Engaging consciously with the eclipse energy is the best thing you can do to harness the powerful forces present during this month. Most potently, eclipses act to conceal and reveal the depths of our psyche and the power of our spirit. Anything hidden in the shadows of our unconscious must be brought to light, and the light of our consciousness needs to reflect what is most important to us. Events like this inevitably stir up old wounds, challenge our perceptions of ourselves and others, and reflect our inadequacies back to us in ways that they must be addressed.
If we do not address what comes up with this eclipse, then what is left undealt with will continue to dominate our lives, actions, and decisions for a long time to come. The only way to deal with and process what is revealed through the solar eclipse is with patience, acceptance, and gratitude. Patience helps us to take things one step at a time, acceptance allows us to be kind to ourselves through the process, and gratitude reveals the gift of whatever is showing up for us.
There is always a gift. In fact, it is within the darkest reaches of our psyche that our greatest gifts lie. This opportunity to bring them into the light is precious. Rather let them continue to hide in the shadows, use the revelatory power of this month to bring them to the fore and transmute what may at first feels like heaviness or darkness into light.
This is an old alchemical process that each of us is empowered to do this month. It started with the full moon and partial lunar eclipse in Aquarius on August 7th that challenged us to defy expectations, grow beyond our limiting beliefs, and follow our flashes of inspiration to align with what is best for us. As the light of the moon is eclipsed, and darkened, we are more easily triggered, quicker to anger, or cast judgment….these are opportunities to notice what is hiding in our shadow! Our triggers show us what we are passionate about, our anger reveals the depth of our love, and judgment shows where we ourselves are not yet free.
All of this invaluable information -- this darkness -- is brought back into the light with the solar eclipse during the new moon in Leo on August 21st. This is our chance for the alchemical shift of our darkness into light, or the proverbial transformation of “lead into gold.” This is a metaphorical movement of our spirit as we take what has been revealed to us this month to no longer serve us and start leaning toward the light. We do this by maintaining elevated focus and intention during this time, and concentrating all of our energy on elevating our hearts and minds.
Luckily, the influence of Leo (which is ruled by the sun) on this eclipse encourages us to shine brightly, during this process of self-revelation. A close relationship with Mercury begs us to carefully measure our words, and make sure they carry the truth and light of our being. Uranus is on hand during the eclipse to deliver flashes of insight that help to lead us toward our most inspired lives, and Pluto sits by and waits for us to make the hard…but right…choices for ourselves.
If we do, if we speak carefully, move forward into our own shadow to reveal our brightest light, we will be rewarded with the courage to move from our own heart center and choose the life we’ve been waiting for. Do the work. Exit this eclipse shining like the sun and expand your elevated energy out into the world!
Alchemical Ritual for the Leo New Moon and Solar Eclipse
As a fire sign, Leo is passionately driven toward an exuberant expression of self and reveling in the company and attention of others. On the low side, Leo becomes aggressive or arrogant, or the opposite: shy with a lack of self-confidence. This new moon ritual for Leo emphasizes the high side of Leo so that we step out of the shadow, into our own light and present it to the world with joy and love.
Leo's ruler is the sun, which represents the light of full consciousness. However, if the sun burns too brightly, it singles all those who touch it. And, without the sun, it leaves others cold and unfeeling. Leo’s inherent warmth must be generous, and humble; the perfect combination to allow Leo’s energy to shine appropriately. To keep Leo’s energy elevated in this ritual, gather yellow stones such as citrine, topaz or jasper, and place them in the center of your ritual space. You may also place your sacred items in a gold (or gold-colored) bowl or chalice, as gold compliments the sun.
Bring in the fire element in some way, by surrounding your ritual space with candles. Fire, being the inherent energy of the sun. Frankincense oil may be used to anoint your third eye and solar plexus chakra before and after the ceremony. Use sage, sweet grass or palo santo to cleanse yours and the space by casting smoke over yourself and encircling your own body three times. Light your candles and dim the lights. Sit in the center of your space and bring the hands together at the heart center. Close the eyes, and turn the inner gaze to the third eye and say the following invocation aloud:
Sun, light my way so that I may shine brightly for the benefit of all.
Do one round of a yogic breath called skull-shining (kapalabhati) to ignite the inner flame and fan it toward the third eye, allowing you to clearly see how to bring the fullest expression of yourself into the world. Place one hand on the abdomen as you sharply exhale through the nose. Repeat this rapidly for 10 - 20 repetitions. The sensation is the same as blowing the nose, or coughing as you use the abdominal muscles to push the air to the top of the nasal passages, and then out the nose. Allow the inhale to be passive, as the shoulders stay relaxed and the mouth stays closed.
After the skull-shining breath, resume normal breathing and notice the energy shift in the body. Ask yourself silently: “How may I best be of service to others?” Allow time for a subtle answer. It may be one you expect, or not! Whatever answer comes is the right one for you at this time. Hold your hand over your upper belly as you breathe into the answer you receive and feel it take hold of you, inside and out.
When complete, turn the internal gaze to the third eye and chant Om three times. Snuff the candles and write down the answer that you received (either on paper or as a reminder on your phone), so that you place your attention on it daily until sharing your gift becomes a natural extension of your daily life. This ritual allows you to know your purpose, understanding that the fullest expression of yourself is the greatest gift you give to the world.
By Alanna Kaivalya
Alanna believes Yoga is for everyone and each student can develop the self-empowerment needed to embark on a personal journey to meaningful transformation. On this principle she founded The Kaivalya Yoga Method, a fresh take on yoga emphasizing the individual path while honoring tradition. Teaching students since 2001, teachers since 2003, Alanna has written and developed teacher trainings worldwide for top studios and independently. In January she debuted a comprehensive 200hr-online teacher training with YogaDownload. She holds a Ph.D. in Mythological Studies with an Emphasis in Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute, has authored numerous articles and two books: Myths of the Asanas, an accessible practitioner’s guide to stories behind beloved poses; Sacred Sound, a yoga “hymnal,” illustrating the role of chant and mantra in modern practice. Look for her third book, Yoga Beyond the Mat, in Autumn 2016.She lives in New York City with Roxy the Wonderdog.
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