A total solar eclipse will occur on August 21, 2017, and cross the United States from coast to coast. Many are interested in the physical and psychological effects of this celestial event. All planetary and related astronomical cycles affect us physically and therefore psychologically. The most common effects are so routine that we take them for granted, such as the daily rotation of the earth affecting our sleep-wake cycles; the orbit of the earth around the sun giving us seasons and affecting our metabolism and moods; and of course the hormonal shifts related to the 28-day orbit of the moon around the earth. These celestial cycles affect not only humans, but also all of the other living things in our environment. We see evidence of this from the cycle of animals shedding, and hibernating or migrating for the winter, and trees dropping their leaves in the Fall.
Less frequent or intermittent celestial cycles such as solar eclipses can also affect us in unique and subtle ways. We know of at least three ways in which a solar eclipse alters our physical environment, and thus may influence us physically. The most obvious physical phenomenon is the darkening that occurs as the moon passes between the sun and the earth, blocking the sunlight that touches the earth. The presence of light has a powerful influence on animal behavior and hormones. Anyone who breeds horses knows that the estrous cycle of a horse can be regulated by simply artificially adjusting the lights.
Studies of wild animals show that they are significantly affected by the appearance of darkness during a total eclipse.¹Bird calls by doves, starlings and many other birds cease during the dark phase of the eclipse, and resume in full cacophony as if dawn during the return of daylight following the eclipse. Birds such as egrets and herons have been seen flying to roost at the totality, and making a U-turn back to the water to feed as the light returned minutes later. Frogs, which normally sing only at night, begin to croak during the totality, and then become quiet again when the light returns.
In humans, studies have shown that prolactin levels are elevated immediately subsequent to a solar eclipse. Prolactin is a hormone that regulates metabolism, the immune system, and development of the pancreas. Elevated prolactin levels following an eclipse mirror the rise in prolactin that typically peaks during REM sleep, and with the dawning light.
Another physical change that occurs during an eclipse is a subtle but measureable change in the gravitational force exerted on the earth. The gravitational force of the moon is strong enough to pull the oceans back and forth across the face of the earth, causing the tides to rise and fall, and is a force that regulates the hormones of many animals. Studies show that as with the tides, the feeding and reproductive hormones of animals are directly influenced by shifts in the gravitational force of the moon. During a solar eclipse the gravitational pull of the moon and sun line up so that the Earth feels a combined force of both at the same time. The exact hormonal and behavioral effects of this unusual gravitational force are unknown and may or may not be noticeable to the observer.
The third change in physical force that occurs on the earth during a solar eclipse is a shift in the electromagnetic field in the earth’s ionosphere. This electromagnetic field exists because of an electrical tension between the negative charge of the earth’s surface and the positive electrical charge of the earth’s surrounding atmosphere. The global electromagnetic resonance is typically measured at 7.83 Hz, ranging from roughly 3-60 Hz, and is referred to as the Schumann resonance after Winfried Schumann who discovered it. Previous experiments show that during an eclipse, there is an increase in the electrical tension in our atmosphere. The shadow of the eclipse can cause changes to the ionosphere significant enough to affect radio wave propagation, and possibly human physiology as well.
The human nervous system also functions by a system of polarization and depolarization of electrical charges within the neurons, which cause neurons to fire and transmit information such as sensations, thoughts and feelings. Much like the surface of the earth, neurons are negatively charged within the cell, with a positive charge that exists in the surrounding area outside of the cell. Furthermore, the electromagnetic field of the brain (and the heart) functions in a similar range as that of the earth’s ionosphere, at approximately 0.5-100 Hz.
Although I could find no research on the effects of a solar eclipse on the electroencephalography (EEG) of the brain, considerable data does show that fluctuations in the electromagnetic field in the ionosphere, such as those expected during a solar eclipse, precipitate significant bioelectric changes in both the brain and heart. Specifically, alterations in the Schumann resonance cause alterations in EEG patterns of human brain waves and electrocardiography (EKG) patterns of the heart. Calcium ion uptake is altered affecting both the brain and heart. Hormone levels of melatonin and growth hormones are also affected. Other effects associated with changes in solar geomagnetic activity include increased blood pressure, reproductive, immune system, cardiac and neurological effects, effects on mental health, as well as countless other stress-related conditions.²Similar types of physical and psychological effects could possibly be expected to occur during the solar eclipse.
Long-term effects of a solar eclipse are less straightforward to predict. It is clear from studying the cyclic nature of celestial phenomenon that significant events can be pivotal moments in the beginning of a new cycle. The solstices are an example of a transition from one cycle to another, as the seasons shift, and the daylight hours shift from lengthening to shortening or visa versa, and a cascade of hormonal and other physical and psychological shifts begin to unfold. Again, we are so familiar with the physical and psychological changes that occur during these shifts in the cycle, that we come to take them for granted. They are, none-the-less, caused by a pivotal moment in the cycle of celestial events. More research on the physical and psychological effects at the pivotal event of a solar eclipse is necessary to reveal if this will be the beginning of a new cycle (see Saros Series 145³) or “season” affecting humankind.
We cannot avoid the unfolding of the orbital nature of the universe. The one thing that is certain is change itself. Whether it is daily, lunar or seasonal changes, or the more rare eclipses that occur with the alignment of the sun, the moon and the earth, the key to moving smoothly through these cyclic transitions is mindfulness. Mindfulness allows us to stay in the flow during times of change. Mindfulness is a character that develops from mind-body practices, like strength develops from exercise.
Mind-body practices such as meditation are a practice of conscious awareness of shifts in our moods and our feelings. We consciously process the experiential effects of changes in our environment and in our life. During the eclipse, and the surrounding days, be aware of any changes in your emotions or feelings. Some days your energy may seem to shift down, and other days it may shift up. Some days we may feel more energetically expansive, and other days we may feel like drawing in and quieting. Don’t shy away from the experience, but rather, breath deeply and consciously, and let it move through you. It is a natural part of life. This process of awareness is appropriate at all times, however, the days surrounding the total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017, are a unique opportunity for you to check in on yourself and to honor any feelings that do or do not arise for you at this potentially pivotal point in time. Through these practices, we cultivate the capacity to align ourselves with the universe around us, and to ride the waves of change. In the flow, we feel greater comfort and ease.
¹ Murdin, P. Effects of the 2001 total solar eclipse on African wildlife Astronomy & Geophysics, 2001, Aug;42(4):4.
² Boral GC(1), Mishra DC, Pal SK, Effects of total solar eclipse on mental patients-a clinicobiochemical correlation. Indian J Psychiatry. 1981 Apr;23(2):160-3.
Deborah Norris, Ph.D. is author of In the Flow: Bridging the Science and Practice of Mindfulness, and Editor-in-Chief of MindBodyJournal.com. Dr. Norris is Founder of The Mindfulness Center™, based in Washington, D.C. She is Psychologist-in-Residence and Director of the Psychobiology of Healing Program at American University, and past professor at Georgetown University Medical School. Renowned for her online meditation teacher programs, The Science of Mindful Awareness (SOMA), Dr. Norris is an internationally recognized speaker and educator on mindfulness, yoga, and integrative mind-body therapies. A health scientist with over 40 years of experience ranging from traditional medical and psychotherapeutic practices to integrative therapies and lifestyle practices, she teaches and conducts research in mindfulness, behavioral medicine and other holistic approaches to happiness and well-being.
What is the effect of eclipse on human body? ›
Exposing your eyes to the sun without proper eye protection during a solar eclipse can cause “eclipse blindness” or retinal burns, also known as solar retinopathy. This exposure to the light can cause damage or even destroy cells in the retina (the back of the eye) that transmit what you see to the brain.Does a solar eclipse affect human behavior? ›
It probably seems like a silly question, but a study published in Psychological Science suggests that there are measurable social effects of these events; specifically, people inside of the path of a solar eclipse were less self-centered and more pro-social than those outside of the path.How does the eclipse affect us emotionally? ›
During the eclipse, and the surrounding days, be aware of any changes in your emotions or feelings. Some days your energy may seem to shift down, and other days it may shift up. Some days we may feel more energetically expansive, and other days we may feel like drawing in and quieting.What is solar eclipse question answer? ›
A solar eclipse takes place when the moon comes in between the earth and the sun. The moon blocks the sun's light from reaching the earth's surface and casts a shadow on it.What are the spiritual effects of the solar eclipse 2022? ›
While being selective with who you open up to is important, the spiritual meaning of the October 2022 solar eclipse is all about considering how you've been limiting yourself when it comes to suppressing your deep, inner feelings.What happens spiritually during a solar eclipse? ›
It forces us to find a different route to our goals. Generally, the changes that a solar eclipse ushers in are positive, as the sun is categorized as a positive planet in astrology. We may be pushed forward into a new job before we think we're even ready, and the eclipse will show us just how ready we really are.Does solar eclipse cause anxiety? ›
In fact, you might experience everything from headaches and fatigue to vivid dreams, sleepwalking, flu-like symptoms, seeing colors more vividly and sensitivity to electronic devices. This is often called eclipse anxiety or eclipse sickness.Does eclipse affect animal behavior? ›
Of all the cosmic events, solar eclipses prompt perhaps the biggest change in animal behaviour. Puzzled animals that are active during the day head back to their nighttime abodes while nocturnal animals think they've overslept.How do you feel during a solar eclipse? ›
It's Normal To Feel Agitated
"There is always a feeling of life moving very rapidly — it is life on fast-forward, or great acceleration. Sometimes an event will make us sentimental at eclipse time, as we are very cognizant of the passage of time."
- The cycle of eclipses repeats every 18.6 years called the saros.
- Lunar eclipses are visible over an entire hemisphere.
- Lunar eclipses can occur up to 3 times a year.
- A soar eclipse always occurs two weeks before or after a lunar eclipse.
- Lunar eclipses can only occur during a full moon.
What is an eclipse simple answer? ›
Sometimes when the Moon orbits Earth, the Moon moves between the Sun and Earth. When this happens, the Moon blocks the light of the Sun from reaching Earth. This causes an eclipse of the Sun, or a solar eclipse. During a solar eclipse, the Moon casts a shadow onto Earth.What is three facts about the solar eclipse? ›
Partial solar eclipses can be seen up to 3,000 miles from the "track" of totality. The maximum number of solar eclipses (partial, annular, or total) is 5 per year, and there are at least 2 solar eclipses per year somewhere on the Earth. Everyone in the continental U.S. will see at least a partial eclipse.What does an eclipse mean spiritually? ›
October 25, 2022 Spiritual Significance, Nature, Ceremony. Eclipses are harbingers of change — they usher in evolution. This full moon lunar eclipse on November 8, may be ushering in a revolution. Lunar Eclipses are viewed in astrology as being deeply transformative times that can bring abrupt and sudden change.What does a solar eclipse symbolize? ›
Inti was generally believed to be benevolent, but solar eclipses were understood to be a sign of his wrath and displeasure. Following an eclipse, spiritual leaders would attempt to divine the source of his anger and determine which sacrifices should be offered.What does an eclipse mean energetically? ›
Eclipses signify significant periods of change and transformation. While a solar eclipse opens the portal for new beginnings and change, a lunar eclipse reveals energies that help us complete a journey or shift our course in some way. However, these shifts do not take place all at once.What are the common superstitions associated with solar eclipse? ›
Many people around the world still see eclipses as evil omens that bring death, destruction, and disasters. A popular misconception is that solar eclipses can be a danger to pregnant women and their unborn children. In many cultures, young children and pregnant women are asked to stay indoors during a solar eclipse.What is an eclipse personality? ›
Personality. Eclipse is extremely loyal to his god, to the point where, in his zealotry, he tries to manipulate mortals to achieve the goals he thinks would please Pelor.What do Christians believe about eclipses? ›
Messages from God
Even when there was a scientific understanding of the eclipse, however, it was believed to have been caused by God. Eclipses — being caused by natural processes set in motion by God at the Creation — could be understood to signify future or otherwise distant events.
“Eclipses are just energetically exhausting times,” says astrologer Ryan Marquardt. “It's usually not recommended to focus your energy intently during the eclipses.Can solar eclipses cause depression? ›
Solar eclipses have been eliciting anxiety in humans since forever. So whether you're an anxious person or not, it's possible that your anxiety levels will be higher than normal during the solar eclipse for a lot of reasons.
Does solar eclipse affect living things? ›
Solar Eclipse Effects on Wild Animals
The effects of a solar eclipse on insects and birds are perhaps the most notable. From cicadas to robins, the moment before an eclipse totality is louder than usual. There's more buzzing, chirping, and chattering than at any other hour of the day.
Fact: Science says that no, there is no clear statistical evidence of a full Moon affecting human behavior.Why we should not eat or drink during eclipse? ›
As per folklore, cooking and eating during an eclipse is bad, as it is believed that harmful solar rays harm the food. Commenting on the ideology, NASA says that if that would have been correct, the rays would not only damage the cooked food, but also the packaged foods, and crops in the field as well.How does lunar eclipse affect mental health? ›
There are many people who believe that if a moon is in a bad position like eclipse it may cause heart related diseases, breathing trouble, coughs, colds, insomnia, stress, impatience, insecurity, indecisiveness, fear and mood swings. Exposing yourself to open lunar eclipse may even lead to mental imbalance and lunacy.Why do eclipses important in daily life? ›
Total solar eclipses provide an opportunity to study Earth's atmosphere under uncommon conditions. In contrast to the global change in light that occurs every day at dusk and dawn, a solar eclipse changes illumination of Earth and its atmosphere under a comparatively small region of the Moon's shadow.What is eclipse known for? ›
An eclipse is an astronomical event that occurs when an astronomical object or spacecraft is temporarily obscured, by passing into the shadow of another body or by having another body pass between it and the viewer. This alignment of three celestial objects is known as a syzygy.What facts about solar eclipses did you find most interesting? ›
Interesting facts about the eclipse
- A solar eclipse only takes place during a New Moon. ...
- Eclipse totalities differ in their lengths. ...
- China is known to have the first ever recordings of solar eclipses.
The partial or total blocking of light of one celestial object by another. An eclipse of the Sun or Moon occurs when the Earth, Moon, and Sun are aligned. In a solar eclipse the Moon comes between the Sun and Earth.How do you explain a solar eclipse to a child? ›
A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes in front of the Sun causing a shadow to fall on certain portions of the Earth. The eclipse is not seen from every place on Earth, but only from the locations where the shadow falls. From these locations, it appears as if the Sun has gone dark.What is an eclipse explanation for kids? ›
A solar eclipse occurs when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are in alignment and the Moon blocks light from the Sun, creating shadows on Earth. A lunar eclipse occurs when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are in alignment and Earth blocks light from the Sun, creating a shadow on the Moon.
What happens during solar eclipse simple? ›
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon “eclipses” the sun. This means that the moon, as it orbits the Earth, comes in between the sun and the Earth, thereby blocking the sun and preventing any sunlight from reaching us. Partial solar eclipse: The moon blocks the sun, but only partially.What is unique about the eclipse on Earth? ›
Bottom line: Other planets and moons undergo eclipses and transits, but Earth's eclipses are special because the sun and our moon can appear the same size in our sky.What is one fact about solar eclipse? ›
A solar eclipse happens when the Moon moves between the Sun and Earth, casting a shadow on Earth, fully or partially blocking the Sun's light in some areas.How does a lunar eclipse affect human behavior? ›
Because lunar eclipses are more feminine in nature, they affect the emotional body to a greater degree and are much more emotionally charged compared to a solar eclipse. This can often can cause an emotional breakdown as you break through these energies.How does lunar eclipse affect your health? ›
Another myth that is far away from scientific reasons is that wounds heal slowly during lunar eclipse.So far, no medical science has established a connection between the body's ability to heal and the impact of a celestial body as the moon on that. People also advise others to not see the lunar eclipse in naked eyes.How does a lunar eclipse make you feel? ›
Lunar eclipses are more emotional, for they bring on final endings. They often make us aware of the passage of time, and make us sentimental. A full moon lunar eclipse is almost always an emotional time. Memories and dreams come up to the surface, and sometimes we feel sentimental.Why do I feel sick during an eclipse? ›
Star Sign Style reported that having physical symptoms before, during, and after an eclipse is totally normal. In fact, you might experience everything from headaches and fatigue to vivid dreams, sleepwalking, flu-like symptoms, seeing colors more vividly and sensitivity to electronic devices.Does the blood moon affect peoples moods? ›
So, are full moons really associated with changes in mood and mental health? The prevailing scientific evidence says no.How does the moon affect humans moods? ›
The Gravitational Pull
It's thought that at the New Moon and Full Moon, like the tides, our emotions are pulled to the surface and feelings are heightened. What the science says: some researchers theorize that humans are reacting to subtle changes in the Earth's magnetic field that occur with the Moon phases.
October 25, 2022 Spiritual Significance, Nature, Ceremony. Eclipses are harbingers of change — they usher in evolution. This full moon lunar eclipse on November 8, may be ushering in a revolution. Lunar Eclipses are viewed in astrology as being deeply transformative times that can bring abrupt and sudden change.
What should we eat during solar eclipse? ›
As perAyurveda, one should be eating light and easy-to-digest foods a minimum of two hours before the eclipse. Drinking detoxifying teas and soothing supplements which are good for your immunity can also help.