The solar eclipse is coming on Monday, August 21, and we can’t stop talking about it. We want to understand it astronomically, astrologically, and culturally. We want to know where and when to see it best. We even want to know what to eat and wear in honor of the event and while it’s happening.
The fervor points to an innate human tendency to respond with anticipation—and a mix of fear and fascination—to what is truly awe-inspiring. What underlies this response is our deep human need to practice reverence, to demonstrate honor and respect for something that extends beyond our powers and finiteness.
We can first practice reverence by intentionally planning to witness the eclipse in real time wherever we are, not after the fact via media. How often do we take time to connect with the phenomenal natural world we inhabit? How often will we have this opportunity? Ordinary human activity, including work, can pause for a while!
This kind of event reminds us of the spectacular, the sacred nature of the planet we inhabit. It puts our human place in the cosmos in clearer perspective, reminding us that we are part of a much larger world that is not dependent upon our human activity. The metaphorical significance of a solar eclipse, the temporary darkening of illumination, can invite deep, meaningful reflection on the rich dance of dark and light in our ordinary lives.
Our interior landscape can be transformed through such a reverential encounter with the outer landscape only if we are open and receptive to it. Here are some ways to embrace that possibility: