On Monday, a full solar eclipse will be dramatically visible as its path reaches across the entire United States. At its peak, the moon will line up directly in front of the sun, turning the day progressively darker until its pinnacle in the middle of our daylight hours. The path of the full eclipse will stretch from Oregon to South Carolina; the last time a full solar eclipse passed over such an enormous part of the country was in 1918. Monday’s eclipse will begin with partial obscurity around 1pm Eastern Time, with the full eclipse at about 2:40pm.
While many in the US are excitedly preparing for eclipse viewing, Vedic tradition holds that eclipses are particularly inauspicious occasions. Our modern sensibility emphasizes the novelty of the astronomical phenomenon, while many ancient traditions emphasize the energetic darkness and confusion of such a dramatic light-altering event. When the guiding light of our skies is obscured, our awareness of our inner light may falter and lose power over our minds and hearts.
As such, it is considered best to spend these liminal times in prayer, meditation, sadhana, or any quiet activity that brings your mind into a peaceful, grounded state. Eclipses are poor times to undertake new activities, enter contracts, or travel. It can be beneficial to turn to a reliable source of truth in your life – wisdom teachings, sacred scripture, or practices that keep you connected to your inherent goodness or the Divine.
Here are some other suggestions to help “digest” the dark energy of an eclipse:
- Take a bath or shower after the eclipse.
- Do not prepare or eat food during the eclipse, and fast afterwards (for as many as 12 hours, if possible).
- Dispose of any leftover food after the eclipse.
- If pregnant, it is especially recommended to stay inside and avoid looking directly at the eclipse – Vedic tradition holds that the fetus could be negatively affected.
Eclipses are also said to bring karma to fruition, so it is possible to find yourself moving through difficult, albeit necessary, challenges after an eclipse. Therefore, it is wise to prepare your mind by deepening into your own sources of guidance and strength. Immersing in the company of a supportive and sustaining community is certainly good medicine at this time, as is any mindfulness practice.
By entering the time of an eclipse with intention and humility, we can encounter any challenges that arise with the greatest chance for peace and personal growth. May all beings everywhere be free of suffering.