Eclipses hold strong spiritual energy that you’ve probably sensed yourself. Explore the spiritual meaning of these beautiful cosmic events.
Eclipse season comes twice a year. Every two weeks or so, we have a full or a new moon, which happens because the earth, sun, and moon line up, either completely obscuring the light of the moon between the sun and the earth (new moon) or fully illuminating it with the moon on the far side of the earth (full moon).
During an eclipse season, this alignment is so precise that the moon can completely obscure the sun from the earth’s perspective (as in a solar eclipse), or the earth’s shadow can precisely block the sun’s illumination on the moon (as in a lunar eclipse). This happens because of a fascinating cosmic coincidence: While the sun is about 400 times larger than the moon, it’s also about 400 times farther away, which means the two orbs appear to be the same size in the sky, creating this lovely shadow dance. This precise alignment lasts about 35 days, and is known as eclipse season.
How Eclipses Create Big Feelings
Eclipses tend to supercharge the energies of the full or new moon. During any full or new moon, the alignment of the earth, moon, and sun creates an extra gravitational pull. Think of the earth as a watery orb being pulled to the right and the left by the gravity of the sun and the moon. It turns slightly ovoid with water swelling to the sides. This is the effect that pulls on the tides, creating what’s known as spring tides. During a half moon, the moon is perpendicular to the earth in relation to the sun, so the orb of the watery earth is more spherical, creating the gentler tides known as neap tides.
Eclipses amplify this effect, pulling strongly on the waters of the earth and, theoretically, the waters in our bodies. Water is the element of emotions, so it’s common for many of us to feel things more deeply around this time.
Eclipses: A Time of Letting Go
The energy of a full moon is about completion, clearing, and letting go. It can also be a time of heightened emotions, disturbed sleep, and intense dreams. A lunar eclipse can only happen on a full moon, when the shadow of the earth completely covers the moon, creating an effect that turns the moon red. (Lunar eclipses are also sometimes called blood moons.)
One of the important themes of a full moon is the idea that something that is often in the dark is fully illuminated. During a lunar eclipse, the bright full moon is obscured by the shadow of the earth, but a new light appears, which is essentially the refracted light of the sun around the earth, creating a sunset-like effect.
Solar eclipses are just as common as lunar eclipses, but totality is quite rare to witness, as it’s only visible in one place on earth at a time. Solar eclipse energy brings extra power to the reflective, introverted mood of a new moon. A solar eclipse takes that quiet power and silences the biggest source of light and energy we experience in the sky.
What to Do During an Eclipse
While the powers are big during these times, many magical traditions insist on rest during an eclipse. This may be a holdover from how traditional societies must have seen the eclipses: as a terrifying omen. The solar eclipses, especially, would have been a time when the sun simply disappeared in the middle of the day, and many traditional societies saw this as a sign of great evil to come.
Eclipses are not evil; they are beautiful and powerful. If you are sensitive to the movements of the moon and the sun, you will likely feel this power around this time. Even without “doing” anything in particular, eclipses tend to be times of major transformation. We can’t help but become aware of the truths within ourselves that are normally hidden in the dark.
Eclipses can help nudge us onto the right path, especially if we’ve wandered. However this year’s eclipses land for you, take some time out to pay attention to the sky, as well as to your own heart.
Learn more about tapping into the power of the moon.