First some cool background: it's said by mystically inclined folks that eclipses magnify and increase the power of the full and new moons, that blocking out the light from either also opens a flow of raw celestial sun or moon energy to be received by us. Science, of course, is dubious on whether eclipses have noticeable physical effects, but it has been observed that whales and dolphins and many birds change their behavior a few moments before a solar eclipse. Whales swim to the surface, hang out through the eclipse and then dive a few moments after it's over. Water birds stop foraging before the solar eclipse. Animals lie down to sleep or roost. According to one observer, the Amazon jungle goes quiet during a solar eclipse -a fairly amazing thing, since the jungle is never quiet. Because humans are part of nature, and because eclipses stir us emotionally and imaginatively, it's obvious that eclipses have observable effects on earth.
So, how can we swim to the surface and use this open portal?
Well, first, there's another bit of background: the Celtic shamanic angle. Besides the eclipses, we are at the time on the medicine wheel known in the Celtic world as Lughnasadh (LOO-nuh-suh) – the midpoint between the summer solstice and the autumn equinox. It's a major spoke on the wheel of the year and is called the time of the first fruits, when the harvest begins to come in. If you feel the revelry of summer and the harvest, and at the same time, feel that gnawing sense of autumn beginning to show its presence - that slight feeling (or growing panic) that summer is beginning to end that’s a Lughnasadh feeling.
Here are a few easy personal ceremonies you can do at this time:
The simplest thing is to merely take some time to imagine the graceful flow of our solar system - visualize the the orbiting planets, each spinning in their own way. Revel in the wonder - the immense distances between our planets and yet the tiny size of our solar system in the big picture.
First, before any prayer or meditation work like the below, remember your protection. Say or think: "I am surrounded by Spirit's protection" and really take a moment to feel it. Imagine or visualize that protection any way that works for you.
Sit quietly, imagine that open portal, and ask Spirit to pour down "the new song that is good for me" into the top of your head. That's a sentence full of mythic language, so explore it in whatever way feels right to you. Say to yourself: "I am ready to begin singing this new song…" See what happens.
Use this open portal time to "reset" your energies. Enter into a quiet place, and ask Spirit in whatever form it wants to come to you, to cleanse you of acquired negative energies. You can bump this up by imagining yourself in a place in nature - any place you find powerful, and ask that place to use its power to cleanse you. Example: imagine yourself on a mountain. Let your sacred imagination open and let the mountain cleanse you in whatever way a mountain might. Instruct your body to release its hold on any energy that has been embedded in you that is not useful or that is toxic. If you feel the energy in certain part of your body, talk to that place and ask it to release its hold on that energy.
Move away from the cerebral or analytical and focus on the feeling. Rather than saying "take out my co-dependence" or "release my inability to express myself clearly in relationship" or "Take away my mother issues," just identify the emotion: "Remove this old fear," "belly- release your hold on this resentment," etc. (It can help to take a moment to locate where in the body you most feel the emotion, and ask that part to release it.)
A more general approach: Appeal to Spirit to remove what it sees as the problem: "Spirit remove whatever embedded energy or pattern is blocking me, limiting me, or wrecking my intention form becoming ever more real."
This portal is a great time to open your forgiveness. Ask Spirit to come and open your forgiveness and make you new again.
Lughnasadh calls us to into gratitude for the abundance offered to us by mother earth, and to ponder what we are harvesting in our own lives; to consider what seeds we have we planted in life, and what is being harvested from those seeds. Ideally, this pondering can lead us to value our lives, and acknowledge with pride what we have done well, how we have acted with courage against our limit fears, how we have overcome smallness and how we have allowed our curiosity to lead and shape us. And this is a terrific meditation to do right now during this time: make a list of your skills, successes and best moments - things you've worked to learn, skills you've worked to refine. Don't let that negative voice win when it intervenes to say, "You're really not that good at that."
An example for me: My flute playing. I'm not at all a great flute player. But there was time I didn't play at all, and then there was a time that I said I want to learn, and there have been times I've practiced, and now I can play a few simple tunes in front of people, very often without squeaking or missing notes. So it's a skill I've worked at and now have. Another example: in a recent argument with someone, I realized I was wrapped in fear, and that's why I was arguing. That's a success - to see that after so may years of not seeing that at the time its happening. It goes on the "success" list. This exercise can be remarkably challenging in a culture that revels in making us feel small, sick, flawed, and powerless.
Lughnasadh also calls us to ponder sacrifice and gratitude, and the relationship between the two. In the Celtic story, the sun god Lugh established the festival of Lughnasadh to honor Tailtiu, the earth goddess (his foster mother), who delivers the abundant harvest and then perishes. This is how the earth works, and all abundance that we experience springs from the Earth Mother's bestowing her body to us. The festival was a celebratory party honoring the Great Mother's gifts to us, and also a funeral honoring her self-sacrifice. The festival gathered the disparate tribes together to negotiate peace agreements, arrange marriages, worship together and engage in revelry, feast and games.
Gratitude is a very popular topic but I have a shamanic twist on it. See gratitude less as a pleasant thought process – of reminding yourself to be happy - and more like medicine. See gratitude as a physical medicine that you swallow. It pours down into your body, cleansing your arrogance, ignorance and martyrdom, dissolving them. Ask the body (and Spirit) to wash them out of you. Don't delve into self-deprecation. This is not "I'm so full of these shitty energies and it's why things are so hard for me…" Just agree that to be human is to take on negative energies, like dust form the road, and to be human in relationship with Spirit is to have a partner than can help cleanse us.
I hope some of these ideas are useful to you.