So seldom seen by the sundry peoples,
a total eclipse of Terra’s sun
is an “awesome event,” in all the senses
of that phrase’s morphemes, former and modern.
Recently now, in a rare occurance
with the grandest style, the Great American
Solar Eclipse bisected the country;
from sea to sea the sun went dark.
We know the material and temporal science
of why it occurs, but what beyond
are the higher meanings of this hallowed sight
and its upward opening to the awe of Spirit?
A truth is told by a tale of the lore
of elder times when all was young:
Máni þat né vissi hvat hann megins átti,
Máni knew not what main he had.
Yet much of main does Máni have,
shining at night, but surely more
in the shadow self he seldom shows
as blackest Sköll, a bounding wolf
who criss-crosses the course of Sól,
silently chasing her slender form
and visible only when victory looms.
Árvakr and Alsviðr are always straining
to keep a pace that’s clear of Sköll,
but every so often, their efforts fail
and Sköll succeeds; thus a skald had said:
Sól tér sortna, the Sun turns black.
In deepest azure, the darkness falls
as the shining disc shrinks to a gleam,
a enthralling diamond on an ethereal ring.
That gleam of Sól is soon engulfed;
it occurs in a moment, that consummation,
and fire flares forth as a fimbul crown
on that awesome orb, that onyx jewel,
giving a glimpse, glorious yet brief,
of the true black sun of the timeless realm,
and the flow of awe will fill your core,
as a surge of Spirit descends from above.
Immerse in that marvel, but make it creative
by wielding it also for works of magic.
Both Óðinn’s eyes are in awesome union,
the eye in the Well and the eye in the Tree,
so that Well and Tree are one thus briefly
for a sacred time of singular power.
That might and main, a Master longs
to see and know, to seize the supernal.
With waxing wonder, the one chants out,
between two worlds in a twilight zone,
so that the fire of wode will flame within
and the magic of moments will mark an Age.
No sooner it’s done than Sól returns
and bit by bit is reborn as she died.
Or is it her daughter that dazzles forth
in the light renewed on the lands below?
An eclipse gives not its arcana otherwise
than seeing it live, a sight in person,
as a mortal in the fourfold, facing divinity
‘twixt earth and sky, open to Being
and acting with a Will to awe and wonder.
It is a Ragnarök that readies one
for a bright rebirth with the blessings of Spirit
as triumph is illumined by returning light.
So seek for yourself that singularity
and the fimbul runes that fill such a time,
for Máni’s shadow has a mighty power
to consecrate the core of a soul
in those sacred moments of solar death.
Text Copyright © 2017 Eirik Westcoat.
Photo Copyright © 2017 Albo Südekum. Used by permission.
All rights reserved.
Old Norse text from Vǫluspá.
(Wow, what an epic, amazing, and awesome thing to see! I’ll definitely be getting to more of these in the future if I can. It’s been a while, and the fact that I started a PhD in Iceland in September is the main reason for the lack of updates. I’m going to shoot for once a month for now. Hopefully, most of the coming poems won’t be this long. Looking for a Yule gift? My book is still available, just click on the cover shot in the sidebar for details.)