A total solar eclipse will occur next week, on August 21, and it will be the first one in 38 years to be visible from the mainland U.S. It is, as you may have heard from the internet, a pretty big deal. But, in order to understand what the eclipse means for you on a personal level, you'll need to think back a few weeks or even several months.
A new total solar eclipse occurs every 18 months and signals the start of a new spiritual cycle, explains Athena Perrakis, PhD, founder and CEO of Sage Goddess. For instance, before the one that will take place later this month, the most recent total solar eclipse occurred in March 2016. According to Dr. Perrakis, something that was put into motion then will be reaching its end or culmination now: "Ask yourself what was happening back then. Do you see a connection or an echo of a theme? This [month's] solar eclipse is here to tell you, 'Okay, we're done with that now.'"
If spring 2016 wasn't a particularly momentous time for you (or if you can't be bothered to think back that far), you can simply recall August 7 of this year, when we were hit with the double-whammy full moon and partial lunar eclipse. Dr. Perrakis says you can consider any personal changes that have happened during this shorter period of time as a result of the eclipse cycle, too.
Maybe it was a transitional period at work or a rough patch in one of your relationships — whatever it was, it's reaching a head this month, for better or for worse. Each eclipse signals the end of something and the beginning of something else, though you may need to look very closely for that shift to become evident.
"Eclipses mess with your understanding of light and darkness," both literally and figuratively, Dr. Perrakis says, adding that it's in your best interest to avoid performing grand rituals or setting any intentions that might get lost in translation. The day of the eclipse itself may prove disorienting or overwhelming, but, if you're willing to step back and experience the event for what it is, it just might give way to a major revelation — something that will kick off the next 18-month cycle, perhaps.
Overall, eclipses "create an internal transformation that ultimately results in an external transformation," Dr. Perrakis says. A change of heart or mind might be on its way — or you may finally find the answer to a decision you've been putting off for months. Even if you're nowhere near the line of totality (or aren't able to livestream it), rest assured: You will feel the effects of this eclipse just as intensely as everyone else, because it all starts within.