(All photos taken by the author in the last 48 hours while driving to the 2017 Eclipse Festival in Oregon. Click on images to expand. )
I’m not an astrologer, so I don’t have a universal meaning to assign to the total solar eclipse running through this country on August 21. I do, however, feel free, as you should, to project my own personal meaning/mythos onto it. That’s the essential position of chaos magic. Why inherit someone else’s ritual or magical system when you can spontaneously invent your own?
I did hear one astrologer say that the last solar eclipse to run across the whole country was in 1776 and that Donald Trump was born during a lunar eclipse. I’m not sure how the astrologer connected those dots, but I would ceratainly like to see them as a harbinger of doom for the Trump administration, the fall of the “Lucky Rat” currently infesting the White House.
But emerging from the shadow of the clown is not so easy because Trump personifies shadow aspects of the American psyche which will linger past his presidency and which I was even able to take photos of during the drive to the eclipse.
I Ching hexagram #36 is called “Eclipse” and it is about recognizing what is blocking your connection to the light. I would like to suggest that it may be more useful to project a personal, rather than a collective, mythology onto the eclipse. It’s hard, as an individual, to dramatically alter the collective shadow, but as Goethe said, “If you want to clean up the whole world, begin with your own doorstep.” Consider mythologizing the eclipse as a moment to intensify your efforts to emerge from personal eclipse.
What is blocking your connection to the light? What eclipses your spirit? What would allow you to emerge from your own eclipse? Most of us have at least one addictive tendency to a substance, a pattern of relationship or emotional reactivity that at least partially blocks our connection to the light. But remember that emergence, like transcendence, includes that which is emerged from or transcended. The work on the shadow is not about eliminating the shadow, but learning how to integrate and live with it in more creative and life-affirming ways.
What is blocking your connection to the light? Usually, there is some sort of negative inner script that frames life and/or yourself negatively. Negative frames are often just below the surface of consciousness and act as filters through which perceptions pass and are distorted. For example, “Life sucks and then you die. I never get my fair share. I can’t do anything right.” etc. These negative frames constrict life energy and operate as self-fulfilling prophecies.
We can easily perpetuate the eclipse by regret and feeling bad about feeling bad. Consider for a moment how many other human beings must be in similar straits right now. Pray for compassion and healing for yourself and others who are similarly afflicted. Remember that real change usually comes out of the dark night of the soul. Alchemically, one needs the descent into chaos to create new forms.
As the Dylan lyric puts it, “He not busy being born is busy dying.” The eclipse comes when your soul feels like it is busy dying. Receiving this card means it is a propitious time to get busy being born.
Resources for dealing with inner eclipse follow, but it is also possible that the eclipse is more outer. This card could indicate a time where you are in an environment that is not receptive to what you have to offer. If so, consider this text related to I Ching Hexagram #36,” Eclipse”.
Darkness reigns in the external world now,
Disengage from negative feelings and
maintain your inner light.
This is a time when darkness and inferior energies surround you. ..The only light left is that inside your own heart, and you are counseled to return to it, maintain it, and quietly nourish yourself with it.
It is in dark moments that a correct attitude is most important. If we fight against the darkness, we are swallowed by it and suffer great misfortune. If we react to the lack of visible progress with despair and negativity, we extinguish our own inner light and block the aid of the Creative. If we try to persuade others that they must return to the light, we exhaust ourselves in vain now.
In a time such as this, it is wise to adopt a stance of outer disengagement and inner perseverance. Do not focus on or interact with the negative influences around you; this only strengthens their grip on you. Step aside, yield, let go, allow people and events to pass without attachment. Direct your attention inside, to your inner light, your devotion to what is right, your conversation with the Higher Power.
Progress may be slow, but there will indeed be progress. Remember that much of the work of the Higher Power is hidden from us, and that we enable and assist it by remaining detached, accepting, and reserved in the face of negative influences.
For many in our culture, eclipse takes the form of mild to severe depression. If you are struggling with depression, consider the text of the Zap Oracle card, “Awakening from Depression.”
“Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them.”
Subclinical depression is almost the norm in our society. Many people go through their days burdened, their gaze lowered, suffering under a generalized feeling of oppression. Although it is easy to attribute much of this to fractured, alienated lives, environmental toxins and poor diet, research indicates that the primary causes are negative thought forms, often occurring just beneath conscious awareness, which frame perception negatively so that one lives in a darkened reality tunnel. For example, “Life sucks, and then you die…I never get my fair share…I can’t do anything right…” etc. The negative thought forms trigger negative emotions that in turn trigger physiological changes, and the process feeds on itself as a vicious circle. This card indicates that this is a propitious time for you or someone close to you to awaken from depression. There are many ways to go about the awakening, but the will has to be there for recovery to occur. Depression is a yin condition, associated with lowered energy and a murky wateriness. Take deep breaths, stand up straight with good posture and get going, get active, raise fire, the yang principle, by doing useful stuff! Don’t feel like it? Excellent, that is the sure sign of how well getting active will work. Start simple and pick tasks that give definite results — cleaning up your home, for example. Shift to a high vitality diet with more live and raw food. Do a fearless moral inventory and ask yourself what you will remember well on your deathbed and prioritize doing that.
Depression is often suffering that is neglected and not confronted. For this reason I prefer anguish and the dark night of the soul because these are more dynamic states capable of transformation. Confront what haunts you.
While I was driving through Eastern Oregon, I stopped to email a friend I had just visited with in Utah who has been struggling with subclinical depression for a long time. Here is what I wrote:
Just a quick intuition while driving through beautiful Eastern Oregon back country and listening to a book on the Lewis and Clarke expedition. I have a hunch that we should stop using the clinical word “depression.”Although on the greatest physical voyage of discovery of any American, Meriwether Lewis suffered from what we now call “depression” during the journey. As captain of the Corps of Discovery, he could not let it paralyze his actions or let it leak through and affect the morale of the people he was leading.In the 19th and earlier centuries, depression was called “melancholia” or melancholy. In 1621 Robert Burton published an exhaustively thorough book about the condition called The Anatomy of Melancholy (available free online as a PDF).I feel you need to make friends with your melancholy as a crucial part of both your shadow and of the human condition.Currently, you are using your melancholia to reinforce your profound misanthropy. You can reverse that by realizing how much it connects you to humanity and even the “hollow folk.” (see the Zap Oracle card, Beware the Hollow Folk.There is a Buddhist technique of prayer where you pray for release from your suffering “and for all those who are similarly afflicted.”View your melancholy as meaningful rather than meaningless suffering.Ultimately, it may prove to be heliotropic, a crucial form of spiritual pain guiding you out of eclipse and toward the light.Become a patient and careful observer of the ebb and flow of melancholy in yourself and others, monitoring its waxing and waning cycles. Learn how to live with it without becoming maddened or paralyzed by it. It may be deepening your soul.
If you are in a situation where your value is not being recognized consider the following:
Keep secret work secret. We live in a cult of confession society where people go on national television to spill out their personal lives. But consciousness work, esoteric work, is depotentiated, loses power, when you share it with those who haven’t earned access. As Aleister Crowley said, “If I tell a man something he isn’t ready to hear, it is the same as if I told him a lie.” Don’t spill your pearls before swine, save them for your spiritual allies, those that share a deep commitment to consciousness.
Often it is safer and in a variety of ways advantageous to be cloaked and to evade unnecessary attention. Deng Ming-Dao, a modern Taoist sage points out:
Useful trees are cut down. Useless ones survive. The same is true of people. The strong are conscripted. The beautiful are exploited. Those who are too plain to be noticed are the ones who survive. They are left alone and safe.
But what if we ourselves are among such plain persons? Though others may neglect us, we should not think of ourselves as being without value. We must not accept the judgment of others as the measure of our own self-worth… Thus, to be considered useless is not a reason for despair, but an opportunity. It is the chance to live without interference and to express one’s own individuality.
If your eclipse is inner (in addition to or instead of situational) the following card texts contain a whole toolbox full of field-tested techniques for emerging from inner eclipse. The first tells you how to deal with psychic entropy and the second is on how to awaken from depression.
Dealing with Psychic Entropy
Psychic or psychological entropy is a state of inner fragmentation where you feel oppressed by repetitive, negative inner thought loops. It was first written about by Carl Jung.
Could you be addicted to pain? See: Rebelling from the Pain Body Matrix
Are you unhappy about being in your body? This is the core of much neurotic torment and takes the form of dissatisfaction with looks/weight/aging/health.
Read: The Glorified Body
Having trouble finding a path of meaning and creativity in your life? Much depression is caused by a deficit of meaningfulness. Read:
The Path of the Numinous
For more on discovering the core meaning of your life and facing some of the tough existential realities of human incarnation read:
The Capsule of Intentionality… and read all parts of A Guide to the Perplexed Interdimensional Traveler If your depression is related to a devastating loss or shock, the last part of the guide, “Dealing with Shock,” will address that directly.
Worries have you down? Read: An Antidote to Worry
Feel like there’s something wrong with this entire plane of existence? Read: A Splinter in your Mind
Too much focus on the social matrix compromising everything else? See:
Confessions of a Self Aware Starship
Finally, if you’ve looked into all these other possibilities and feel that an outside force is depressing you, read the documents in the mind parasite category of the writing section or order a copy of the Mind Parasite Matrix.
Use these resources and summon your will to emerge from eclipse!
See also: Eclipse Eyewitness Report