This coming Tuesday is the first time in nearly half a millennium that the winter solstice will coincide with a full lunar eclipse…and it will be an event you do NOT want to miss.
The Montreal Gazette says,
The celestial eccentricity holds special significance for spiritualities that tap into the energy of the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year and a time that is associated with the rebirth of the sun.
“It’s a ritual of transformation from darkness into light,” says Nicole Cooper, a high priestess at Toronto’s Wiccan Church of Canada. “It’s the idea that when things seem really bleak, (it) is often our biggest opportunity for personal transformation.
“The idea that the sun and the moon are almost at their darkest at this point in time really only further goes to hammer that home.”
Cooper said Wiccans also see great significance in the unique coupling of the masculine energy of the sun and the feminine energy of the moon — transformative energies that she plans to incorporate into the church’s winter-solstice rituals.
When can you best view this once in a lifetime event?
The entire eclipse will be visible to stargazers in all parts of North America, visible to those in western regions of Europe and Africa around moonset, and unfortunately not visible in western Europe, Africa, and Asia.
If you are in North America, NASA says,
The eclipse begins on Tuesday morning, Dec. 21st, at 1:33 am EST (Monday, Dec. 20th, at 10:33 pm PST). At that time, Earth’s shadow will appear as a dark-red bite at the edge of the lunar disk. It takes about an hour for the “bite” to expand and swallow the entire Moon. Totality commences at 02:41 am EST (11:41 pm PST) and lasts for 72 minutes.
If you’re planning to dash out for only one quick look - it is December, after all - choose this moment: 03:17 am EST (17 minutes past midnight PST). That’s when the Moon will be in deepest shadow, displaying the most fantastic shades of coppery red.
I know I’ll be heading out with camera in tow to catch the awesomeness of this event, will you wake up early to do the same? Wanna have a “solsticeclipse” party with me?