I was in high school the last time I remember it happening. Bored in Psychology class, we were let out onto campus in the eerily, near-totality grey light. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced, and while solar eclipses are fairly common, to be in the path where the sun is swallowed whole is a rare sight. We students wandered for a few minutes feeling as if the world we knew was not our own until, finally, the sun came forth again. While it was brief, it had an impact on me. I do not remember too many high school moments with such clarity, and this is one of them.
Here in the USA on August 21st we have a sweeping solar eclipse across the continent, starting off in Oregon and moving southeast, finally leaving us in South Carolina. Some places will have nearly 3 minutes of totality. Not be repeated for another 17 years.
Solar eclipses have played a fundamentally important role throughout human history, often portending God's displeasure--foretelling disease, famine, and general calumny.
Solar eclipses have also fueled scientific inquiry, helping to confirm Einstein's theory of relativity as well as understanding gravitational variations by large objects.
Pre-Enlightenment, many cultures thought that an eclipse meant that the sun was being actively swallowed. The Vietnamese believed the Sun was eaten by a frog for example, the Vikings: consumed by wolves, and the Chinese understood that the sun was being swallowed by a celestial dragon.
Metaphorically, these stories are important to the human condition. It is interesting to me that cultures many, many miles apart developed similar mythological conclusions about a celestial event. As a tarot reader, narratives are important: they help us find the commonality of what it means to be human, and as humans, how we make meaning.
So I propose a very simple two-card spread to celebrate and investigate what an inner eclipse feels like in your own spiritual and emotional landscape.
Want to download and share? Feel free, here is a file for you to do just that.
As always, I love your stories, tell me yours, what is the nature of your dragon, and what does he wish to hide?
Rarely in tarot spreads do I see ones intended to go looking for trouble specifically. Usually we apply helpful, positively attuned spreads when meeting personal crisis and decision making. However, in spirit of Halloween and the traditional dark side the holiday engenders, I have created a “give it to me straight, no chaser” tarot spread for the upcoming year. The timeline also in keeping to the traditional "new Year' focus, sundown of Halloween is considered the start of the New Year in many traditional and modern pagan belief systems.
Oddly enough this spread idea came to me at 3am, unable to sleep until I wrote it, the Horsemen were collectively neighing at my bed until I wrote this in the dead of night, gruesome spreads from the Witching Hour? Sure!
In this spread I have chosen our noble tarot Knights to stand in as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. What news and messages of death and destruction (if any) will we receive this year? Do you dare ask? Seriously, If you cannot and are not prepared for possible bad news, this is your public service announcement; “Do not, I repeat, do not attempt this spread at home.” Just leave it alone and pull out your angel deck, it's gonna be alright, healing white light surrounds you... However if you are a bit macabre like myself, then please...continue...
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse is outlined with great clarity in the book of Revelations:
The chapter tells of a book or scroll in God's right hand that is sealed with seven seals. The Lamb of God, or Lion of Judah (Jesus Christ), opens the first four of the seven seals, which summons four beings that ride out on white, red, black, and pale horses. Although some interpretations differ, in most accounts, the four riders are seen as symbolizing Conquest,  War, Famine,  and Death, respectively. The Christian apocalyptic vision is that the four horsemen are to set a divine apocalypse upon the world as harbingers of the Last Judgment (Wiki)
The White Horse
“Then I saw when the Lamb broke one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, “Come.” I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.”
The Red Horse
“When He broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come.” And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him.”
The red horse I will attribute to our Knight of Wands. Full of vim and vigor, our hot blooded fire-related suit could turn warlike if reversed, I am also reading this as conflicts.
The Black Horse
“When He broke the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, “Come.” I looked, and behold, a black horse; and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; but do not damage the oil and the wine.” REV 6: 5-6
The Pale Horse
When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come.” I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth.” REV 6:7-8
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse Spread
To demonstrate, I pulled this reading for someone who has had a recent devastating loss. This is someone who I love very much but can often feel at a loss as to how best help her during her time of bereavement.
I know that once the funeral and the wake are over and everyone goes back to their normal, the bereaved must face the days of new normal and often when they need it most they are bereft of support, others have "gotten over it" already.
Hanged Man Tarot