On August 21, 2017 the first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in 99 years will cut a diagonal path through the United States. Many people will flock to view it and it has created a media hype. As a Vedic astrologer I have always been cautioned by my teachers to not view eclipses due to the fact that this can intensify the karmic effects that one could have on us individually. According to reference.com, the eclipse itself only lasts a few minutes, at the most one can last up to 7 minutes and 31 seconds.
When I sat down to write this piece on why one should not look directly at an eclipse my mind went first to the physical reasons. First of all, the Sun’s radiation can be harmful when looked at directly and looking at it can result in eye damage due to retinal burns.
If you must watch the eclipse then please use special eclipse glasses.
Throughout history eclipses have been both honored and feared. In ancient times, astrologers were beheaded for not alerting the Royalty of an eclipse. Many cultures fast and stay indoors and use the the time for inward contemplation and meditation. The Navajos believe that the sun dies during an eclipse and they refrain from eating, sleeping and work activities. There is great reverence for the sun and the moon during the eclipse process. The Hindus fast during an eclipse due to the belief that food prepared during this time is not fit for consumption.
Astrologically, Hindus believe that if the eclipse falls in an upachaya house of a natal chart then it can be auspicious. The upachaya houses are houses 3, 6, 10 and 11. If it falls in the moksha houses – houses 4, 8 or 12, then it is considered to be inauspicious for the person and bring bad luck. All other houses of the chart are considered moderately auspicious.
What To Do During The Eclipse
Eclipses are not rare or uncommon events. There are two solar eclipses or eclipse seasons per year. This is caused by the nodes of the moon Rahu and Ketu lining up with the new moon and/or full moon. Rahu and Ketu are referred to as shadow planets as they are not actually celestial bodies but mathematically calculated points. By an eclipse season I am referring to the weeks prior to or following a solar or lunar eclipse. The opinions vary on how many weeks but I think that it is safe to say two weeks is a definite window of time to observe the effects. An eclipse season is not a good time to start new activities but it is an excellent time for doing inner work such as meditation or introspection.
Avoid important new activities about two weeks before and after the eclipse. Also, eclipses tend to bring things that have been hidden to light. Pay attention to the news and you will see this in action. People tend to be on edge during eclipse periods and behave strangely so exercise more patience with others and yourself. You can get great insight from your dreams during this time as well. Be diligent about writing down your dreams for you will get answers to things that you have been pondering.
Mythological Eclipse Stories
The nodes of the moon are the primary indicators of our fate and destiny. There is a myth about them that involves a demon serpent crashing a dinner party where an immortal nectar was to be served to the invited guests. He disguises himself but is caught out by the sun and the moon. Before the host Lord Vishnu could oust him, the serpent grabbed the amrita (immortal nectar) and drank it down to the last drop. Lord Vishnu was so enraged that he threw a discus at the serpent and cut him in two. The head of the serpent represents Rahu and the tail represents Ketu. To get revenge on the sun and the moon, the beheaded serpent periodically blocks their light, thus creating eclipses.
Another story is that Ganesha accidentally tripped and fell, breaking one of his tusks. The moon laughed at him. Ganesha put a curse on the Moon that anyone who sees the moon will incur bad luck. The Moon asked for mercy and Ganesha could only amend the curse to anyone who looks at the Moon during a solar eclipse will incur bad luck.