|Blended Panorama - A little Christmas Day Skiing at Copper Mountain, CO - December 25, 2010|
What does it mean? It depends on how superstitious, or scientific, or spiritual you want to get. Actually, if you're superstitious, I'm sure you already know what the eclipse means.
Some Numbers. The last time that a total lunar eclipse coincided with the winter solstice was in 1638 (372 years ago). Prior to that, the same coincidence occurred before the year 0 (over 2000 years ago). However, the next time that it will occur is only 19 years from now in 2029, which is an effect of the Metonic cycle. It is rather awesome that we get to observe such events in this lifetime. For example, do you recall Mars' perihelic opposition back on August 27, 2003? Or Shoemaker-Levy colliding with Jupiter in July 1994? I suppose it's also possible that astronomical events don't make you as giddy as me.
Etymology. Regardless of your giddiness level, the eclipse is rife with spiritual symbolism, which I'll get into a bit farther down. Let me be clear that the word "spiritual" has long occupied a strange limbo place in my mind. That is, for many years, I have connotated it as something akin to "religious," in that you might have heard me say something such as, "I'm not a religious person, but I am spiritual," without knowing exactly what I meant by that. Even though the word is clearly derived from "spirit," it seemed to hold a significance beyond this that I could not fully grasp.
|Wormwood (Artemesia Absinthium)|
Image obtained here.
|Slightly more complex than the vivid|
sparks I see. Image obtained here.
So what spiritual significance might the eclipse have? As much as we live on top of the earth--in buildings, in cars, and on roads--rather than with the earth--in a forest, on the soil, perhaps barefoot--and as much as we attempt view ourselves as separate from the workings of nature (a socially popular missive?), humans are inexorably coupled to the cycles of the earth, the moon, the solar system, the galaxy, and the cosmos. Some cycles are imperceptible on human timescales, such as the rotation of the galaxy. Some cycles are easy to see, such as the orbit of the moon or the rotation of the earth. Perhaps the more perceptible a cycle is to us, the more it affects us. (For instance, as evidence, observe how our sleep-wake cycle coincides with the earth's rotation.) By this reasoning, the eclipse is a special point in a cycle to have observed; it is likely full of meaning to the human spirit. This solstice was the darkest day of 2010, but it was darker still from the eclipse, making it one of the darkest days in recorded history. In one sense, this means it can only get lighter from now on, which is an interesting metaphor. Knowledge previously shrouded may come to light in times to come; personal epiphanies may increase; positivity may reign. You may discover a calling in life, or make a big change, or find a new love. This is the end of darkness. Let me know what happens.