Doing Magic during the Solar Eclipse of 2017

       While we use to be cut off from the world by these hills and ridges, we’ve always done things by the sun and moon. With the advancement of technology, more of us have become more knowledgeable about the celestial bodies and how they affect human life. 

       In case you live under a rock, a solar eclipse will happen in the next three days on August 21st. I’ve seen many people of various traditions scurrying across the interwebs trying to sort through the good and bad of this eclipse so they can get their hands on that one magical moment of doing ritual during a “night within a day”. 

       However, every eclipse has other proponents involved beyond the simple symbolism attributed to the alignment of the sun and moon by pagans. I’ve never witnessed a Solar Eclipse, but so far I have mixed feelings regarding the energy of this one. It feels awe-inspiring, energetic, and foreboding. The last Solar eclipse to graze across the plains and hills of North America was in 1979, long before my generation. 

      So with a bit of prodding and chatting with friends from around the globe, this is my take on this Solar Eclipse and how you can best utilize it based on the celestial status of various planets and the past advice of others. 

      First and foremost, a lot of planets are currently in retrograde. As strong as they have been, we’ll most likely continue experiencing the negative effects until after the eclipse when most of them go direct. The planets currently in retrograde are Mercury, Uranus, Neptune, Saturn, Pluto, and Chiron. Personally, I had no fucking clue what Chiron was, but apparently it is a “minor planet” orbiting the sun between Saturn and Uranus. It’s also called a comet. Go figure. 

     In the last few weeks, we’ve seen the effects that these retrogrades have had, paired with the past lunar eclipse and the upcoming solar eclipse. Not too pretty. Based on information that I’ve gathered from various friends who have attempted to work during a solar eclipse before, it is very tough and draining on all levels of the body and can be chaotic for magic. I also heard from a few folks who reported flu-like symptoms for a day or two afterwards, a constant dream-like mentality, trouble focusing for days afterwards, and vomiting shortly after the ritual and quite a bit more later on. 

   Our human bodies are capable of creating magic and manipulating energies during a couple of retrogrades, but with the whole sky pinned against you, the odd activity of energy during this time, and the behavior of earth’s gravity, it seems to have an effect on our bodies and energy quite like a car getting a blown engine. Our systems can get over powered quick with the free flowing energy. 

     Most of them said it was extremely hard to ground, most likely due to the pull of the three celestial bodies during a solar eclipse.  As gravity feels different and the magnetism of the earth, moon, and sun are in alignment, one would think this would create a balanced magical working. Nope. Magical energies apparently go rouge and can’t really be directed, being overpowered by the magnetic force of the solar eclipse and thrown off course by the whole sky sitting in retrograde. Therefore, spells cast during this particular eclipse are likely to either fail, become misdirected, or manifest in vastly unexpected ways. This is mostly due to mercury being retrograde as Mercury governs communication. Your words need to match your intentions to the T in your castings right now. 

      A solar eclipse (without all of these retrogrades and the sun conjuncting with Eta Leonis in Leo’s constellation) is said to be a very auspicious time for magic, that is if your able to properly ground and direct energies during this time. It seems like the retrogrades are acting like magnets placed on an old television screen. Shity. However, the best way to do a work during a normal eclipse may be to simply bring yourself in alignment with the celestial occurrence and literally ride the energy out, from incline and climax to the finish line. Wax and wane with the eclipse. This may help with the grounding issue as well.

      Due to the nature of these retrogrades, I’d say it’s best to do some personal work instead of external, high magic. Speak with your spirits, honor your ancestors, do some inner healing, and sit with your Divines instead of doing magic. However, if you’ve reached this far and you’re steadfast in casting that new badass working you just made, go for it. Better yet, call upon your divines, spirits, and ancestors for aid in the work and ask them to lend energy to the working to safe you the trouble of getting a lacco over a roadrunners head by using your own energy. 

     The bright side of this shitfest is that a solar eclipse is the most powerful dark moon, and on the 21st it will be in cancer. This makes it a perfect time for new beginnings in domestic life, and to get rid of the old baggage clogging your daily and home goals. Be very specific with your words and intentions. Start grounding now and see if that may help as well. From now until the eclipse, ground and center yourself every hour. Narrow it down to about every 30 minutes by Monday. 

      Personally, I will be conversing with the many spirits I work with: the Nunnehi, my Ancestors, and my Divines. As I haven’t heard anything in regards to divination during this event, I will be testing it first hand.  I will also be setting out some oils and washes in the early morning on Monday to charge them and capture the faintest energies of the approaching solar eclipse. They may be faint, but they are powerful. I also cannot wait to see the shadows dance with crescent moons like I’ve heard happens. 

     To be fair, I am in no way an expert in Astrology, Lord knows I don’t have the time for it. But based on my own feelings, the recounted tales of others, and the many retrogrades occurring now I advise against doing a lot of work during the eclipse. I feel it would be better to do so the night before or the early morning on Monday so your work doesn’t get caught in the totality of it. 

     If you do perform anything during the totality, please comment or message the Facebook page and let me know how it went. I would love to hear of your tales!

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Author: Jake Richards

Jake (Dr. Henny) follows family practice as a Yarb Doctor and Conjure man in the Appalachian Folk Magic tradition. He follows the legacy of his mother (a seventh daughter), that left behind by his grandfather, a baptist preacher who was a blood stopper, wort doctor, and thrush doctor; his grandmother, who was a knowledgeable woman in these works before Alzheimer’s set in; his great, great grandfather who witched for water in Washington County and his great grandmother who taught and worked from her roost at the foot of Devil’s Nest Mountain. Jake is the author of Backwoods Witchcraft: Conjure & Folk Magic from Appalachia, available for preorder on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Indiebound. When he's not writing, blogging, reading the bones or trying for clients: he is either traveling, gardening, sewing, book binding, reading, or sculpting. For questions, readings, recommendations for future posts, interviews and the like, you are welcome to email him below:

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