (due to cloud cover or other occurrences) or did you skip it entirely? Personally, I found the first solar eclipse to sweep the U.S. coast to coast in nearly a century to be a bright spot in the media after many dark, disturbing news days. The Detroit Free Press reported that parents were happy to see their kids actually looking up from their phones for an extended period. "Everybody's friendly, everybody is family", said one Detroit resident about the sky spectacles' vibe. "I think it's an interesting diversion from all the other stories going on in the media."
A solar eclipse is an astronomical event that occurs when the Moon's shadow crosses the Earth's surface, briefly turning day into night for a sliver of the planet. Normally in no man's land, like out over the vast Pacific or at the Earth's poles, this was the first eclipse of the social media era to pass through such a heavily populated area, making it the most-observed and most-photographed eclipse in history. Nasa solar physicist Alex Young said the last time earthlings had a connection like this to the heavens was during man's first flight to the moon, on Apollo 8 in 1968.
Low, leaden cloud cover over Southwest Michigan all morning had me glad I didn't orchestrate any events around the happening. Tough stuff this Eclipse viewing business, especially under Michigan skies. Looking after my Mom for all of August also kept me from making any special travel plans, the path of tot darkness lying roughly six hours away in southern Illinois. Fortunately, an auspicious break in cloud cover right around Michigan's optimal viewing time of 2:27 p.m. allowed me for the snapping of a respectable photo or two. I used the pin-hole method to watch it on my pant leg, as an odd purple hue descended and my 88 year-old Mother and I took it all in.
When it comes to cosmic displays and their influence, I like to go to my Vedic Astrologer teachers and friends. Jeffrey Armstrong, a Vancouver, B.C.-based Vedic scholar, lead a special Sun Mantra morning, chanting the 108 names of the Sun as well as The Gayatri Mantra (Om Bhur Bhuvah Swah Tat-savitur Vareñyam Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi Dhiyo Yonah Prachodayãt) and other powerful chants. "Yogis say that the benefit received from chanting mantras during a lunar eclipse is 100x", said Jeffrey "But during a solar eclipse it is 1,000 times!" With that in mind (and body), I tired offering my own salutations to the Sun (Om Hrim Surayaya Namaha).
James Kelleher, an adept, California based Vedic Astrologer, had this to say about the significance of this important celestial occurrence: "The eclipse took place at 5 degrees of Leo in Magha nakshatra", and given its influence in the USA, also conjuncted Donald Trump's ascendant, meaning that it had a pronounced effect on Trump, personally, and on the US, in general, considering that, even to the mortification of many, he is the US President. "In the chart of the USA, the eclipse will take place in the 9th house (international relations) in the point opposite to the USA Moon, producing boundary issues, a heating up of conflict, difficulties with some countries receiving economic support from others, and various important geopolitical events of the non-tranquil variety.
Geopolitical drama not being anything new, four important, slow-moving planets - Rahu, Ketu, Jupiter and Saturn - are all changing signs in the next few months, meaning mammoth shifts are occurring for masses of people on earth. The news I truly loved, building on the collective good feeling of this week's heavenly sign, is that the next eclipse is set in the stars for April 8, 2024 at 3:15 p.m. - my 57th birthday almost down to the minute (born at 3:11 p.m., April 8, 1967). Traveling southwest to northeast, coming up from Mexico before arching through the upper Midwest, the sun will be 99% blocked in Detroit, just outside a path of totality running through major cities like Dallas and Austin, Indianapolis, Cleveland and just south of Toledo. Along with chants, mantras and singing Happy Birthday to me, the 2024 eclipse will also give us a chance to celebrate just a little longer, lasting an entire 3 1/2 minutes.