It’s common for us Pagans to be among those most aware of what the planet Mercury is doing, and while going retrograde happens every few months (~3 times a year) a Mercury transit (when Mercury “eclipses”* the Sun) is much, much more rare. Mercury is now blocking some tiny bit of the Sun’s light, which won’t happen again until 2032.
With the snow piling up here in Michigan, I can’t directly see the transit, but can see the simulcast online. More information is here. Can you share this with a child (even if it is now later in the day, when the video will still be available)? Like so much of our Universe, this is another opportunity celebrate our joy of life – with help from our world. Are there too many clouds where you are? Use this live video!
For many, it’s a big deal when Mercury is retrograde, which happens every few months. If that’s a big deal, how much more powerful is when Mercury actually eclipses the Sun, blocking some of the Sun’s light? Also, of all of the Mercurial eclipses this whole century, this one has Mercury closer to the Sun than any other.
Transits of Mercury are also much less common that Lunar Eclipses, and so they too provide the links in time as do any kind of eclipse, even if that means there are fewer links to choose from. With the next lunar eclipse won’t be until 2032. Think about what life will be like in 2032. Who, in your life now, might not still be alive? What new lives may have entered your life? Who will be president? What will climate change look like? What else might be different? This eclipse, like all eclipses, is a moment we and look at time on a longer scale. Do you want to incorporate this into your ritual?
An eclipse is a powerful time that forever strengthens one’s bond to the rest of our Universe, and thus a sacred time for us Naturalistic Pagans – and a good time for a ritual. Rituals are often more powerful if we feel connected to them. To gain that connection, it helps to be involved in the writing and planning of the ritual – whether that’s from scratch or just making minor tweaks. So here are some ideas for rituals – and more can be found with some looking online. For instance, this site has several good rituals, and this closing:
With this eclipse, I am made new again.I am untarnished, whole, and true.
There is nothing weighing me down,
I am free to fly and break through.
One nice thing about a Mercurial eclipse (despite it’s name!) is that nothing happens horribly fast. There is plenty of room to go slowly.
Set up your altar, with a red or black cloth, quarter cauldrons (typical cauldron contents include incense or a feather for East, a candle for South, a seashell or water for West, and a rock or earth for North, many of these on a bed of sand) , and items to be charged by the eclipse reflection of the sunsets & sunrises. You may want to mark the wider ritual circle with a stone at each quarter (and perhaps each cross-quarter).
Like other eclipses, anything under the light of the eclipse can be considered to be charged with the power of the eclipse.
As I write this, That reminds me that a song or chant would be a nice addition to this ritual, too. Whether you celebrate in the path of totality, far from it, or at some other time, may your celebrations be blessed.
* By definition, this is a “transit” (and not an eclipse), because the occulting object is not big enough to cover the entire Sun. However, annular solar eclipses (where the Moon is too far from the Earth to cover the entire Sun) are still called “eclipses”, and in those cases the occulting object is not big enough to cover the whole Sun. So that convention is not strictly followed anyway. I find it simpler to realize that they are all the same basic phenomenon, and so to use the same name. In fact, when one thinks of it this way, we realize that the Earth itself eclipses the Sun for nearly all of us every day. We call that eclipse “night”. We can avoid those eclipses by being in the Arctic during the time around the June Solstice, or in the Antarctic during the time around the December Solstice. What a cool Universe we live in!
The Author: Jon Cleland Host
Starstuff, Contemplating: We are assemblages of ancient atoms forged in stars – atoms organized by history to the point of consciousness, now able to contemplate this sacred Universe of which we are a tiny, but wondrous, part.
Dr. Jon Cleland Host is a scientist who earned his PhD in materials science at Northwestern University & has conducted research at Hemlock Semiconductor and Dow Corning since 1997. He holds eight patents and has authored over three dozen internal scientific papers and eleven papers for peer-reviewed scientific journals, including the journal Nature. He has taught classes on biology, math, chemistry, physics and general science at Delta College and Saginaw Valley State University. Jon grew up near Pontiac, and has been building a reality-based spirituality for over 30 years, first as a Catholic and now as a Unitarian Universalist, including collaborating with Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow to spread the awe and wonder of the Great Story of our Universe (see www.thegreatstory.org, and the blog at evolutionarytimes.org). Jon and his wife have four sons, whom they embrace within a Universe-centered, Pagan, family spirituality. He currently moderates the yahoo group Naturalistic Paganism.