Total eclipse of the sun on the equinox: a unique event to give birth to spring

Everything you need to know to see and enjoy this extraordinary astronomical event and, why not, also astrological. This March 20, 2015, spring equinox, follows the transmission of the eclipse

(Here the information of the Autumn and Spring Equinox of September 22, 2016)

This March 20 presents an extremely unusual astronomical celebration: an eclipse of total sun on the same day as the equinox, the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere (autumn in the south). The total eclipse can be seen in the Arctic and on some islands; partially, throughout most of Europe, North Africa and parts of Asia (in America we will have to "feel it" only, if any, or watch it online).

Co-occurrence is quite rare. The last time the equinox was accompanied by a total solar eclipse was in 1662 (there was a partial solar eclipse in 1681). However, this eclipse opens a new geometric pattern in celestial movements, and will be repeated at intervals of every 19 years: we will have 4 eclipses in the equinox in the 21st century. Like all solar eclipses, it will occur on a new moon and we will be transmitting the different streamings from different parts of the planet here starting at 8am GMT on Friday.

In Reykjavik 97% of the sun will be hidden at 3:37 (Central Mexico time), in Edinburgh, the phenomenon will hide 93% of the sun at 3:35; in London, 84% will be hidden at 3:30; in Brussels, about 80% at 3:37 and 78% in Paris.

In the equinox ( aequs nox : equal night) the day - almost everywhere, except at the poles - lasts almost exactly like the night and the sunrise is aligned exactly with the east and the sunset with the West. The equinox is the most accurate marker of time in nature.

The "hot" area where the eclipse will be seen

Historically, the vernal equinox is one of the great religious holidays (now pagan), celebrated by the most diverse cultures. In most of them, coinciding with the arrival of spring and the beginning of the astrological year (the entrance to the Aries fire sign), the renewal and revitalization of the increase in light is celebrated: the sun rising in Heaven since its symbolic death at the solstice, regaining its strength and radiating the spirit of life to Earth. Easter, as established by the First Council of Nicea, was originally celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon after March 21 or that same March 21 if it were a full moon. This suggests a religious syncretism between the figure of Christ and the mystery religions, linked to fertility and the worship of the sun (Christ being a clear manifestation of the sun) and the mother goddess.

Symbolism and superstition

For those who like to see in the celestial movements a correspondence with the dynamics of the psyche, and in some way dressing what is pure physics and geometry with a symbolic plane, it is interesting to combine the meaning of the vernal equinox with the way in which Ancient cultures saw eclipses. John Milton, in Paradise Lost, seems to synthesize the ancient vision:

As when the Sun, new risen,
Looks through the horizontal misty air,
Shorn of his beams, or from behind the Moon,
In dim eclipse, disastrous twilight sheds
On half the nations, and with fear of change
Perplexes monarchs.

The cross-cultural eclipses, among the Incas, the Chaldeans or the Chinese, to name just a few examples, were considered bad events, black heralds that had to be very careful since they could be messengers of setbacks and catastrophes. In China they were especially feared by monarchs and astronomers who were not able to predict them and even came to be killed.

There are two very obvious readings in this regard. The eclipse refers to the image of the sun being devoured and the defeat of the light and everything associated with the king star (the word eclipse means "abandonment": man is abandoned by the forces of heaven; the Chinese emperor, "the son of heaven, "is abandoned by his father). It is a kind of micro-apocalypse. It is a dark and negative event (but it should not be taken just literally, it is also other things). There are several cultures that represent the eclipse like a dragon that eats the sun. To avoid this process or perhaps in a ritual way with some mythical meaning, tradition in China and elsewhere dictated that during the eclipse people would try to scare the dragon by making noise with drums and saucepans. In some cases it was even possible to shoot fireworks in a lunar eclipse. This previous zafarrancho could be a ritual representation of the strange behaviors and excitement that the eclipse itself produces in certain animals, a kind of operation of sympathetic magic. In India the fight of the sun is assisted, getting into the water. All this bustle of cosmic proportions - the eclipse - was seen by the Tlaxcalan as a domestic fight between the divine couple, the Sun and the Moon.

Also, eclipses were probably considered undesirable by the monarchs because astrologically they are linked to crises, end of era and cycle changes. They are the black heralds of new times, something that is reinforced in the case of solar eclipses by the fact that they coincide with the new moon, which is the time of sowing and renewal, of the new orders. Emperors do not usually like mysterious changes and threats (the cosmos is more unfathomable than its enemies); They prefer to maintain the established order and remain well rooted in their throne.

This interpretation of the eclipse as a black marker of a new phase in the qualitative aspect of time this time finds synchronistic (or synchromistic) support with the arrival of spring. The eclipse will begin at 7:41 GMT and end at 11:50 GMT having its point of greatest intensity at different times in different places; at 22:45 GMT the equinox will occur. We can say, with some simplicity, that the eclipse brings spring.

Astrologically this Monday 16 the seventh and last square between Pluto and Uranus is presented, what for those who follow these geometric dances of archetypes is the astrological event that has defined the last years, starting in June 2012 and supposedly filling the time of difficulties, pressures and losses. So apparently it is good news, although not so fast, since the intense disruptive energy of this quadrature will gradually fade, this as astrologers say.

My way of seeing astrology coincides with the vision of Richard Tarnas and James Hillman, also inspired by Jung's vision, in which the animals of the zodiac and the planets are archetypes that mirror and give richness to the life of the soul . Hillman notes:

Simply, astrology returns events to the Gods. It depends on images taken from the heavens. It invokes a polytheistic, mythical, poetic, metaphorical feeling of what is inevitably real. It is the bearer, for the popular mentality, of the great tradition that holds that we all live in an intelligible cosmos, thus providing human questions with answers rather than human. It forces us to imagine and think in psychologically complex terms. It is polytheistic and therefore goes against the dominant mentality of Western history.

The mystical beauty of the eclipse

Is it not much more plausible that human nature, in all its creative depths and multidimensional summits, emerges from the true essence of the cosmos, and that the human spirit is the very spirit of the cosmos, as modified through us and such How do we represent it? Is it not more likely that human intelligence, in all its creative brilliance, is ultimately the intelligence of the cosmos, which expresses in it its creative brilliance? And that the human imagination is ultimately based on the cosmic imagination?

Richard Tarnas

Personally, the meaning of time eludes me. Nor do I fully understand the meaning of an eclipse, although I feel a mixture of poetic fascination, cosmic terror and enigma. Writing that is an attempt to approach what happens from a look that prioritizes the dimension of meaning to the dimension of facts. Perhaps it is we who project their own ideas and illusions into the cosmos - although there is always the possibility that it is a two-way transmission (and that nature and stars are alive). Anyway, I am more seduced by the idea --primitive or pagan or whatever-- of seeing in the sky a dragon that devours the sun or looking for a moment at the fulminating "eye of God" in the sky and thinking that maybe The eclipse and the equinox and the new moon have certain psychodramatic effects in the world, and not only see the event as a cold and mechanical mathematical fact that has no effect and means nothing more than what it is literally. I prefer to play and convey the possibility that we play with the stars in the metaphorical space, the old ball game in which the actions of men and stars are resonances and secret connections. And what we see is not only what we see, it is also something else.

Finally, for those who feel the skeptic repulsion at the first hint of metaphysics, there is the alternative of all ways to re-enchant the experience, to live it in its deepest aesthetic sense. Following the school of Carl Sagan, astronomy as a detonating mechanism of cosmic astonishment and ontological intrigue. An understanding of cosmic phenomena from the double meaning of the word cosmos, which means both order and beauty. To be part of this cosmos - to be a cosmos that reflects on itself - and to reflect on what happens and our place in the grand scheme of the universe, accept and enjoy that we really do not know. Beauty is what brings us closer to that sense of connection and cosmic sense - which religions call the sacred - but that we do not need dogmas or creeds to experience. Only from one image, that ineffable image of the moon hiding the sun.

We will be broadcasting the eclipse here on March 20 with a streaming from 7:40 GMT for all those who cannot see it live.

Read also: Spring Equinox 2018, the fertility of light

Learn more about the solar symbolism of the equinoxes and solstices

Author's Twitter: @alepholo