The Lesson of the Eclipse

The Lesson of the Eclipse

With the advent of the April 8th Total Solar Eclipse that will cross North America including the United States, parts of Canada, and Mexico, I began musing about a wonderful eclipse story from my childhood. Growing up in the 1950’s and 60’s, I was an avid reader, and especially loved the works of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his famous pen name, Mark Twain. Along with classics like The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Twain was also famous for his often biting satirical works.

One such book, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, tells the story of Hank Morgan, a 19th century mechanic from Hartford, Connecticut, who receives a blow to the head and awakens from unconsciousness to find himself in England during the reign of King Arthur. Without giving away the entire plot, (and if you have not read this or seen the delightful 1949 movie version starring Bing Crosby, please do), he uses his “modern knowledge” to make King Arthur’s court believe he is a great wizard and even a challenger to Merlin! The total solar eclipse trope comes when he is about to be burned at the stake and remembers that an eclipse is taking place that very day as the sky begins to darken. He admonishes the assembled that this will be the end of the world and only he can “bring back” the Sun and save everyone. Needless to say, his “advanced” knowledge, quick thinking, and “Yankee ingenuity” saved him.

When news of the April 8th eclipse was announced, I began to see posts on social media and elsewhere, with self-proclaimed prophets advocating that there will be three days of darkness, the actual Advent (the second coming of Christ), the rapture, and other end times occurrences connected with it. Some have described the path of the eclipse as going over several parts of the country with biblically named towns, such as Nineveh, as part of their evidence. Add to this the recent horrific events in the middle east, Russia’s war with Ukraine, and the sense of hopelessness and fear that so many harbor, and you can almost understand how these prophecies were formulated.

I respect everyone’s faith and beliefs. What concerns me is when anyone espouses ideas that are fearful, confusing and divisive, and add to the suffering, rather than based upon love and compassion (the basic tenet in virtually every faith).

Personally, I take a different approach. I see the natural science behind this, and all eclipses, recognizing that these are ongoing celestial events. From a spiritual perspective, I perceive the eclipse as symbolic of the balance of light and darkness in a most demonstrative way. Just as day follows night and night follows day, this rapid version of light, dark, light is a reminder that as we navigate dark times, the light is always going to return. The light is also always there, even when temporarily masked and at times when it is hardest to see. Nature is a wonderful teacher if we pay attention in class! This also affords parents a wonderful opportunity to share with their young children the amazing way nature works and the gifts that we receive from the Sun (day light that nurtures all life, and warmth) and from the Moon (evening light and the ocean tides).

As we think about times of “darkness” in our lives, we can recall how we emerged from that darkness. We did this with the loving support and comfort of family and friends, with meditation and prayer, with counseling from therapists and clergy, and with groups and communities sharing those difficult times and supporting one another. The act of sharing is fundamental to our human condition. It speaks to the compassion we offer to one another, with the understanding that these times are common to all. Many years ago, a poem came through me about the importance of this compassion.  The poem is entitled, “Shared Tears.”

Welling up from inside as the green wheel spins free,

And the pathway reopens with life energy.

The release of the joy or the pain or the fear,

Or a newly found truth in a miracle year.


As the door opens wide and emotions run free,

And we question the blessing or curse with, “Why me?”

The strength of two arms makes the burden so light,

A caress or a touch or embrace so tight.


For the burden is lighter and the truth more profound,

And the joy is much greater when a sharer is found.

And the day is much brighter and the path quickly clears,

When two become one in the way of shared tears.

© Victor Fuhrman

The eclipse offers us the opportunity to affect changes in our lives. As the Moon shadow begins, we can examine those things in our lives that are not working, release attachment to these things (jobs, relationships, habits) and prepare to let go, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. When the Sun returns to its full glory, we can move forward “in the light” and bring these changes to fruition.

It is also a wonderful time to offer gratitude for the beauty and balance of nature. In our busy, distracted world, it is easy to forget how magnificent and awe inspiring the Earth, Sun, Moon, our galaxy and our universe truly are. With the completion of the eclipse, take a moment to express this gratitude in the way of your personal faith or belief system, and allow the wonder of what you have witnessed to cleanse your consciousness and birth a new perspective.

Please make sure to protect your eyes (and those of your children) with approved solar eclipse glasses so that you may safely enjoy this rare and beautiful sky show. And may the “Lesson of the Eclipse” promote compassion and kindness among our sisters and brothers, and remind us of the greatness of “all there is” and our place within it!


© Copyright Victor Fuhrman 2024. All Rights Reserved.
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