Some people need an excuse to party and I think I've come up with one for July. After all, there are no major holidays after July 4th until Sept. 7, 2009, Labor Day. However,on July 22, 2009, there's going to be an unusuallyÂ lengthy total eclipse of the sun (visible in some part of the world - most notably, India and China). If you are well-heeled (got bucks) you still have time to book yourself on one of the many Solar Eclipse tours that will take you to the best viewing spots in India (Darjeeling) and Bhutan or over to China, reportedly the best viewing locations for this spectacular phenomenon. Researching the net, I found many opportunities to book a Solar Eclipse tourÂ - or even another one ,later on to view another eclipse in a different part of the world (Moon and Sun eclipses seem to occur once or twice per year). The tour that most appealed to me was managed by Astronomy professors, but there are many tour varieties - including some that will also stop at various wondrous tourist attractions in exotic locations. Some of these tours book years in advance, but given the economy, you might luck out and land a spot or two.
To be precise about the July 22 eclipse: This July 22 eclipse will be the longest total solar eclipse in the 21st Century; another one like this will not occur until 2132 (long past my bed time). This unusually long eclipse is expected to last up to 6 minutes, 39 seconds. It will be visible from a narrow corridor through northern India, northern Bangladesh, Bhutan, the northern tip of Myanmar, central China and the Pacific Ocean, including the Ryukyu Islands (Okinawa). You can view the total eclipse in such cities as Surat, Hangzhou and Shanghai.Â A partial eclipse will be visible from most of South East Asia and northeastern Oceania. If you happen to live near these locations, hooray for you - you will experience a once in a lifetime Eclipse!Â However, if you don't, I am sure you can catch the views on CNN or YouTube or other up-to-the-moment news channels some time on the 21st or before. The news media (such as it is, these days) is likely to start buzzing about the Eclipse a week or so before it occurs. Consider this an early heads-up (but remember as you get close to the actual Eclipse, not to look at the sun directly and to wear your sunglasses if the Eclipse is not a total black-out in your area). Also, in some locations, you won't see it at all (Don't let the sun catch you crying).
I say: time to plan an Eclipse Party.
July 22 falls on a Wednesday; July 21st is Tuesday depending on where you live. Not exactly an optimal party night, but hey, we're talking really, really long total eclipse. Celebrate! Invite your friends over for a drink (how about a Tequila Sunrise?) and some snacks (don't forget the sunflower seeds) and whatever other appetizers you may want to serve. Finish off with a sweet treat: an ice cream sundae. (I suggest a mix of vanilla and chocolate, with a few Oreo cookies on top). At my party,Â I'm going to serve pizza: cheese and black olive, to be exact. I will probably get carried away with the black olives. I'm going to implement a dress code: everyone must wear black (head to toe, hats optional, as are sunglasses. The more someone looks like a Blues Brother or a Man in Black, the better). A little thematic music will be called for: eclipse music, like The Doors, Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis. But the music selection is entirely up to you; it's your eclipse too. (If you're stymied, you might want to think about Elton John and his going-down Sun or Andy Williams and his moon river).Â Whatever music you choose, get creative and have fun with it.
You will most likely need to make your own invitations (I don't believe Hallmark has caught on). I suggest a Dragon motif as an invite cover. In ancient times, people thought an eclipse was caused by a Dragon eating the sun or the moon. I am sure you can either draw or find a dragon to download on the internet to create a cool invite.
Today, most people do not get as freaked out about eclipses as they did long ago. Although in some parts of the world, people will take their spoons and other implements and bang on pots and pans to drive the Eclipse away (that usually works). Also, in some parts of the world, people will stay inside during an Eclipse, because in some places, myths endure. In some locations, eclipses are seen as mighty omens.
Eclipses have their places in Astrology charts - mainly by those who read houses and the degrees where planets fall in different houses. I am not one of those astrologers - I stick to three main psychic astrology archetypes (sun,moon,rising sign), but I know an Eclipse has some powerful mojo, no matter what your sign or where your houses are located. Vintage astrologer Katherine de Jersey used to get excited when she found eclipses in her clients' charts. She said earth-shaking events occurred shortly after even a partial eclipse. I don't know about that, although I imagine if you manage to get born during this total eclipse, it will say something about your personal power and your changing moods (you will be a first Decan Leo - which will make you not only strong, but slightly mischievous and capable of dramatic mood changes). Although different astrologers have different methods of calculating the impact of an eclipse on any given chart, they seem to be unanimous in their opinion that eclipses represent change. Bring it on!
I've been writing about change in Astrology and in the cosmos for many a moon (or should I say sun), so a really long eclipse seems to fit our current dramatic change cycle and impact all of our Signs. Perhaps on July 23, we will all feel better -more in tune with the times - and more adaptable to the ups and downs of the remaining months in 2009. Party hearty.
With Special thanks to Gerry and the Pacemakers (Don't Let the Sun Catch you Crying), The Blues Brothers, The Men in Black, the late astrologer, Katherine de Jersey, and various resources on the internet.