Vignette

Trump squinting at eclipse

In one tab, an Oregon-based YouTuber is livestreaming the image of the eclipse in his telescope, setting it to a soundtrack of post-rock and shoegaze selections. In the other, anonymous neo-pagan neo-Nazis are offering their crazy predictions about the chaos that will follow the coming of the Black Sun. Some in the path of the eclipse, which has only just started and visible only on the West Coast so far, are observing that it is unusually bright out and there is a strange energy in the air. I step outside for a moment to test their claims. They are right.

I have work later this afternoon; I leave for the diner for a quick brunch.

I arrive. I walk through the door and into a buzzing hive. The hostess says, “One?”

“Yes, please,” I say. She walks me to the only open booth, in the far corner. “Is it always this busy on a Monday afternoon?”

“I think it’s because of the eclipse,” she says. “People are trying to get out while they can.”

I wonder, what does that even mean? I try to formulate a better question than that, but by the time I can think of something, she is gone.

As I wait for my food, I consider what certain conservative Christians are expecting today. It has been almost one hundred years since the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima. Seventy thousand people witnessed that miracle. Approximately the same number have moved into the path of totality to witness today’s eclipse. I have jokingly echoed the evangelicals' prediction that today will be Nibiru’s big reveal. I think it’s possible, but I don’t really believe it.

What I do believe is that there is a unity of order in the cosmos that is established especially for our contemplation, and so there must be something special about a solar eclipse.

The televisions in the diner are tuned to Fox News, which breaks from its regular programming to bring live coverage of the first two minutes of totality in Oregon. The screen is filled with a black disk surrounded by a beautiful golden corona.

It feels almost as though the sun and moon are closer to the earth when they align. A change in the appearance of the sun makes it seem like a member of the terrestrial sphere and its corruptible elements. It feels as though I could reach out and touch them.

I think of Our Lady. I think of the first words of Apocalypse xii: And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet. I imagine that she is standing on the moon and the brilliant corona is her raiment, a fitting one for the Queen of Heaven.

Later on, it will be pointed out to me that there was no bird song during the eclipse. I will think back and realize that it’s true. I am thinking of Ficino and the channels of divine power that are supposed to connect the heavenly spheres and the elements on earth.

I realize that scholasticism and Hermetism are brothers. They both recognize the cosmic unity that the wildlife and I are sensing today, but they posit different reasons for it. One says that it is because the universe is alive, the other because it is the work of an omniscient Creator. But how easy it is for fallen man to confuse channels of occult power with channels of divine grace!

Arboretus