My husband the engineer is packing eclipse glasses, road maps, and a cooler full of sandwiches. I'm packing every red/yellow/orange crystal I own—citrine and tiger's eye, calcite and carnelian. I'm also bringing something I'm calling Coming Into the Light tincture, full of herbs with solar properties and fire essences. Cinnamon and orange and rosemary.
This is Leo energy in a bottle. Leo is the sign of fixed fire, ruled by the Sun, and as such, has many of the same associations as The Sun in the tarot (the Sun is primarily associated with Strength, but more on that later). Leo governs our creativity, and like the lion that is its symbol, evokes courage and charisma and confidence. Leo roars. It's good energy to channel during an eclipse, and since this eclipse occurs when the Sun is in the sign of Leo, it's going to pack a double punch.
And do we ever need it. Because even though a solar eclipse is about the sun, it's also about the shadow. Every time I watch the news, I feel that shadow. We have evoked this shadow, make no mistake, and it must be heeded and healed before it will return to its proper role in our lives (and it does have one). A shadow is substance plus light, and in order for the Great American Shadow to heal, we have to look hard at the substance it is revealing. Look hard and good for a very long time. Let the Light shine brightly on it. This is going to burn. It is going to be painful, and the tendency will be to turn away. But we must not. We must keep shining the clear light of truth.
That's what eclipses symbolize, after all—profound, often cataclysmic, change. Astronomer Natalia Kuna explains it thusly:
"First, we have an intense 'power outage' that knocks you right out, and then it is followed by a heightened renaissance: an amped up 'power surge.' In other words you go through a cycle of great intensity that leads to amplified light and growth."(You would do well to read her entire article if you want to put The Great American Eclipse into perspective.)
This eclipse begins and ends in Leo, but the very next day, the Sun moves into the sign of Virgo, the sign of sovereignty and service and healing, joining the New Moon there as well. This is where the Strength card will come into play, the card traditionally associated with Leo in the tarot. There is a Lion on this card too, but instead of being in full roaring bluster, this Lion has been subdued by the quiet presence of a maiden. Not injured, simply returned to a state of calmness. This is the strength of non-violent control, of composure, of relentless, unswerving dedication. No whips, no chairs. Only love, which is at the heart of any true Virgo endeavor (don't let the rules and fussiness fool you—Virgos have enormous depths of compassion).
May the light of Leo shine like the Sun, and even in the dark of the shadow, may you remember that you have a heart of fire. A lion heart. May it be guided by compassion and strength. May this be true, like the eclipse, from sea to shining sea.