While we were in Lebanon, Oregon, this summer camping in the path of totality for the eclipse, I found that I had to stop everything once the eclipse began.
The sunlight wasn’t terribly different for most of the hour preceding and following the eclipse. Even at 99.3% totality in Eugene, my Dad reported that had he not had those eclipse viewing glasses on, the visible darkness would have been about as dramatic as a cloud passing over the sun. In other words: no big deal.
In Lebanon, however, those 2 minutes of totality were quite a big deal. The sun was transformed into an electric eye, corona visible and waving wildly around the darkened disk of the moon. There is really no picture, video, or re-presentation that can convey the experience. It was Truly Something.
But about 30 seconds after totality ended, my son noted that a car was already back on the road and driving with its headlights on. 10 minutes after totality, things started to look like a normal day, and at 30 minutes post-eclipse, most folks had departed from the campground.
Through it all—the hour prior and the hour following totality—I couldn’t do a damn thing. My boy was hungry and I wouldn’t cook. My mate wanted to pack up to leave and I wouldn’t let him. Instead, I sat in my low-slung camping chair and peeked at the sun periodically to see what phase the eclipse was in.
My stubborn resolve to do nothing didn’t make any sense to me at the time, but the phrase “we’re in ceremony” kept running though me. So I observed a short fast from food, work, reading, and screens, as did my family, patient folks that they are.
This idea of “being in ceremony” has returned to me in these days of gathering darkness, both literal and metaphorical. This darkness, I assure you, is in both cases seasonal.
But the point of this wintry season is to teach us to generate that which we are accustomed to receiving from the world around us. This is a time of sacred reversal, not unlike the solar eclipse of August when the moon obscured rather than reflected the light of the sun.
In this season, in times of darkness and reversal, we are to become as stars to feed heaven and earth with our constancy and our love. We are given this opportunity each year to gift the world with a small token of the goodness and warmth we receive all year long.
In these darkening days, we find ourselves plunged into ceremony as a people. May we give ourselves and the world the gift of our undivided attention. May we fast from busyness as usual. May we be so bowled over with reverence and awe that we fail to do a damn thing, if only for 15 minutes a day.
“Sacrifice” means to make sacred, and it is time, not money, that is our most precious resource. There is no earning back the hours—ever. Do nothing as a sacred practice, and allow your cup to be filled to overflowing with the blessings of this season.
New Offerings to announce:
· A New Year’s Intensive to kick off 2018 http://gaiashamanism.com/
· Shamanic Wayfinding for weekly one-on-one coaching: http://gaiashamanism.com/
· Online Journey Circles for those who have had a Shamanic Guidance session, participated in an Intensive, or are enrolled in Shamanic Wayfinding.
Please feel free to email me (aalkin07 at gmail.com) with your interest or any questions you might have. And do forward this blog post to anyone you feel might be interested in this work.