Doing yoga on top of a hill during a Total Solar Eclipse….now that’s an unforgettable way to start off a Friday and something I hadn’t done before; so there was some ‘newness’ right off the plate, even before the whole rebirth energy of the eclipse had got its full momentum!
Today was a Solar Eclipse falling on the Spring Equinox and a Super New Moon (a New Moon is all about rebirth and a Super Moon means that the moon is at its closest proximity to Earth right now; in short, we get to feel it more). It was also the start of the first of the two annual Eclipse Seasons, completing in two weeks with the Full Moon Partial Lunar Eclipse on 4th April. Needless to say, all those put together pack quite an energetic punch (and make-up a rare enough lineup of events that it won’t recur until 2034). It also marks the start of a new astrological cycle; today’s event occurs in the last degree of Pisces, which is also the last degree in the zodiac. An eclipse is all about the dark meeting the light; a moment of poise and balance, of female and masculine energies, right and left hemispheres, embracing one another. The Eclipse Cycle itself is like a portal of opportunity; a perfect time for letting go of old-stuck patterns, positive intention-setting and new beginnings. Today, to me, felt tangibly like I was stepping through a doorway into the new; like I was rebooting life’s hardrive, you could say. I felt excited without fully comprehending why.
As soon as I woke this morning (which happened to be at a fraction past 7.40am on my big bedroom clock…before reading that the eclipse started ‘happening’ at 7.41 UTC) the energies felt so intense; the same, or perhaps even more so, than I tend to find them during a Full Super Moon, which can make my head feel like it’s all filled-up with electricity. Today, the head tones have been relentless, coming in on waves, several of which have corresponded with my internet going offline and the broadband box having to reboot for no apparent reason. When this happened for the second or third time in ten minutes, I took it as a message to “get up, get out of here, put your iPad down and get outside”, so on went the jeans and into the car went a somewhat sleepy dog and we headed for a high-up hill. In the back of my mind, a thought was already forming: wouldn’t it be great to do my morning yoga routine up there, out in nature, under the sun (whether I could see it or not)…hmmm.
The sky was way too cloudy today for all the magic and drama we tend to expect of an eclipse (usually those seen from other, more exotic parts, of the world though I distinctly remember one that I watched in full golden glory as a child…when I proudly managed to take pictures using my own makeshift filter across a lens using an old photo negative and some sellotape). What unfolded today seemed more like a cloudy afternoon turning to dusk in January yet I felt not one jot of disappointment about this as we left the car in our usual quiet spot in a muddy byway and set off for the climb to where the best view was; I could feel this eclipse happening and, more than that, I just know that this kind of event affects all of us, whether we actively acknowledge it or not and regardless of whether we are in a part of the planet that is on its viewing path. As energetic beings living in an energetic universe, these cosmic events have a profound effect upon us and are BIG; even bigger, if we harness them. In its way, the absence of a big-showy light display felt good this time; it kept me focused on what I was experiencing, without all the external distraction.
The birds certainly sensed it happening; I suspect they thought it was an early bedtime as great flocks of them suddenly scattered from ground level and started to roost in the trees as the time got to within half an hour of peak coverage. Other than the abrupt noise of their wings, in great slapping sounds that could almost have been the sound of heavy water dripping on a leaf, all else was eerily quiet; no birdsong, no people, not even the usual drone of air traffic…nothing. I carried out my yoga routine for almost half an hour on a hill, next to a cabbage-patch (most appropriate as a birthing place, ha) as the sky turned to the colour of slate and the yellow light that suddenly turned on in a distant cottage became the only distinct marker left in a landscape smudged into a blur. There was no solar disk to be made out anywhere in this smoke-coloured sky, I couldn’t even be sure where it was meant to be. And yet it all felt…incredible! My dog wondered what on earth I was doing and tried to mug me for what I keep in my pockets a couple of times when I was lying on the floor but….that asside…it was so worth doing, such a great way to spend an eclipse.
Afterwards, reaching the lane and continuing on towards the river, noticing that it already seemed degrees lighter by the time I was out of the field, I was hit by a wall of sound…so much chitter-chattering of tiny birds all around me, switched on as suddenly as when the first slither of sun rises over the horizon at dawn. It was as though a bird-party had just got underway; the trees were suddenly alive with tiny shapes that bobbed around, hopped and fidgeted, careering around from place to place – “lets go here now, no, over here now” – in small gangs of excitability and exuberance, like children let out of school early. The steady build up of layers of birdsong was like hearing the dawn chorus, that excitable new beginning that welcomes every new day like it is the first; and how apt that the birds should slot another one in here and now, for this this fresh start, a timely reminder that the potential to start again can be found in every new morning, in every new moment, with every new breath…if we choose to look for it.
Suddenly, I was struck with the strange synchronicity that I had an urge, not to read as usual but, to lie in bed in the dark listening to Nina Simone last night before I went to sleep…and it was an inspired, sublime and goose-bumpy way to finish off my day – ‘Wild is the wind’ through headphones in the dark, I heartily recommend it. Same unmistakable voice but that wasn’t the song playing in my head this morning…“Birds flying high you know how I feel, Sun in the sky you know how I feel, Breeze driftin’ on by you know how I feel. It’s a new dawn, It’s a new day And I’m feeling good”.
So now singing my own internal song, I couldn’t help but notice the birdsong continued for the rest of my walk, a hullabaloo from every hedgerow as the day became markedly brighter; in fact a luminously bright spring morning (or was I just appreciating it more than usual…) with robins, blackbirds, wrens, hedge-sparrows and bluetits serenading me from every branch. At one point, I had a pair of skylarks in full throat doing figure of eight formations right over my head instead of their usual difficult to see cloud-dance way up high. With a backing cacophony of geese, pheasants, jackdaws and the drone of aeroplanes that seemed to have resumed their regular punctuation of Nature’s soundtrack, my walk was anything but eerily quiet anymore. I was passed by two other dog walkers, neither of whom gave the slightest indication, from their deadpan faces, that they were aware that an eclipse had just taken place but I knew it and so did the birds, so did my dog…who was exuberant and puppyish for the rest of the walk. Back home now, I’ve been listening to my (usually) early-morning-and-evening-singing wren in full voice for over half an hour as I sip my midmorning morning coffee and it does feel as though the day has started over again…a jump of time’s needle on the record of life…or maybe a complete reset, let’s just wait and see.