The Soul of the Universe
4,000 years ago, Emperor Chung K’ang of China (allegedly) beheaded his court astronomers - Hsi and Ho - for failing to predict a solar eclipse on October 22, 2134 BC.
It seems a bit harsh, but I understand. Count me among the people who think eclipses are literally the most awe-inducing, resonant experience in the world.
For monarchs and emperors and dynastic leaders who led by convincing others of their divinity, eclipses were often seen as signs of the relative favor of the gods with how the ruler was doing. Kings feared the occlusion for the same reason it is so powerful for us today - there’s no need or desire to have a commercial or religious intermediary take credit for the event. Everyone under the path of totality has the same human experience of feeling and seeing a magnificent hole in the sky.
The August 21, 2017 solar eclipse was the most amazing spiritual experience that I’ve ever had. When the moon clicked into alignment blocking the energy of the sun, it was as if a ripple in space-time opened, and the universe was open to and connected us. As my new friend Rick LaBelle more artfully said on his blog liviniddriggs.com, “it was like seeing the soul of the universe... I found myself howling and then crying, and could hear a few others doing the same from surrounding peaks in the hills. Totality was two-minutes, which felt like ten-seconds, and left an impression that will last a lifetime. I now understand why people chase Eclipses.”
Science is still discovering the forces of nature. Perhaps some day, humans will know how and why we feel some type of resonating eclipse energy on a primordial level, below consciousness or thought.
The math, astrophysics, stories, history and travel of eclipses are trivialities - compared to the sense of complete connection that we can access at no cost, without equipment, technical knowledge or intermediary. In my notes of the day I wrote down “complete fulfillment like when a baby comes out”, “wonder”, “awe”, “resonant” and “unification with the universe.”
So please count me in for the next one. I hope to see you in Patagonia in December of 2020.