Season and Spirit: Magickal Adventures Around the Wheel of the Year

The Wheel of the Year is the engine that drives NeoPagan practice. Explore thw magick of the season beyond the Eight Great Sabbats.

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The American Eclipse

Everything under the sun is in tune, But the sun is eclipsed by the moon.


                This summer has been full of very intense astrological events and transits, not least of which has been the current grinding we’re feeling from FIVE planets retrograde, including Mercury. All of this has left so many of us feeling pressed, frustrated, anxious, restless. We want to move forward, but all the retrograde, compounded by the waning moon, bring up old issues, old patterns, things we were sure we had done with have resurfaced. With the past bubbling back to the surface, and forward movement impeded, it is easy to gibe into frustration and hostility.

                Tomorrow’s new moon in Leo also is a total solar eclipse, the first one visible in the United States since 1979.   A solar eclipse, always occurring during the New moon, will always amplify the New moon’s energy. In between the last moments of the waning, old moon and the birth of the new, the energies of the dark moon call on us to release what no longer serves, to shed our skins like snakes, to liberate ourselves from worn out ideas and old habits. It is a reset our lives, by releasing what needs to go, in order to make room for something new and unexpected.

                August 21’s total solar eclipse is also notable in that the path of totality will cover the United States, touching on a dozen states from Oregon to South Carolina.  In 1979, after the last total eclipse visible in the US, a newscaster hoped the next eclipse would shine on a world at peace. I daresay it would have been a stretch to imagine the world, our country, as it is now.

                An eclipse doesn’t just throw shadows or block light—an eclipse reveals and illuminates things we insist on keeping in the shadows of our consciousness.  The light and shadow play of a total eclipse may reveal what we would prefer to keep hidden, it may make explicit the fears and hatreds that we would prefer to keep vague and shadowy. And what the American eclipse reveals today is a glimpse into a country where the monsters are all abroad in daylight. The tragic events in Charlottesville last week, the hateful rhetoric of white supremacy and bigotry that encourages violence, the racist redefinition of who or what kind of “very fine people” are allowed to claim an American identity, the danger to us ALL that comes from weaponized alienation and a total lack of care for the most vulnerable around us—all of these sad, scary, enraging departures from our own highest values seem to signal that the American eclipse is not just today’s astronomical event. This is an affliction in our own body politic, a wound in our national psyche.

                American history teaches us about liberty, human dignity, about the drive to explore and invent and to share our good fortune with our fellow citizens. It also teaches us that violence, exploitation, racist hatred, genocide, and slavery are all part of our shared legacy. We have both, both the ennobling legends and the hateful realities. And we have to have both, both the exalted and degraded, the proud and the shameful. We do not get one without the other, because they are both true. And to cling to one, and deny the other, is not honest, and will not protect us. We have to accept and acknowledge both sides, in order to see the full picture.


                When the sky darkens today, it will happen over a country as in pain, as divided, as almost any time in our recent history. In today’s holy darkness, maybe we can find the strength and love to return to the ‘higher angels of our nature.” When the light returns, I can only hope compassion and generosity are among the hidden treasures our Sun will reveal.

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Leni Hester is a Witch and writer from Denver, Colorado. Her work appears in the Immanion anthologies "Pop Culture Grimoire," "Women's Voices in Magick" and "Manifesting Prosperity". She is a frequent contributor to Witches and Pagans and Sagewoman Magazines.


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