Eclipses represent moments of deep, transformational change - the kind of change that shakes you to your core. If I had to pick a few tarot cards that depict the kind of transformation that eclipses represent, I would probably choose something like The Tower, the Wheel of Fortune, or even Death.
What is an Eclipse?
An eclipse is a partial or complete hiding of the sun that occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the earth. To us, this little celestial dance looks like the sun is partially or completely covered with a dark shadow of the moon.
Usually there are four total eclipses in a year (2 solar, and 2 lunar), but that changes depending on earth’s cycles, and because our gregorian calendar is not completely aligned with nature’s cycles. In 2011, for example we experienced six eclipses!
There are two types of eclipses; the solar eclipse and the lunar eclipse - these always arrive together, and they coincide with the new moon and full moon of that month respectively.
Solar Eclipse Myths
In human civilizations, both solar and lunar eclipses have gained a mythical significance. Solar eclipses were sometimes even feared, because the sun was such an important connection for our way of living; it was reliable, it gave us life in the form of food and crops, and it gave us light, so we could see.
Because of the sun’s significance, many cultures explain Solar Eclipses as the sun being eaten by a great beast; in Viking lore - it’s wolves, in Vietnamese lore - it’s a toad. Others tell tales of the sun being stolen instead. What is common among these myths is that these states of disaster cannot last - natural order is always restored. This is a lesson that we can apply to our own lives - what the Eclipses bring us may seem terrifying, as though they are events that one cannot comprehend surviving - but we do, and we move on, wiser and stronger.
What Does the Moon Bring You?
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What is the Solar Eclipse Meaning for me?
As we mentioned before, a solar eclipse always coincides with a new moon - and in fact, we can consider them stronger, more potent new moons. We wrote a bit about the meanings of each lunar cycle here (and it comes with a handy dandy infographic too!), but to recap, new moons are moments to plant seeds for the coming cycles. Symbolically, the moon is growing, and so is it’s power. New moons are about harnessing that power to set your intentions.
With the solar eclipse, the moon and the sun are aligned - meaning that the sun, which represents conscious, logical thought - is uniting with the moon, which represents deep, unconscious emotions. A strong unity can be felt here, opening new doors and propelling you to newer heights. You can therefore use solar eclipses for new beginnings, for taking leaps of faith.
Dealing with the Solar Eclipse
Because Solar Eclipses unite conscious and unconscious - this means that a rebalancing act must happen. For those of us that are ruled deeply by either of these modes of thinking, you’ll be forced to address the side of yourself that you perhaps have been neglecting. Logical, practical thought will have to make way for hidden, repressed emotions. And more emotional and intuitive types will have to face cold, hard facts.
You’ll be on the brink of feelings that are unfamiliar and strange, which can be fearsome, but also strong opportunities for you to grow and expand into a more unified, healthy self.
This following solar eclipse tarot spread will focus on just that!
Solar Eclipse Tarot Spread
- The Self - What is your current situation? What do I have to address with this solar eclipse? Where along the cosmic balance are you lying?
- The Moon (Unconscious) - What is the emotional and unconscious source of your situation?
- The Sun (Conscious) - What are the logical and practical issues of your situation? What must I address?
- What can you leave? - What must I leave behind here?
- What can you begin? - What new paths can I start on here?
- The way forward - Sun and Moon, Past and Future, what can guide me towards growing from this experience?