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The upcoming total solar eclipse is expected to cause high emotional reactions

On April 8, 2024, a good portion of North America can observe the total solar eclipse. For many, it will be a chance of a lifetime since the next eclipse in this part of the world is expected in 55 years. But what makes a total or even partial eclipse so powerful? What turns a familiar astrological event into an awe-inspiring experience? Here are some things you should expect, and for some of you, it will be a genuinely soul-awakening event. 

Soul-awakening experience 

Journalist and writer Jeff Greenwald compared his 2009 experience with Eclipse Chasers to such passion as “seeing every Bruce Springsteen concert.” He joined the group of chasers in the middle of the South Pacific, and while the event only lasted for two minutes, the takeaway will last a lifetime. 

Among these so-called eclipse chasers were people worldwide, including attorneys, actors, engineers, etc. Some compared the total eclipse to traveling to space, while others encountered the terror of the world ending, at least for a few seconds, only to be humbled and more connected to humans than ever. 

Almost everyone agrees that watching a total solar eclipse can hardly be described in words. It is an experience, an emotion, and there is an explanation for that. Unlike all other everyday events, while staring at the Sun, with protective glasses, of course, watching it getting overshadowed by the Moon, the world does not look the same. Yet, with heightened senses, you are entirely in the moment, waiting for this unusual and chilling darkness to turn to light again. 

From nightmare to ecstasy 

Today, we understand astronomy, so the event itself is stimulating. But, throughout history, it has sparked a great deal of fear and dread. Many of our ancestors believed that Gods lived in the sky, so having a day turn into night, even for a minute, sparked elaborate stories filled with superstition and false prophecy. 

In that sense, the event is even more powerful. You have a chance to look at the same Sun and Moon as did people in Mesopotamia, who believed that a total solar eclipse meant the king would die. Ancient philosophers struggled to understand the occurrence, and the Greek philosopher Anaxagoras found a connection between physics and nature, which led him to be exiled.

Though not backed by science, astrologists believe the eclipse’s energy starts days before the eclipse and lingers on. That’s why, even today, some experience anxiety or feelings of unease, and watching the Moon completely blocking the face of the Sun is both thrilling and terrifying. 

But, Dr. Kate Russo, a former clinical psychologist turned eclipse chaser, explained that total eclipses are a metaphor for life, “intense, terrifying, awe-inspiring, beautiful, fleeting, and then it is over. Writing for Aeon, Russo concluded her thoughts on total eclipse, “Open yourself up to awe and find meaning in moments that are there for the taking. Make your every second count.”

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