In a few days there will be a complete solar eclipse visible over much of the United States. For folks familiar with what eclipse season is all about, no one is surprised by this and what it's been stirring up. I've already written about herbal allies for eclipse season, because we all deserve to heal in community and not isolation. Star priestess Chani Nicholas guides us through the season with her wisdom writing:
These are complex days. Dense with the personal homework assigned to us. Loaded with the personal significance of each mission. Ladened with the opportunity to set new patterns for ourselves, our work and our lives. Whatever we do during eclipse season has an incredible staying power attached to it. We cannot control what happens, but every time we choose our integrity over our fear, we choose what is life-affirming over what is life-constricting. Every time we choose our integrity over our fear, we choose what is growth-enhancing over what keeps us bound up and unable to access our agency. Every time we choose our integrity over our fear, we choose to commit a little bit more to our path and divest a little more energy from what prevents us from fulfillment.
Traditionally, eclipses weren't seen as the best portends in traditional medical astrology, but modern understandings have given eclipses much needed nuance. What eclipses do best is reveal. Their revelatory powers are far-reaching and without restraint which means they can reveal the awful things we hide away from and the beautiful paths we thought we had lost forever. It's one of the reason that eclipses are often seen as potential catalysts for times of great healing. Profound healing, though, usually only happens after a period of profound pain.
(And for those of you who read that last sentenced and focused on the profound pain part - because, I mean, who’s not anxious and struggling and in pain these days - read it again and place all the emphasis on profound healing. Because that’s the miracle - the healing, no matter how deep our pain, is always deeper and waiting for us. You got this, starry-hearted one.)
While we have no control over what might be revealed in our lives and our culture at large, we do have choice on how we will greet these revelations. Tarot is one of the tools within our magickal culture that can help prepare us for what lies ahead. And so, a tarot spread for eclipse season.
The following spread can be adapted in a different ways for different needs as explained below. The primary purpose of The Solar Eclipse Tarot Spread is to help you connect with your celestial self while also revealing what's being stirred up in your life in order for you clear the path for your energy to flow freely. I have also done a sample reading with recommended actions so that you can get an idea of how tarot can be used as part of a healing practice. Consider it a very small preview into my new ecourse, The Tarot Apothecary.
The Eclipse Season Tarot Spread
The spread is only three cards: a Sun, a Moon, and a Shadow card. You for how you choose your Sun and Moon cards. You can either choose them based off of your Sun sign and Moon sign and the astrological correspondences to the tarot deck or just choose them at random. You could actually do both by doing the spread twice which has some interesting advantages. The first time you do the spread, cast the Sun and Moon cards at random which will give you insight into the energies of right now and the immediate present. Then, the second time you do the spread, choose your Sun and Moon card based on your natal signs which will give you a glimpse into long-standing issues in your life. Of course, there's overlap between these two methods (our short-term issues are often just symptoms of long-term ones), so it’s up to you to discern what is needed in your life.
The Sun Card : Represents your inherent vitality or energy. Some of us seem to have endless sources of energy, while others move at a much slower pace. In addition to our inherent vitality, the Sun also describes our will, how easily we direct our will, and our willingness to live our life as we want. To help you interpret the Sun card, start with the following sentence:
My energy is inherently…
Example : If you pull Temperance you might say that “My energy is inherently seeking balance and harmony. When out of sorts I tend to run hot then cold, easily falling from one extreme to another. But when I feel strong in myself my energy is unflustered and focused.”
The Moon Card : Represents the way that energy flows through our body. In other words, it is our primary mode of expression, especially around emotions. The Moon transforms the raw energy of the Sun into story and myth. To help you interpret the Moon card, start with the following sentence:
I express myself easiest when…
Example : Pulling Justice for your Moon card might create the following sentence: “I express myself easiest when I feel like I am advocating for fairness and speaking my story from a place of just intent.”
The Shadow Card : The Shadow card shows the place where your energy is not transforming into easy expression. In more traditional tarot speak, this is the obstacles or challenges card. Within The Solar Eclipse Tarot Spread it is the card that illustrates what is being revealed to you by the eclipse. It’s not always easy stuff to look at, but the card that shows up here is not meant to be a roadblock but a path. It can also help you discover what it is you have to share with the world. For when our Sun and Moon align we are able to channel our energy with effective and purpose. To help you interpret the Shadow card, start with the following sentence:
My shadow reveals…
Example : If you pull the Four of Wands, for example, you might say, “My shadow reveals that my energy is blocked somewhere within my home life. I don’t feel welcome in my own life. But the promise of the Four of Wands is that there is a home for all of us. That I’ll be able to express my inherent gifts with ease when I learn to take up more space in my own life and trust that I deserve a loving place to call home.”
If you're struggling to understand the Shadow card, I recommend pulling one to three helper cards to give you more insight.
Putting it All Together : Examining the three cards from our sample spread together, we can see that the inherently harmonizing energy of the querent is seeking out harmonious spaces - but struggling to find them. So, I might recommend working on the actual physical space of the home and body to allow for more ebb and flow of energy. This could be working on coordinating who you know you are within to how you dress and act in the world. I would recommend allowing for greater fluidity of self-expression during the time surrounding the eclipse.
Justice as the Moon card lets us know that we’re dealing with someone who has a strong sense of right and wrong in the world. It’s a gut feeling and when the querent senses injustice and they can’t rest until they feel things have been put right. Paying attention to the Shadow card, I would propose that something feels unjust in the place that the querent calls home. It could be that they feel unmoored from their homeland due to injustice. Or that they wish to live more justly, whether through their consumption choices or how they live, but for some reason they feel blocked. Maybe it’s fear of rocking the boat too much (something that they might struggle to do considering their balance-seeking Temperance Sun card). I would suggest a meditation on practicing just action as a way of bringing themselves and their world back into balance.
I would also recommend keeping the Four of Wands on their altar as an inspirational image and reminder that harmonious spaces will generate patterns of harmony within themselves. That they should make choices in their life that flow with their values as opposed to feeling like what they want is out of sync with who they are currently.
So there it is, my take on a tarot spread for eclipse season. You can use this spread year after year and not just for solar eclipses, but lunar ones as well. And you can use it to check-in on how energies are settling in your life after eclipse season has passed. If you're looking for more eclipse season magick, check out my previous blog on herbal allies for eclipse season.
I'll end with an eclipse season blessing for all my magickal kin, my witchsisters, and edgewalkers, because we could all do with a little more blessedness in our lives.
Eclipse Season Blessing
When the round dark
of the eclipse takes hold of sky
and runs a quickstep of shadow across land
When the mirror of the galaxy beating in your chest
is held before you
When you look into its limitless reflection
May you greet whatever is seen
with the same look of the first real compassionate person in your life
(whether known or unknown, met or yet met)
who saw you
and wept in the knowing of your beauty
and vowed to keep you well and safe
even though they knew it to be an impossible task
they knew even more that you were the starting point of miracles
that you have always been worth impossibility
because you have always been worthy
you are worthy