Thoughts on The Total Solar Eclipse 2017 & The Illumination of Ancient Ireland, Land of The Rising Sun

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Todays Full Solar Eclipse was a remarkable event, which wont be repeated until 2090 based on the latest estimates from NASA. The States were extremely luck to have perfect viewing conditions and I watched the live footage from Oregon absolutely fascinated. Unfortunately here in the West of Ireland, it had been raining all day and the cloud cover completely obscured any view we might have had.

This is my third Solar eclipse, the last was about two years ago and I remember how blinding bright it was beforehand and how everyone left the library I was working in, to go outside and observe this rare opportunity.

tumblr_m9m1u0YtGb1rfnh9co1_500The first Solar eclipse I remember was when I was quite young and it was a hot summers day. My mum and brother had prepared a pin hole camera from a cardboard box and we set it up in the back garden, which is on a hill so has a good vantage point.

I remember the awe and wonder I felt, the same I felt today at seeing how the flickering fires of the sun was slowly devoured by the moon, the shock of total darkness and the joy, when we saw the sun emerge again unscathed.

lunar-eclipse-december-2010-nasa-keithburns.jpgI have seen a few Lunar eclipses, which are vastly different to a Solar eclipse and will be talking more again about how the moon affects us.

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Today’s Solar Eclipse has excited an interest in space and astronomy that hasn’t been seen in a long time. I hope it inspires people to think more globally, rather then insularly.

The excitement has been such that bands, celebrations and eclipse viewing parties were held all over the world and a new drink was even invented for the occasion!:)

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The wonderful thing about todays eclipse is that it encourages people to look up from their phones, to pay attention to all the wonder and beauty around them and to live in the present moment.

I freely admit, I could not live without my phone. Like almost everyone, it is so much more then just a phone to me. I use it to make calls and texts of course but it is also my alarm clock, my meditation app, my weather app, period app, my email, news, Facebook, blog, camera, recorder,  internet browser, google drive, documents, notebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Youtube, Files, Gallery, Calendar, Music, Videos, Calculator, Radio, Mirror, Torch…

 Mobile phones have become everything to us and because of the very nature of their portability, they have become an essential part of life.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my phone, I depend on my phone. It is an absolute necessity to me living in the 21st century and in so many ways, I cannot emphasise enough how mobile phone technology has enhanced our lives.

I can apply for a job, write a blog post, take photos, videos, talk to anyone anywhere in the world and a million other things but there is a dark side.

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By spending all our time on our phones, heads down, gaze concentrated between our hands, we miss so much. We miss seeing all the beauty around us, the look of love a mother gives her child, the silent caress of a lover, a stunning sunset, the joy in a good meal…

We forget to live in the present moment but maybe we can find a middle ground. If we even took a few minutes each day to set aside the phone, to just be present, the rewards will be immeasurable.

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Todays Solar Eclipse made me think about the rich heritage we are fortunate to have here in Ireland. The eclipse has reminded me of how people have always looked up to the sky and wondered in awe.

Ancient monuments built by our ancestors remind us of how universal and deep is the fascination of humans with the movements of planets and celestial bodies, the cycles of the Moon and Sun and their effects on our planet.

Newgrange is without a doubt, Ireland’s most famous monument built by the ancients to mark the day of the winter solstice using the light of the rising sun to pinpoint the exact place to build their astonishing monument. Every year there is a lottery of Irish Citizens who wish to stand inside the inner chamber and witness this marvel of light and stone, and hopefully, I too will see it for myself someday.

 

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Newgrange solstice 3D model Sean Doran 1

The Hill of Tara is another famous site built around the ancient’s fascination of the moon, sun and stars and their great knowledge of astronomy. The depth and scale of these sacred places leave a lasting effect on all those who visit there.

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The famous Dolman in Co.Clare in the Burren is another example of this advanced understanding of our ancestors off the cosmos.

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Coming closer to home, I remember being blown away by learning the fact that the beautiful village of Cong is based on an axis of Ley lines, [great lines of energy crossing the earth], a nexus point of vital earth energies.

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If you stand at the top of Ballymacgibbon Cairn in Cong, you will realise that it was built on a direct line with Crough Patrick, a important place long before Christianity existed.

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The cairn lines up with Cong’s Stone Circle and if you were to draw lines connecting the cairn, circle and mountain on a map, you would start to realise the importance and significance our ancestors paid to the turning of the seasons, the movement of the stars and the sacredness of the land.

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Another example of the incredible attention of our ancestors to their surroundings below.

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In conclusion, I just want to say how glad I was to see the eclipse today, if not with my own eyes, at least live on tv and how glad I am that every one of you who took time out of their day, to stop and stand and stare, were there also.

Although the total Solar eclipse is over and wont be happening for another seventy years, it is important not to forget the many other wondrous cosmic events such as meteorite showers, solar flares, lunar eclipses and other phenomena that occur so often but apart from a very few, go mostly unnoticed.

The breathtaking beauty of witnessing the rise of the life-giving sun casting its luminous light over stone, illuminating that which cannot be seen at any other time of year, is in a word, magical.

I will bid you goodnight, gentle reader and leave you with this stunning photo of a remote forgotten hilltop, where the wild grasses grew and dance in the breeze and where stone kisses the sun.

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