Eclipse Exposure

My recent post about eclipsed attracted a lot of attention on Facebook and provoked quite a bit of dialogue, as well as some strong pushback. My friend (and collaborator at Living Sankrit) Shivani Hawkins shared my post and had to deal with dozens of comments, as well as lots of pushback. The resistance was mainly from folks who want to see the eclipse and interpret anything cautious as being fear-based, superstitious, or the result of cultural indoctrination.

Check out her lovely and carefully-explained response here:

Another way to consider exposure to an eclipse is like exposure to the Sun – some of us choose to wear a hat. Some choose sunblock or just stay indoors in the shade.

Some of us might not notice the effect of over-exposure right away, or may not notice the cumulative effect.

But if you’ve aligned yourself with Dharmic teachings and practices and beliefs, perhaps it is wise to honor the common wisdom and observances of the source culture, so long as they aren’t actually harming anyone. Because Fear Of Missing Out is definitely a symptom of Rahu’s influence!

I remember in high school when my buddies made fun of me for wearing sunblock while we were out surfing. Then when we visited Hawaii, they got so burned by the tropical sun they could hardly lay down and barely slept for days. After a week, their skin peeled off painfully in thick layers.

When I saw them again at our high school reunion, they all looked like old fishermen with deeply wrinkled skin. Which was kind of cool, actually, but what about skin cancer later in life?

Being that my mom’s a redhead, I am easily burned and always knew I needed to be careful. Folks regularly say that I look young for my age, especially as a surfer and sailor, and sun protection is certainly a major reason why.

How does this apply to the Eclipse? Rahu (the demon that causes eclipses) figures prominently in my birth chart, and I lived through Rahu Mahadasha earlier in life. It was a chaotic, exhausting, yet rewarding time. Rahu is mysterious, and may be fantastically and inexplicably rewarding, yet is described in Shastra as being like, ‘A head on a cart rolling through a crowd shouting obscenities.’

My birth chart closely matches some of the most extreme ups-and-downs of those years, because I bouncing around from goal to goal with little awareness of the karmas driving my ambition. In other words, I got a LOT of exposure and did not use much protection.

So I really don’t need more of that drama. Right now I just want to focus on work and productivity. No desire for more identity-rending self-inquiry and the potential personal disruption caused by obsession, so I’m going to play it cool and lay low during this eclipse. I’ve enjoyed enough Rahu behavior for several lifetimes!

Point being that it’s juvenile to accuse anyone of being afraid or weak or superstitious because they choose to be cautious or engage skillfully in ways that seem unfamiliar or illogical.

Really, it’s lovely to see the wide variety of ways folks engage skillfully with a cosmic power according to their spiritual lineage, cultural customs, or personal observances.

If you’re aware of what’s going on, and expanding your freedom by choosing accordingly, you’re already bringing light of consciousness into the darkness of ignorance regardless of what you do.

Thanks to Shivani Hawkins for writing this lovely in-depth explanation of why Hindu and Buddhist cultures take eclipses so seriously. If you’d like to see more of her writing, check her out on social media. If you’d like to learn more about Hindu dharma from her, myself, and several other wonderful teachers, please check out our online school, Living Sanskrit: