A Total Eclipse of the Heart From Kansas

08.29.2017 Arts & Culture
Kristina Pedersen
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Last Monday, August 21st, 14 states witnessed the total eclipse known as The Great American Eclipse. It was the first total eclipse visible from the continental United States since 1979. I joined Kansas City’s Aquarius Organization of Astrologers on Smithville Lake to view the spectacle.

I woke up on Monday worrying about other things. By 8am it was pouring. The sky was making much more noise than water though. It was like a dog that knows a storm is coming, except it’s a storm that knows a brief kind of death is coming too. The sky was throwing a fit and the weatherman on TV seemed a little too amused.

Citing traffic as their primary motivator, some people had left at 6am to get situated in the shadow’s path. As a general rule, people are more afraid of traffic than death itself. There was no traffic and I arrived at the lake early. Though the rain had stopped, the sky was a mean blue gray and it lit the surrounding trees and lake with a vengeance of color. You would have been kidding yourself if you didn’t think you were standing beneath a furious storm — but alas, no rain.

The AOA had reserved a shelter in the park right on the lake, the group’s vibes reeked of a seasoned and eternal chill: the shelter crowded with tie dye, gardeners hats, linen (both pants and shirts), pendants of turquoise and otherwise, souvenir t-shirts from caves and trails and mountains and deserts and legal marijuana dispensaries. Enya was playing through the PA. People talked about ordinary things like Facebook and online classes and they traded their favorite conspiracy theories. People exchanged signs (sun, moon, rising).

Most people were from the Kansas City area. It is hard to stress the friendliness of Kansas-Cityans because everyone in the Midwest claims the badge. Minnesota friendliness is a neighborhood-kept patch of strawberries in the summer, Wisconsin friendliness is found in the depths of a fridge full of cold beer and cheese sandwiches, Illinois friendliness is ruined completely by unreasonably aggressive driving and Cubs fans, and Kansas City friendliness is a splintering of a million wrinkles around an aged pair of perpetually smiling eyes.

I sit with a group of old spelunking friends. They are a calm, almost distracted bunch. “We are not racists,” one of them tells me. In the Midwest, it can be hard not to bring it up. They air their grievances about the recent gerrymandering by the state of Missouri and we talk about the political about-face we are hoping for with the eclipse. “There’s no stopping them,” Randy (Taurus) says, sinking his face defeatedly into his hands and his hands into his arms and his arms deep into the table. They are hoping this eclipse will be the sign we are all seeking. “We are all one,” says Thomas (another Taurus), “and maybe this is a way to engage. We all need to remember that if you can put your ego aside, you will see that we are co-creating this reality.”

David, an Aquarius with an old voice that is shaky but sure, comes running into the shelter yelling, “Sun’s out!” People are high-fiving; the eclipse has begun and the clouds have cleared.

As the moon eats away at the sun, I talk with Thomas. He tells me, in great detail, about the genetic/spiritual experiment being conducted on us (harvest is low in the spiritual realm these days/epoch). He tells me about a job he once passed on to a friend when he was younger. “Though I got good karma from it in the end I suppose, I passed on it because I was lazy.” Good karma vs. productivity is one of the more central points of existential crisis in the West. Productivity is winning.

Julia, the astrologer who organized the event, spoke with me about this eclipse. “An eclipse is like a New Moon on steroids,” Julia said. “The nature of the New Moon is to wash away the dirt and to make a clearing for a fresh spring.” Julia told me that eclipses are mundane influences, astrologically speaking, meaning that they do not affect individuals and would not necessarily affect you personally. Rather, these influences affect large groups: societies, industries, groups of people. “This eclipse is specifically contained in the USA. Each eclipse falls within its own Soros cycle, and a 3,000 year Soros cycle has a birth and death with a corresponding birth chart that dictates its identity. This specific Soros cycle has been traced back to Kennedy and Clinton, and many astrologers are reading into that historical context. What’s going to happen to Trump? Who knows, but there is, of course, a lot of drama and people are hoping for some kind of clean, fresh start.”

Julia tells me that if you do happen to have a connection to Regulus, the ruling star of this eclipse in Leo (which Donald Trump does, as does Bill Clinton), then you might see a nice push, like a wind behind your back, pushing you up (sometimes even beyond your abilities). However, Regulus is the granter of luck and royalty, and if you take advantage of these positions, it’s very easy to self-destruct — so this eclipse may just bring your comeuppance.

At 12:39pm, exactly 30 minutes before totality, it rains again. Over the next half hour the rain peters out but a great monolith of a cloud covers the sun completely. It has grown noticeably darker making it hard to tell if it was from the wall of clouds bricking us in or from the disappearance of the sun, as if we didn’t really believe it could be happening if we didn’t see it.

And then almost immediately, just before 1:09pm, it was night. There was a sunset all around  us and a sickly orange glowed on the horizon of every corner of the lake. The rain cloud yielded to our posi-vibes and made a clearing of no less than a ten foot radius at the exact moment of totality. And there was the corona, strange enough to burn in your brain and brief enough to linger there in mystery forever. It was like being absolutely sure you saw a ghost but not sure enough to talk about it for many years.

After totality, local medium Patricia leads us in an appropriately moving meditation. She invites us to breathe in first a white light (for cleansing), and then a pink light (for divine love) and then a violet light (for purity and transfusion and the power to transform our experiences into wisdom). There were sniffles behind me, and then there were weeps.

Immediately after the eclipse the sky broke open and there a torrential rain shared its feelings. It was the kind of un-drivable rain that puts you to sleep, a bass of constant rumble rocking you in no particular direction to the shush of pouring water. It felt almost too physical, too obvious a manifestation of the cleansing we all hoped would come. It is a rain that we are all desperately hoping pours into the hearts of our nation.

And maybe in the end it all really is just weather — but life is consensual and the cleansing can come if you let it.

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