An eclipse is a rare phenomenon. In fact, the last total solar eclipse viewed from the contiguous United States took place on February 26, 1979 (and it’s been even longer since the eclipse was visible from coast to coast: June 8, 1918). After tomorrow’s eclipse, the U.S. won’t see another annular solar eclipse – one in which the edge of the sun remains visible as a bright ring around the moon – again until October 14, 2023. Tomorrow’s eclipse will begin on the West Coast just after 10 a.m. PT and end on the East Coast a little before 3 p.m. ET.
According to NASA, experiencing a total solar eclipse where you live happens about once every 375 years. The more than 12 million Americans who live in the narrow path of totality will be among the lucky ones to see tomorrow’s ‘Eclipse of the Century’ firsthand, though anyone in North America with clear skies should be able to see a partial or total eclipse on Monday.
For those of you who might need a little brush up on what an eclipse is (it’s been a while since middle school science class, after all), there are two types of eclipses: solar and lunar. Solar eclipses happen when the moon passes between the sun and the earth, blocking part (or all) of the sun for a period of time. Lunar eclipses happen when the moon is blacked out by moving into the shadow of the Earth. Tomorrow’s is a solar eclipse, which always occur at the same time as a New Moon. As we learned as kids, on eclipse day, it’s not safe to stare directly into the sun without special viewing glasses.
Get Ready for a Celestial Shake Up
No special glasses will be required to feel the impact of this eclipse; it will impact you whether you believe in astrology or not. Be prepared for the celestial shakeup. Astrologer Susan Miller warns, “Nobody likes change, but eclipses shake us out of our complacency and push us forward, no matter if we’re ready or not.”
Astrologers say people who may feel more strongly affected by the eclipse are those with August 21 birthdays, as well as those with Leo, Aquarius, Taurus and Scorpio zodiac signs who were born at the end of their signs, and those with Virgo, Sagittarius, Gemini and Pisces zodiac signs who were born at the start of their signs. (To learn how the eclipse will impact your astrological sign, check out these articles in Quartz and MindBodyGreen.)
This is the second eclipse in August and Astrologer Cassius Methyl of Tryptamine Astrology suggests that this month marks the turning point after a long, hard year and a half of depressed, difficult energy for everyone. In a recent article for The Mind Unleashed, Cassius says, “Astrologers theorize that an eclipse kind of solidifies an energy in the air for an extended period of time: that wherever an eclipse occurs…it aspects the other planets and stars, that energy of the eclipse’s peak is solidified in the air on Earth for some unknown period of time afterward.”
Based on this week’s astrological mix of Leo/Aquarius/Pisces, he believes this eclipse is an omen of increased empathy, increased concern for other people, increased interest in the nature of life and spirituality. Forever Conscious says, “A new frequency will be available to all of us on Earth and this will help all beings on the planet to rise up together and feel a sense of unity, oneness and wholeness.”
And since the eclipse falls during a Leo time, it’s also thought to carry an energy of confidence, leadership and play. Astrologically speaking, now is a perfect time to step confidently into the next phase of your life.
Applying the Eclipse’s Significance to Your Own Life
Stephanie Ludwig, director of spiritual wellness at Canyon Ranch, reminds Voguereaders that, “While an eclipse is certainly a scientifically verifiable event, it is up to each of us to decide what meaning and significance we will attribute to it spiritually.” Create a ritual that is meaningful to you and how you want to harness tomorrow’s energy in your spiritual practice. Here’s the ritual I have planned:
- [Morning] Journaling: Eclipses are generally times of great change and can be used to symbolically clear and cleanse stagnant areas of your life. This is a good time to work with the Universe to course correct in our lives, relationships and beliefs. The changes initiated during the eclipse will manifest in stages 6 and 18 months from now, so I’ll be journaling about a particular transformation I’d like to manifest over this timeframe.
- [Afternoon] Making Eclipse Water: Some people believe an eclipse can grant powers, wisdom and positive energy. The purpose of eclipse water is to bottle up all that energy and be able to use it for months after the event has passed. So, grab your mason jars (or another clear container) and fill them with water (tap, filtered or spring are all fine). Set them out as soon as the eclipse begins. While your water is collecting energy, set your intention. Put your water away once the eclipse is complete. I plan to drink my eclipse water on days I need extra support, making tea with it during next month’s New Moon, and using it to water my plants in lieu of a green thumb. Use it however you want – there’s no ‘wrong’ way.
- [Evening] Moon Bathing. I’ll also be pouring some of my eclipse water into a Himalayan salt foot bath to detox any stagnant energy that is no longer serving me. As mentioned above, solar eclipses always take place during a New Moon, a time when the cleansing effects are most optimized because the body’s capacity for detoxifying is at its peak. A salt bath taken at this phase of the moon is said to have a detoxifying effect similar to a three-day fast.
Other ideas you may want to consider adding to your ritual:
- Reading “Total Eclipse.” In 1982, American writer Annie Dillard published a captivating essay titled “Total Eclipse” – a description of her experience of the 1979 eclipse – in her book Teaching a Stone to Talk. This spiritual essay was published in The Atlantic in anticipation of this week’s eclipse.
- Holding a Release Ritual: Think about what you want or need to let go of in your life and release these ritually with the onset of the eclipse. What do you want or need to embrace in your life that will bring you into greater wholeness? Express these while the eclipse is receding.
- Conducting a Reset Ritual: You’ll need four white candles, your favorite crystal(s), Sage/Palo Santo (or another cleansing tool), and a pen and paper (optional). You can find the ritual instructions at Forever Conscious.
The effects of this week’s eclipse will be felt most strongly until September 7, 2017, but it will continue to work its magic until the next eclipse cycle in February 2018. In the meantime, use this calculator to find out if you’re in the path of the solar eclipse on Monday. If you’re not, NASA will be live-streaming the eclipse starting at 1pm Eastern. You can watch it here.
Please take a few minutes out of your day to experience the eclipse as it’s happening. Tap into the energies coming through the eclipse and anchor them to the world. If there was ever a time this world needs more empathy and concern for others, as Cassius says of this eclipse’s energy, it’s now. This week’s eclipse is a powerful reminder of the force of nature and the role each of us plays in bringing more healing frequencies to our planet.
“Planetary healing begins inside each person, one at a time.” Click here for more information on the Unity Meditation being held across the world during the eclipse to unify our consciousness and enlighten the energy field around the planet. A guided meditation can also be found here.