Tonight the moon will pass through the Earth’s shadow, and if you have a good look at it, you will be able to clearly see that the moon appears to disappear completely. And then it comes back. At a time in history when people did not understand why this was happening, a lunar eclipse caused great fear and consternation, especially among creatures who still had their amygdalas (see the weekend post). Some believed that a dragon was swallowing the moon, and they fired cannon blasts to scare the creature away.
Human history tells us that in the absence of an explanation, one will be created and blame will be assigned accordingly.
On the very same day as tomorrow’s lunar eclipse, our hemisphere will be leaning away from the sun at its sharpest angle of the year and the winter solstice will occur. Daylight will be brief and nighttime long. People once thought this was an indication that the division between our world and the spirit world was stretched very thin, and mischief was somehow more likely at this time than at any other. Noisy parties were held to keep the demons at bay. But now we are wiser, and we know noisy parties are where mischief tends to happen, especially if it’s been a hard year at the office and certain people (we won’t name any names) wind up holding too many drink tickets.
Every so often we get this kind of cosmic convergence and much is being made of the fact that a total lunar eclipse and the winter solstice haven’t happened on the same day since well before any of us were born (456 years ago) and won’t happen again until most of us are good and dead (2094). If being alive for this conjunction is on your “bucket list”, congratulations. You made it. But if you live in the Twin Cities and actually want to SEE the eclipse, you’ll probably have to leave town to get out from under the clouds and snow. But that simply adds to the opportunity. You could wind up seeing a total lunar eclipse, experiencing the winter solstice AND sleeping in a room at he Motel 6 in Fort Stockton, Texas, all in the very same day. Trifecta!
I am not sure why so much attention is paid when planets line up in a row or eclipses coincide with other astronomical events. The universe has lots of shining, spinning things that rotate around one another and cast shadows. Stuff is happening all the time. Perhaps tomorrow is also the day some distant star goes supernova, but we won’t know about it for millions of years. Well, WE won’t know about it at all. But maybe some Earthing will, eventually, and they may track the explosion back to that crazy moment in 2010 when there was an eclipse and a solstice on the same day.
In case the record is closely examined by some future researcher, allow me to announce that Tuesday is also the last pick-up day of sort-it-yourself recycling in my neighborhood. Beginning on Wednesday, everything that I typically recycle can be (MUST be) put in the same big bin. This is an unfathomable change. I can’t tell you how long I’ve been sorting newspaper from office paper and keeping the milk jugs and tin cans over by the garage wall. Separating stuff is what recycling was all about for me. Like an ancient chieftain who thinks a dragon has swallowed the Moon and the Lord of Misrule is planning to raise a ruckus, I am suddenly quite uneasy and unsure of myself.
When have a lunar eclipse, the winter solstice and a change in recycling rules happened on the very same day? Never before. And perhaps never again. Will we even call it “recycling” in 2094? I don’t think so. I feel extra lucky to be alive for this moment.
What event in your life would you like to add to the roster of amazing synchronicity for tomorrow’s grand convergence?