The Eclipse is a bridge into new beginnings

I watched the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge on cable in the early hours of March 26. It felt like a gut punch; seeing the bridge tumble into the water within seconds of the ship ramming into the steel framework reminded me of how fragile one’s perception of the past as permanent can be.

I grew up down the street from the Key Bridge. I recall so many trips going across it: each time we went to see friends in Essex and Dundalk, or when I’d ride with my father on his way to work at the local steel plant. From the top of the bridge, I felt the world beckon me far beyond the pentagon-shaped Fort McHenry glistening out in the bay.

Looking back, I had taken the time to drive across the bridge on my last few trips home, even when I didn’t need to do so – to embrace the feel of the wind and the way the ground would shake beneath the car ever so slightly at the top of its span.

I took for granted that it would be there. It had been for nearly 50 years, and it should have been there for at least 50 more.

Francis Scott Key Bridge


The total solar eclipse on Monday signals new beginnings. Many will travel to experience the brief window of near complete darkness – the stillness, the brief sense of community with others sharing the experience. For those who are not able to travel to the “all-American” path of totality which spans 13 states, there are plenty of opportunities to stream the experience online.

Some couples are taking advantage of the rare moment to walk down the aisle at the height of the eclipse. Couples who married during the last prominent total solar eclipse in the United States on August 21, 2017, recall the unique nature of their ceremonies as the next total solar eclipse approaches in April. One couple got engaged during the last eclipse and now will marry under another.

Why the fuss over an event that happens on a regular basis?

Perhaps because it is happening in so many backyards that are easily accessible to a large population of people.  The previous total solar eclipse in Leo, also called the “Great American Eclipse”, was a cultural moment filled with a sense of urgency to fly or drive to the nearest open air site along the path of totality to revel in the full experience. One of many underlying choices was to choose empowerment of others or overpowering them.  My supervisor at the time was disappointed that he could not join his partner in a remote area of Wyoming to see the full effect from a wide open field courtesy of a rancher friend. Instead, he had to be comforted by the small partial view that occurred since the day was cloudy.

Since then, we have suffered through a pandemic the likes of which could be compared to 1918, which is the last time we had a cross continent total solar eclipse. We lost a great many more people during the pandemic of 1918 than in the recent pandemic; however, in both cases, our lives have been forever tempered and scarred by the sacrifices we made. For some, it was a change in how we view medicine, disease, and our shared human role of caring for each other. For others, it was a change in how we saw our purpose in life.

We asked ourselves what it meant to be human, what it meant to be happy, what it meant to be responsible for ourselves and others  during a time of crisis. Our modern day heroes became public servants and those willing to hold a hand as a loved one lay dying or those willing to see beyond the material.  Many lost jobs or walked away due to circumstances, while other types of jobs rose and flourished.  We adapted new norms, such as holding holiday meals virtually, moving to do work where we lived or even better, honoring our truest desires.

Certain places saw a rise in animals roaming, while humans stayed in lockdown. After all, if the humans were in one place, the animals could do what they like – and did. During the pandemic, we took for granted at times that life would return to a type of “pre-pandemic” normal.

Eclipses are harbingers of change. Perhaps the change is not immediate, but it is going to happen. Like so many events, we may not realize the importance of such change until we glance backwards.  We are in a period of embracing conflict, truth, freedom, and the painful experience of being placed as “other”.

Total Solar Eclipse 2017 [Pixabay]

I had the pleasure of attending and presenting at Sacred Space Conference where many gathered to learn, to bond, to revel, and to embrace what it means to be a part of a larger community that is often “othered” or shunned in the wider world. The disruption of the recent bridge collapse a few days before the start of the conference flavored the proceedings: still recovering from it, we grew closer in the spirit of hospitality and freedom from the brief opening ritual through many conversations over meals, in hallways, between rituals, and on the dance floor. We were one.

Unlike the 2017  total eclipse in Leo, this April total solar eclipse is in Aries, marking the larger collective focus with a forward movement. As the sun is in conjunction with Chiron, we have the perfect time to address our wounds in what might be considered a healing crisis moment.  We are going forward with energy to transform the world around us on an individual and perhaps, a global level.

How many small “ouch” moments have we endured as a global population and as a planet within the past four to five years?  At this time, we confront our goals and desires to make a fresh start.

Blessings to those who are taking the leap into so many new ventures – marriage, a job, a move to a different location, rebuilding what has collapsed in our lives, or simply allowing the transformative nature of time wash over us in preparation for the next step on our journey.

If eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, and there has been much discussion about the role of freedom and democracy in the United States at this time, then perhaps now, at the  pinnacle of a total solar eclipse is an optimal time to bravely examine where we are and to  step into the new. For some, it is a spiritual reset, for others, it is a time to address our need to heal overall.

Solar eclipses are supercharged new moons. In Aries, we can explore blossoming, healing, and transformation. From that standpoint, I view recent events, like the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse as both a sad reminder that nothing stays the same, and an opportunity to embrace the ability to place  a new transformative footprint in its place.  The grief that comes from the loss of six lives and the destructive impact on a community and our national economy can be transmuted into determination to craft a newer stronger bridge in a manner that will heal on a larger scale. With a new bridge, we have blossoming, liberty, and freedom.

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