By Michael Erlewine
The Vision of This Eclipse
I have written here before about eclipses and their meaning spiritually. Here in the west we don’t have such a strong tradition in this, but in Tibet, India, China, and many other parts of the world eclipses are considered very, very potent and personally meaningful. In Tibet, for example, they are considered as extreme opportunities for the observation of our mindstream, something we usually pay little or no attention to or, if so, only fleetingly.
The Buddhists in particular have focused on eclipses as rare opportunities when our more subtle internal or spiritual energies naturally come into alignment or attunement, when things that otherwise we would seldom notice line up and can be more easily experienced by us, that is if we know when and how to look for them.
Eclipses are, above all, times of vision or insight. We grow up with the idea that “visions” are little scenes or pageants that appear in the mind to us like movies. Actually the reality is quite different. Visions are times of intense experience when information perhaps vital to us is streamed and imprints itself deeply in our consciousness, more like a brand. Some traditions actually explain it as if a sacred scroll of some kind were placed deep within us (imprinted) and only over time will it unroll and reveal itself, literally speak or reveal itself to us. We read it out from deep within out mind over time.
I don’t want to get all other-worldly or Twilight-zone-like about this, as the Tibetan Buddhists are very matter of fact about eclipses and their value. As mentioned earlier, eclipses in their view are rare times of inner alignment, times not to be ignored by us, but times when we should pay attention and observe. In fact Tibetans traditionally set these eclipse times aside as days of observation, just as Christians have holy days that they observe. And by ‘observation’, they mean just that: to observe our mindstream, our stream of consciousness carefully. Take time to do this as opposed to ignoring this opportunity with business-as-usual.
And although every eclipse (or New or Full Moon for that matter) has a vision or insight available to us, most of us have minds that are too noisy to receive that vision. We effectively manage to ignore them. Perhaps they are too subtle and we are not yet aware enough to grasp them. This is also what the Tibetans call “self-secret” in that these opportunities hide themselves not because they are some hidden secret but because we lack the faculties to perceive the phenomenon. Our awareness is not subtle enough.
However, I believe that at the time of an eclipse certain individuals either are naturally sensitive to this information or are rubbed awake by life events enough to consciously experience these eclipse visions. At any given time some of us are awake and experience this consciously. And of course, trained meditators develop awareness of these visions. I will not dwell on this here, but it is worth understanding.
What I do want to point out is that we have an Eclipse of the Moon on Wednesday June 15, 2011 at 4:14 PM EDT. And while the exact moment of the eclipse marks the precise center of the eclipse time, the effect of an eclipse is not so simple as the moment when it is at its maximum. The whole lunar cycle around an eclipse, in particular the week before and after an eclipse is when the so-called eclipse vision arises and imprints, so don’t get too specific about a day and a time. The vision of an eclipse fills the whole time around it.
Be aware at these times of intense experiences that rivet you and involve you totally. They can sneak up on you. A “vision” is not an idea that you will simply grasp or that comes to you, but a total experience that is beyond your understanding, that envelops and absorbs your complete attention, and will only reveal its meaning to you over time. This is where the concept of the sacred scroll and its unrolling comes in. Eclipse visions are always totally absorbing and require time to absorb. In other words, they have a future for you to work through and thus the idea that these visions are somehow prophetic comes into play. It is not that they tell the future but that they will only reveal themselves over time. They have a future for us. It takes time to assimilate their meaning or message. You get the idea. I have told you enough about eclipse visions for now. I want to say something about this particular eclipse.
As it turns out this particular eclipse is at or near the very center of our galaxy at 27 degrees of Sagittarius. The eclipse is at 24 degrees of Sagittarius and the center is several degrees wide. This blog is getting kind of long, but I have more to tell you, so I may have to continue this tomorrow or when I have time. Let me just say a few words here and explain the enclosed diagram a bit.
All of the matter (and meaning depends on matter) in the universe is not evenly distributed. In fact it is highly clustered and most of the matter in the whole sky surrounding us is in one direction and that is the center of our Milky Way Galaxy at 27 degrees of the zodiac sign Sagittarius. And that is the area in which this eclipse is taking place, so it is by that definition a significant eclipse.
The enclosed diagram illustrates two views (upper and lower) of the entire 360-degrees of the sky. You have to see each of these are a wrap-around view laid out flat. In the bottom panel is the total sky as we see it with our eyes. There are familiar stars and so on. The upper panel is the same sky if we could see beyond the visual spectrum into the infrared spectrum at lower than visual frequencies. In this upper panel, as you can see there are not only stars but also a huge structure that dominates the entire sky. That is the structure of our local galaxy the Milky Way. The night sky actually has form and shape that we can’t see that well. And that dark red spot in the lower right-hand part of that diagram is the galactic nucleus: the very center of our galaxy. That is the direction where this particular eclipse on June 15th will occur.
More as I have time, but the point is that this eclipse has a little more matter and meaning involved than normal. Look for it in your own mindstream.
A Rare Event
There are actually three eclipses in one month, a partial solar eclipse on June 1st, a Full Moon eclipse on June 15, and another partial solar eclipse on July 1st. Triple eclipses are very rare and we are in the middle of them right now.
This rare triple eclipse is already upon us. It is too late to really train our awareness to perceive it. What can we do to take advantage of this opportunity? One thing we can do is understand what to look for. What is a vision? I will try to put it into words, but don’t shoot the messenger. These things are hard to express. It is very difficult, which is why people train in meditation, to learn to be aware of such things. Here goes:
Most important, a “vision” is not something outside, but something inside. You can’t “look” for it. You won’t see it outside in the world and you won’t even “see” it (objectively speaking) inside. It is not about our “getting” it, but is much closer to us than that. The vision of an eclipse is something we all experience together (the whole world) and it is only the awareness of what we are experiencing that we may lack. That is why meditators meditate, to develop greater awareness of what is going on. Like the old Dylan song “Ballad of a Thin Man,” it is “… because something is happening here but you don't know what it is do you, Mr. Jones? ..”
Well, except for a few serendipitous moments in our lives when we spontaneously awaken to these visions, we don’t see them unless we train for them. That is just the way it is for us. We are normally too distracted for such subtleties.
“Visions” are moments of complete identification in the present moment. These are not experiences of objectification or polarity (stepping back), but just the reverse. They are moments of stepping forward and subtle rapture, when we seize on something (or are seized) so absorbing that we drop what we were thinking before and are caught up (despite ourselves) in the present. These are moments strong enough to demarcate or articulate our future from the past. They are important enough for us to forget our distractions. And at these times it is possible for us to just drop the past, to not follow the freight train of our past actions that has been taking us nowhere in particular and to actually cast off in a new direction, turn over a new leaf, so to speak.
In other words visions are pivotal points (pivots), moments of deep imprinting that are stronger (more significant) than what we were doing up to that minute (what just came before), that is: all of our immediate past that we had been slave to. These moments of vision CAN mark a turning point for us, up or down. Visions are moments that we can seize or become aware of and that mark this particular time forever in the mindstream as one of our turning points. Or we can be totally unaware of what is happening to us as we usually are.
Of course, we don’t often have the awareness to realize these moments of vision. Nevertheless, visions are experiences that are more real than our so-called “real” daily life. That is how they imprint on us; they literally ‘eclipse’ (pun intended) whatever we have been obsessed with in our day-to-day goings on up to that moment. These are opportunities to turn away from or drop the past and old habits. However, eclipses are a double-edged sword and equally can be opportunities to reinforce old habits and the past, and lock them in for the future. Perhaps that is why in astrological tradition eclipses are also sometimes much feared. And that is perhaps also why the Tibetan monks suggest that these eclipse time are times to observe our own mindstream and take note of what appears, to find direction.
In summary, visions are not pipe dreams or ideas that we conceptualize. Far from it. Instead, they are very intense experiences or times that are more real than regular life. In fact, in most cases we only realize that we have had a vision much later, over time, as we find ourselves bringing that time or the experiences at that time to mind, again and again, as we try to glean its meaning for us. Visions are known by the fact that they eclipse the path we were on before they occurred and mesmerize or transfix our attention, effectively demarcating or serving to separate the present and future from the time that came before. They mark a gap in our train of consciousness, one that we can take advantage of to move forward or backward. This is the rub.
I am sorry folks if these word fail to register. This is the best I can do to describe that nature of visions around the time of an eclipse. These visions can be before or after the actual moment of the eclipse because the vision experience is all-encompassing and it is only the ‘awareness’ of the vision that may lead or lag the actual event by weeks or even months. It is the awareness of what is happening that is missing for most of us, most of the time.
I would also like to tell you more about the nature of this particular triple eclipse, the significance of it occurring around the solstice and where it is occurring – on the galactic center. But that will be another day, if I have time to put it together.
Identification is Circulation
Many of you are asking for more details on these eclipses. I don’t want to be a bear, but if you sincerely want to know, I have already given you what you really need which is that eclipses and their vision or imprint are non-conceptual. I understand only too well that we are accustomed to grasping concepts and putting everything into something we can think about or “get”, but this is counter-intuitive in this case. You can’t “get” these eclipse impulses with your thinking mind. Sorry. God knows I have tried. Think of it this way:
The vision from an eclipse is subliminal, like the low-frequency sound waves that only submarines can hear. IMO Eclipses don’t speak to the conscious mind; they are preverbal and implant or imprint their message to the subconscious mind and only gradually percolate up into our consciousness. Trying to figure them out consciously only delays their message from reaching us in my experience.
If you really want to learn how to experience eclipses, you will have to get into mind training and mind practice. I have written many posts about how to do that, so I won’t go over basic mind practice here.
That being said, many of you have asked to hear something about the galactic center and this eclipse. In a short piece like this it is very difficult to communicate what the significance of the galactic center might be to us, but I will do my best, but this will be just a taste.
Our Sun is not only a ball of fire as scientists point out, not just materialistic any more than we are only material. All that we have comes from the sun, warmth and life itself. The Sun is the heart of life as we know it and simply put: if we consider ourselves spiritual beings, something more than mere matter and dust, then how much more should we pay homage and respect to the spirit and life of our Sun itself. It is the fountain of life as we know it. I won’t try to elaborate this concept further here. It is either clear to you or not.
The Galactic Center is the Sun’s “Sun” and just as Earth orbits our Sun, so does our Sun orbit the center of the galaxy, albeit very slowly. I mentioned earlier that the content and matter in the universe is not evenly distributed, but clusters. And in the universe near where we live, all of the matter that is anywhere is in the direction of the center of our galaxy. In fact, almost everything is in the direction of late Sagittarius in the Tropical zodiac. All other near space is relatively empty. There is little to nothing there.
The point is that all that “matters” or means much to us is in the direction of late Sagittarius and that part of the zodiac is where the Full Moon eclipse is taking place next Wednesday June 15th, 2011. For most of us “meaning” matters and matter is the means for us to have meaning – like our life.
The eclipse is only a transmitter (a messenger or machine) and transmits the vision or information, but many of us don’t have our receivers working all that well. In other words, we may not be receptive enough to receive and interpret the information available at the time of eclipses. We have concentrated here in this blog on the meaning of eclipses, but where does that meaning come from? All “Meaning” is always only directional, a pointer or reference to an experience. And experience is all that we have as a way to know ourselves. Think of it this way:
Our physical body coheres (hangs together) only as long as we have life, as long as blood circulates and the heart beats. All organisms (large or small) work like this. Just as the Sun is the heart of the solar system, so the galactic center is the heart of the galaxy. Even large-scale structures like the galaxy only cohere as long as energy exists and information vital to coherence is circulated. Scientists don’t yet understand how a structure the size of the galaxy circulates information within itself, but they know that it must happen to remain coherent. Everything within the galactic system depends on that information, including our Sun, the Earth, and even ourselves. How do we receive that information, those cosmic messages?
In the sometimes chaos of our lives, even we depend upon something as simple as a clock, and time is measured by the regular movements of the Sun, Moon, and planets. When these bodies line up as with New and Full Moons, or seasonally at the Solstices, and (so I am told by the Tibetan Buddhists) especially at the times of eclipses, perhaps these alignments are when information circulates from higher-order structures to lower-order structures – cosmic transmission.
Perhaps when there is an alignment like this eclipse, a shot of information shoots across a gap and is received and implanted in us, to be read back and understood over time, as we are receptive and gradually become aware of it. After all, something drives us to do things. What passes for socialization (when we all get together and share community, like here on Facebook) may be this process of exchange and the sharing of this cosmic information – circulation of essential life-sustaining code, like a bloodstream.
When we discover who we are or have an insight into our identify or the true nature of the mind, when we “identify” anything, that is an alignment and as I have written for many years: “Identification is Circulation.”
That is how the cosmos communicates with itself, through intelligent life like ourselves, through the light in our eyes when we “identify.” When we manage to know ourselves, in that act of identification, the cosmos is communicating and information of key importance is circulated. As we find or know ourselves, as we discover the light in our loved one’s eyes, as we discover each other, etc., the universe circulates and coherence is assured. We live, move, circulate, and life is sustained.
When Earth reaches the solstices each year, that is an important alignment. When the Earth is aligned with the center of the galaxy (like at the solstices), that is an alignment. These two happen within days of one another each year. This Full Moon Eclipse on Wednesday June 15th is an eclipse very near the center of the galaxy and the line of solstices. This is both auspicious and significant. I can’t tell you if this particular eclipse means you get a new job or lose the one you have now and begin again. That could depend on your personal chart and here I am writing to all of you.
What I am saying is that this time and these eclipses are significant times to note and observe as best you can. I know that most people have no training in this, so relax and observe as best as you are able. Let it happen and don’t try to grasp or think what it is. Instead, feel it, feel life around you, and just be present and aware.
For those of you who want to understand this concept more fully, see Chapter 15 of my free e-book “The Astrology of Space.” Read the section on page 378 called “Cycles, Circles, Centers, and Circulation.” Some of you might want to look at the whole book, which I first published in 1976 under the title “Astrophysical Directions.” The link is here:
For those of you who want to actually begin to train your mind, see the free articles on “Training the Mind” at the same link. I hope this has been useful and “Happy Eclipse!”
By Michael Erlewine