December 20, 2010

Most Epic Solstice Ever.

Update: Last night, in Boulder, we watched the eclipse—and so, seemingly, did half of Boulder (while howling). Tell us your story of the longest night in comments, below? ~ Ed.

In the history of solstice has there ever been a full moon and a lunar eclipse at the same time?

Not since 1638- only the second one in the last 2,000 years!

This year however, we are experiencing three amazing events all at once: Solstice (the darkest day of the year and the first day of winter), a full moon (in Gemini) as well as an unusual lunar eclipse.  Extremely rare to say the least.

According to NASA, the exact timing of the eclipse is:

The eclipse begins on Tuesday morning, Dec. 21st, at 1:33 am EST (Monday, Dec. 20th, at 10:33 pm PST). At that time, Earth’s shadow will appear as a dark-red bite at the edge of the lunar disk. It takes about an hour for the “bite” to expand and swallow the entire Moon. Totality commences at 02:41 am EST (11:41 pm PST) and lasts for 72 minutes.

As a Jyotish geek, I can also tell you that eclipses have special spiritual meanings in the Vedic tradition as well. Eclipses have powerful energy that express both the lunar and solar qualities within us being “eclipsed” and therefor should not be taken lightly. The moon represents our mind, emotions, heart and mother while the sun is ego, dynamism and father. These important elements of our consciousness can be hindered during this time and are considered to be in a space of rest.

Eclipses themselves are considered to be a time of silence, reflection and retreat. The time period between the lunar eclipse and the solar eclipse (this year the solar eclipse is January 4th) is considered especially delicate. During this time period no new decisions should be made if possible.

According to Jyotishi David Hawthorne, “It is generally advised to fast, to remain indoors, and to stay well rested. If you wake up during this time, just meditate and go back to sleep.”

Yagyas, pujas, meditation, light Ayurvedic meals, rest and rejuvenation are ideal during this time period. This can offer us a chance to restore and reflect in order to emerge re-charged.

Since we are deep into the coldest part of the year in this country, more silence seems like a natural inclination. Solstice reminds us to invite in greater light as it marks the days beginning to slowly get longer.

May there be more light in your new year and may you invite in health, wealth and wisdom with that light!

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