In many traditions it is understood that the passage from this world to the next is through the Moon sphere. This is a journey taken not only at birth and in death, but in sleep and dream, and even in the spiritual and scientific striving to know the worlds beyond our own. So what happens when there’s an eclipse, as there will be this week on Wednesday morning?
By now you’ve heard about the trifecta coming at us with this week’s Full Moon: It’s the second Full Moon this month, which means it qualifies as a Blue Moon; it’s a Full Moon at close approach to Earth, known as its perigee, sometimes called a Super Moon; and this Full Moon will be totally eclipsed by the shadow of the Earth.
To uncover the cultural meaning of lunar eclipses, I went searching through different traditions, including the Native American, in which the Moon, Nikomis, is regarded as “grandmother”. She has dominion over old age and acts as the guardian of unborn children.
In the Greek tradition, the Moon is Selene, the goddess daughter of the Titans who is the sister of the Sun. She falls in love with the mortal Endymion and they meet each night in dream.
In the land of fairy tale, the Queen of the Moon inhabits a palace in the Land of the Singing Sky, where flows the fountain of dew for all healing needed on Earth. To attain to this palace requires mounting the silver ladder that hangs once each month from the Full Moon.
But what of all this when the Moon is eclipsed? What of the very old and the as yet unborn, of love and dreams, and healing? At Lunar Eclipse, when the face of the Moon is darkened by the shadow of the Earth, we aren’t just watching a shadow fall across an object outside and beyond us. Rather, the Moon is actually reflecting our own shadow back to us, showing us to ourselves, in the ways we don’t honor the aged, or understand the mysteries of birth; or perhaps the ways aren’t enduring in love; or how we overlook the healing quality of an environment that sparkles with dew. What will you find in the shadow?