Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wowed by the Eclipse

From the the Associated Press story about yesterday's eclipse:

Chinese launched fireworks and danced in Shanghai. On a remote Japanese island, bewildered cattle went to their feeding troughs thinking night had fallen. And in India, a woman was crushed as thousands of viewers crowded the banks of the Ganges for a glimpse.

Eclipses are a big deal even now in our post-modern age in which the tendency (in my culture anyway) is to reduce the event to nothing more than a chance to study the sun's corona. For heaven's sake. We scientific-minded folks love to take all the fun and mystery out of everything, don't we?

A German friend wrote an amazing piece (a number of years ago) about her experience of an eclipse. She gathered with others at a park somewhere in northern Germany where people picnicked and chatted until the moment of totality when everything got quiet including the birds, including the small children. No one moved a muscle, the breeze died down. She said everything just stopped. When the light returned, people shed tears. It was involuntary, perhaps (the Germans are stoic people), but at least physiologically, those who witnessed this amazing event felt its power. An eclipse is a lot more than a chance to study the sun's corona. Please.

Isn't it miraculous that the moon's orbit places it at the perfect distance from the earth, so that during an eclipse it covers only and exactly the face of the sun? I find that simple fact amazing. Miraculous, too, is that yesterday's eclipse occured just as the sun was transiting from the sign of Cancer (that is ruled by the moon) to the sign of Leo (that is ruled by the sun).

Don't ask me what it means; I have no idea. But I love any big powerful celestial event, don't you? Oh yeah!

The pics on the Associated Press story are GREAT ... a Sadhu wearing eclipse glasses, a Japanese seal wearing sunglasses, a monk watching through a telescope, a crowd on the shore of the Ganges, etc. Very cool.


Elizabeth said...

Loved the anecdote about the Germans at the eclipse.
your second photo today is enchanting.

Joanne said...

With all the moon talk this week, I would love to see astronauts return there soon, with the vision and knowledge forty years of time has given us.

sciencegirl said...

There is something truly special about a solar eclipse. I didn't believe it until I saw one, finally, with my own eyes, on a French hillside covered with people in heavy sunglasses. Pictures are pretty, but being there is WOW.

Lynne said...


not the eclipse, although they are cool. I remember watching one in Maine when I was a child.

No ...

the WOWs are for those fantastic pics!!!!! The last one, a bird bath? with a fallen blossom and some zen like pebbles on the bottom, plus the reflection of leaves?? Is this what I am seeing?

WOW ... love these!

ellen abbott said...

I always watch every eclipse that I am lucky enough to be in the viewing area for. They are mystical.

Your second photo Reya is awesome, beautiful.

My word verification...sunthot.

lakeviewer said...

What a delightful post! Not only you are a thoughtful writer, you are a generous friend too, dropping in to visit and leave comments. Thanks. I appreciate your visits very much.

Steve said...

That bottom pic is really astonishing. :)

I've never seen a solar eclipse, but I have seen a lunar one. Either way, it's a pretty amazing event.

steven said...

reya you're so right that it's about so much more than studying the sun's corona! it's a physical emotional spiritual experience for all living things.
i love that last picture - sky to leaf reflections to petals to water to pebbles to stone and tiny intimations of houses and trees tucked in grey scale off around the edges. ooooh man i love that!!! have a peaceful day. steven

Reya Mellicker said...

Yes, Lynne, a birdbath with a fallen hibiscus and some stones. Thank you!

Cynthia said...

Yes, yesterday was strange. I got news from a long lost high school friend, a colleague died, and I felt stirred up. I was nauseous much of the day,too, but not unbearably so.) I didn't know about the eclipse except some bloggers (you?) mentioned it. I wasn't watching TV. We had a bad storm and our power went out for a few hours. I read much of the day...I don't know what the eclipse means, but I do think we feel nature's movements in our bodies. <3

Barry said...

I'm certain the eclipse was almost as awesome as your photograph of the birdbath!

And that is giving a lot of credit to the eclipse!

Ronda Laveen said...

Not for hundreds of years will we see an eclipse like this again. I was so hoping it would occur in the west so we could witness.

My dad was a photograger. When I was a kid, I remember him making us these little viewers for the solar eclises with pieces of film. Cool.

So are the pics.

Nancy said...

I think it is amazing. The cows thought it was time to go home for supper. Wow. Can you imagine what ancient peoples thought when that happened?

Your second picture is really cool.

Dan Gurney said...

The bottom photo is arresting.

It's hard to know what's so powerful about it. Maybe it's the inclusion of the five elements: earth (stones); water; fire (the sun behind the leaves); air (the hibiscus blossom's implied scent); and space.

But my eye keeps getting caught by the silhouetted figure of an ethereal woman standing in a skirt with her arms raised ecstatically above her lofty head. She's admiring the eclipse.

See her? She's along the north-northeastern edge of the blossom standing on the western edge of the picture, and she is stretching her arms up towards the blue sky.

Among many other things, solar eclipses are the moon's way of reminding us of her many, vast, and deep powers. We tend to forget.

willow said...

One lunar eclipse that stands out in my memory is back in 1991. We turned the lights out in the house so we could get a better view outside. I went to open the door to the patio, not realizing my youngest son, who was four, was in front of me in the dark. I pulled open the door and hit him right in the face, poor buddy. He was so excited to see the event, that he didn't even cry. But the next morning had a huge long bruise on his forehead. :(

Rebecca Clayton said...

I think calling it "a chance to study the sun's corolla" is just a way of trying to make their excitement seem more grown-up, grant-worthy, and duty-driven. The sun's corolla is totally amazing, after all.

Did you know that when a flower's petals are fused into a tube, like azaleas and rododendrons, that the structure is called a "corolla?" Your photos are truly beautiful, and (hollyhock? Mallow?) are not quite tubes, but definitely corolla-shaped. Cool connection!

Reya Mellicker said...

Rebecca, no I didn't know. Very cool.
Willow, oh my. Don't know whether to think of your story as sad or funny. I'm leaning toward funny. Is that OK?

Dan? I'm going to have to try to see her. Wow.

Tom said...

I must be living in a cave...didn't know about an eclipse! Love the flower shots; with the rain lately the flowers are getting their fill.

Margaret Gosden said...

That is a most astonishing take on the eclipse, not a word about doom and gloom, just one fantastic bloom to celebrate the occasion. I had a feeling you would come up with something good, and the second photo a study in elemental phenomena. Thank you!

Washington Cube said...

I did see a total eclipse once. My father worked at NASA and brought home this welder's mask that had space glass in it that they used to protect eyes in viewing the sun in outer space...pretty heady, yes? Some friends and I went into a field in the woods with the hoodoo yoodoo music going, trading the mask back and forth so we could look. I can attest: The birds stop singing when it happens. Everything gets VERY quiet.

and my word verification is "diable." What is up with THAT?

karen said...

Lovely post, and pictures as ever! We experienced the total eclipse in 2002, in the middle of the African bush - it was one of the weirdest, most amazing feelings I have ever experienced. The behaviour of the birds and insects was one thing, but something affected us deeply in an inexplicable way, too. I can understand the tears from those stoic Germans, indeed!

Barbara Martin said...

I knew about the eclipse at the first of the year as I follow astrology. Each of the eclipses come in pairs at specific times of the year to make changes into a person's life to get them out of ruts they feel comfortable with. For me, being a Leo, the first eclipse was lunar [7JULY]: the issues I need to work on are work related matters, $ and pets; and the second eclipse was solar [21 JULY]: those issues for me being a new path, foreign lifestyle and more meditation. Ten years ago I had a similar message and scoffed at it, only to find in a couple of months I was working in England and becoming more intuitive than I had previously in my life. So, now I wait and see what messages I get to move forward before I'm pushed into it. The effects of an eclipse can be felt up to a month before or after, sometimes even three months.

There are changes afoot for every astrological sign and the cosmos. We are entering into a new stage that will reveal many new things.

I remember seeing a partial eclipse in Alberta in the late 1970s and the vibrations in the air felt wierd as the sky darkened. I encountered the same feelings in England the summer of 1999 when I returned in a month to work there.