I'm in Barcelona (en route to commence a pilgrimage to the Divine Feminine through Southern France) and yesterday at the Cathedral, I bought a red candle.
I thought I'd light it at the Cathedral (in front of Mary Magdalene's spot, obv) but then I realized you aren't actually allowed to light real candles inside (?) so, this being a pilgrimage, I thought maybe I'd light it during my daily prayers, but realized this morning that it needed to go as an offering at Las Rambalas instead.
So today, I walked towards it, not knowing exactly how to get there but headed in the general direction.
I went South West, towards the sea, and I arrived, not knowing from any other way than feeling. I was still a few blocks away, but at an intersection, emotion started to well up inside of me (divine guidance for me is a very feeling thing), so I realized I was close.
I crossed the street and walked a little further through a big square to see the first memorial. There was a group of Islamic families with children and Spaniards chanting peacefully together.
I stopped for a moment to observe and then kept walking across the main intersection to see the memorial at the end of the famous pedestrian esplanade.
I politely made my way to the front, set down my candle and kneeled to pray.
I cried just as much as I prayed and with my tears wet and my prayers complete, I went to light my candle with a small box of matches from my hotel.
And it wouldn't light.
I thought about the upcoming eclipse: how ironic.
I tried a few more times.
No dice. So I started re-lighting others that had gone out instead. There was Jesus with his radiant heart, tea lights everywhere, something basic someone brought from home. They all lit with my matches just fine.
So, I then try every remaining match on my candle until I got down to the last one. And at that moment, a woman kneels beside me and asks in Spanish if I have a light.
I smiled and nodded and give her my last match.
She lit her candle with ease.
She said thank you, we made eye contact and smiled somberly at one another as she rose and departed.
I held my red candle and once more prayed to my Gods and Goddesses, to all those I hold divine, but this time, instead of a match, I picked up another candle to light my own.
It ignited with ease.
You know that quote, a candle never loses its light from lighting another candle?
Well, it was quite apropo - and it's poignant for what's going on in the world (and inside all of our own radiant hearts) right now.
We quite literally need OUR LIGHT to LIGHT (and re-light and re-light) each other's LIGHT.
Similarly to many other parts of the world (the US ranking high on the list) the emotional climate in Spain is pained but united. The recent wound is fresh, and as it is in the States, there's a level of fear and uncertainty. But similarly, to the US and other places of unrest, the depth of the wound is being revealed and re-dressing it isn't an option anymore.
But in the wake of the wound, there is kindness here, and it is palpable. The feelings of solidarity (as they are in the US) are real. The people genuinely care for one another, as I've personally experienced being a stranger here at a strained time. In my soul, I know the heart of humanity is good, and despite the present undercurrents of pain, its beat here proves to keep pace and its rhythm is steady and strong.
But it's true, hearts do get broken. We do get wounded. And a healthy heart is only as strong as its ability to heal.
These acts of bigotry and hate are only calling us louder than ever to the immense need to recognize and heal our personal and collective wounds: because the world-heart-wound must be fully revealed in order to be healed.
What happens when we try to hide our shadows or avoid our wounds? As my best friend Katie says, if you don't heal your own wounds you end up throwing them at others.
This what's happening now. This is the epic reveal. And those unwilling or unable to heal or deal with their own wounds, are either chucking them at others or checking out (as in leaving Earth) in epic numbers.
There's a lot being said about bypassing the reality of what's happening by "sending love and light". And I get that. Of course, any statement (especially this one) is empty without the action to back it up.
Because things are not okay. Last week my cousin was spat on for being Jewish. In a Starbucks. Some man asked if she was Jewish, she said yes, and he SPIT on her.
So yes, my family is "white". Yes, my family is "privileged". But my family is also Jewish. This hate isn't just about color lines. It's about *pervasive* hate and inequality.
This hate isn't somewhere else, it isn't in someone else's town or someone else's country. It's here and it's real and it requires our action to stand united solidarity to against it.
Some feel called to act in certain ways that others don't, and this makes some feel stuck between a rock and a hard place, because for some with sensitive nervous systems or those who experience a re-triggering of trauma from current events (and yes, many do, whether they know it consciously or not) action and involvement can be too much. But even if that's the case there's still much you CAN DO.
- Tend to your own wounds (aka own your shit and do what you need to do to heal).
- Know that your voice and your money and your presence are all incredibly powerful forms of currency.
You can donate your time, money or social media presence to causes that matter (the ADL and ACLU are two organizations that need support now more than ever). You can use your voice to speak up against injustice if it happens in real time. You can smile more, practice kindness towards strangers, give everyone in your life just a little more time. You can take personal responsibility for yourself and do the work you need to heal. You can remember your spiritual practices. You can deepen your breath when you feel the stress set in. You can take care of yourself while you love and defend your neighbor. And you can pray (daily and often) if you do that sort of thing.
The biggest thing NOT to do is to give in. Don't give into the fear or cynicism, that only dims the fire in your heart, and on this New Moon in Leo being complemented by a Total Solar Eclipse, this world literally needs your light. And it certainly needs your love. Because this sacred war certainly can be won without both.
So, onto how this factors into the eclipse: we know that Eclipses are astrological events that invoke present day awe and wonder.
The ancients held a variance of beliefs around eclipses: but Solar Eclipses tended to evoke fear; the light being crossed by darkness took on a very literal meaning for people who lived by the sun and loved by the moon.
Today, we may have more science, but the general population is less consciously aware of the impacts of Eclipses.
There's obviously the electrical. Power grids and those states that use Solar will be particularly affected. Energetic particles in the atmosphere will shift, affecting photon levels.
There's obviously the physical. Plants are affected by brief but powerful lack of light. Animals become confused and erratic. Birds are known to fall silent, Orb spiders take down their webs, bees return to their hives. If outside and in the "path of totality" our circadian rhythm can shift due to the brief but significant shift of light. Locations in the path of the shadow will likely experience noticeable temperature drops.
There's obviously the astrological. The patterns of the planets can give us some insight for the personal and societal affect of what happens when the moon crosses the sun in conjunction with all the other celestial forces floating about.
And so yes we have our science and our stars, and yes these things provide insight into how Eclipses affect us. But the biggest, and most unrecognized element of an Eclipse is the impact of how all of these things make us FEEL.
Because THE IMPACT IS EMOTIONAL.
The combination of elements (the physical, electrical, astrological) makes us FEEL certain ways.
And as we've seen in the world recently, emotions are high.
What wasn't visible is becoming visible, and now we have the opportunity to see what was still being obscured.
But eclipses are not only one moment events. They (and the events that lead up to them) can have a lasting effect for months, sometimes years.
So, soon, the moon will cross the sun: the subconscious, emotional elements of the Lunar deity will blot out the light of the conscious, energy of the Solar deity. The light will literally go out and for a moment, we'll be covered in darkness.
Astrologically, here's what my fav babe astrologer Chani Nicholas has to say about the cosmic convergence:
"... this is a time of deep introspection as we go into the shadowlands of our lives."
On Monday, August 21st, the total solar eclipse will occur, throwing its unique shade across America. This entire eclipse season is revealing our shadow selves. Our eclipsed selves. Our personal and collective underworld journeys.
These are complex days. Dense with the personal homework assigned to us. Loaded with the personal significance of each mission. Ladened with the opportunity to set new patterns for ourselves, our work and our lives. Whatever we do during eclipse season has an incredible staying power attached to it. We cannot control what happens, but every time we choose our integrity over our fear, we choose what is life-affirming over what is life-constricting. Every time we choose our integrity over our fear, we choose what is growth-enhancing over what keeps us bound up and unable to access our agency. Every time we choose our integrity over our fear, we choose to commit a little bit more to our path and divest a little more energy from what prevents us from fulfillment."
So how do you handle yourself during challenging times?
This is a powerful time to practice awareness and tune into your capacity to stay sensual. To use your senses. To actually allow yourself to FEEL what you are feeling through the sensual experience of being in a body.
When shit hits the fan: do you shut down, bypass, numb out, does become too much for your nervous system to handle (which can manifest as anxiety, energetic sensitivity, get overloaded with a feeling like you can't function, or perhaps you any other host of other "symptoms")?
Or does it fire you up and get you angry?
TUNE IN, see what triggers you, see how you respond, observe your go-to preprogrammed responses, tend to your wounds.
Then, take action based on what is in your highest interest. Seek out that which keeps you in ALIGNMENT with yourself and your highest good.
I know that it can feel overwhelming but don't give into feeling powerless. Taking action with you voice, your example, and getting involved in your community are the some of the best ways to stay in your power.
Whatever you do, please don't add more fuel to the fire: fear seeks to control by creating more fear. This is when you have to take control for yourself and with awareness: step back and (again) tend to your own wounds.
Because wounds surface to be healed, so see what's surfacing for YOU in all of this.
The big choice faced by humanity at the time of this eclipse is will we each take responsibility for our personal wounds, will we consciously choose to heal ourselves to heal the world ... or will we keep throwing our wounds at others, denying responsibility (and therefore LOVE) for ourselves and others?
And I know: healing wounds, seeing and feeling the truth is uncomfortable. It's not all sunshine, unicorns, and rainbows, that's why people avoid it so much! It's FUCKING HARD. It hurts. You fall down. You struggle. You get back up and fall back down again. But healing is also called growth and evolution and it's how you transform.
Metamorphosis is always naturally destructive (it is the Kali Yuga after all) and things probably need to fall apart significantly more before they can fall back together as broken hearts and broken systems heal.
For what it's worth, I think it's important to remember that we are on standing on a precipice for which many have already fought and sacrificed for.
History has an unfortunate way of repeating itself and I've taken some solace in those who have fought for us to get where we are today as I've reflected on the history that's led us here, knowing that ALL of it has led us to this moment. To this choice. This ability to RISE together as ONE people who all have hearts that bleed the same red.
As we move forward into this age of uncertainty, let us remember that history is always written by the winner. Eclipses carry significant historical weight (do some research, it's pretty interesting), so let's choose (really consciously choose) to let love win by each taking personal responsibility for healing ourselves and the world we want to live in. In the words of the great Dr. King, let us remember:
"Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love... Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
So be fierce with your boundaries and be fierce with your love, because like Mama Durga riding her Lion into battle, we need you and your very human heart strong for this fight and we need your light to wage its way through the dark.
With a radiant heart,
If you need support: join the new Femme Rising Facebook Group where I've been teaching Breath of Fire, a very tangible tool for calming stress, stabilizing the nervous system and keeping your energy strong.