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NHNE Special Report:
Monday, August 30, 1999


The Last Total Eclipse of the Millennium
By NHNE SwiftWing Reporter Sherry Stultz




"News,
Inspiration,
& Consumer Protection
for Spiritual Seekers"

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An NHNE Special Report
Monday, August 30, 1999

The Last Total Eclipse of the Millennium
By NHNE SwiftWing Reporter Sherry Stultz

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THE LAST TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE MILLENNIUM
By NHNE SwiftWing Reporter Sherry Stultz

Hype is often misused to indicate something that will be better than it really is. So in the midst of all the pre-eclipse "hype," I went to the United Kingdom for a visit. England is the most spectacular landscape on Earth when the sun is shining off all that magnificent greenery, but when it's cloudy -- and unfortunately it usually is -- the landscape becomes abysmal to some, and rather intriguing to others. I prefer a little of both, but I always seem to catch the maritime climate when it's pouring.

Since I used to teach astronomy, I could give you a play-by-play of the eclipse Discovery Channel-style, but that information is readily available to you (see the links listed below). Instead, I will give you the ground version of the eclipse.

I skipped Cornwall altogether, since the crowds and the clouds were not to my liking. Instead, I went to one of my favorite places: Avebury Stone Circle in the heart of Wiltshire.

The village of Avebury sits inside and outside of the giant neolithic circle and the entirety of the circle is bisected by a road. Around this area are ancient burial mounds and, of course, the enigmatic Silbury Hill, the largest man-made earthen structure in Europe, which appears almost pyramidal in shape.

My husband and I stayed with friends Tom and Kerry Blower in the village of East Kennett, about a mile from Avebury. The night before the eclipse, Kerry's mother Marilyn, a Welsh sorceress (well, OK, she's just a witch, but I like to embellish), told us we should all make wishes the night before the new moon. We went round and round with our wishes for sometime. It was a lovely evening tucked away with friends in an 18th century thatched roof cottage.

The next day the sun rose and a beautiful blue sky emerged just as I crawled out of bed. Hooray! The rain would hit Cornwall, but we would have the sun for just enough time to see the moon cross in front of it. But by 9:30 AM the clouds had gathered over our area too, and it looked like we would be no better off than all the suckers down in Cornwall. Never mind, it would still grow dark, since we were in the 98% path of totality.

We were all a little anxious. Kerry, Tom, and my husband, Vincent are all survivors of the crop circle intrigue of the early 1990's, and the edginess of "what might happen during the eclipse" crept into our psyches. Besides that, we had all read about the Grand Cross and the changes for each zodiac sign.

Down we went to the infamous "Stone's Restaurant" in Avebury for tea and cakes before we headed into the circle. Amazing that about two thousand other people had the same idea and the entire village was crammed full of folks. Inside the circle there were families on picnic blankets, groups seated in circle meditations near the stones, individuals quietly seated alone meditating, guys juggling fire sticks, folks sprawled on blankets smoking loads of pot, incense burning everywhere and all sorts of gadgets to view the eclipse. A circus, I suppose you could say.

About 10:30 AM we entered the circle and I looked up to see a cloud thin out and a carved sun, eclipsed by the moon. (It was so cloudy, that a kind of filter formed and we used sunglasses instead of the eclipse goggles.) I was absolutely thrilled to see it and I yelled out to everyone to look up. As the time approached, we met with our friends and all stood together, but we could only see glimpses of the sun as it moved in and out of clouds. It grew dark, and I felt different. We all kept watch on the sky to see if the sun would break through the clouds again.

Then I had this deja vu. There was a flash before my eyes and I remembered a dream where I was in this place with a bunch of people that I didn't know and something special was happening. I screamed and started slapping my husband because it was him and the Blowers and Avebury in the dream, which I hadn't remembered until now. I was stunned by the deja vu, or deja blip, I should say, since in the moments after that I lost all memory of the original dream.

The clouds parted in time for us to see the moon fully eclipse the sun. Significantly, this was one of Vince's wishes the night before. He likes suspense and drama and he wished that the clouds would break at the least minute and they did.

You would think a hush passed over the crowd, as we all stood in awe of this rare event. Sounds poetic, but it didn't happen that way. Imagine that the moon is running race across the sky to pass the sun just in time. Imagine you want the moon to win. That's what it was like. Some people were obviously preoccupied in their own eclipse-agendas, but those with no agenda were rooting for the moon: "Go!" "Do it!" "Alright!" "Yeah!" "Woohoo!" Cheers all around. Most folks were cheering and applauding as the moon covered the sun. Perhaps this is cultural conditioning. Another time and place we would have sacrificed a life or fled in fear as the sun was blocked out, but not on August 11th, 1999. No sirree. We gave our full support to the home team.

And then it was over. Everyone packed up their gear and went home, but not I believe, unaffected. A sense of triumph prevailed. It had happened: an event that more human beings witnessed and celebrated together all over the world, perhaps second only to the coming millennium. It is amazing how we have become one Earth, with the advent of technology, and our fascination with celestial maneuvers.

Recalling the darkened skies is dream-like. The sky was dark and then it was light again, and my biological clock was kind of confused. In fact, many people had headaches and stomaches and generally didn't feel well for the remainder of the day. I felt like I had drank a double latte and 2 shots of vodka: wide awake and yet a little dizzy. The area between my eyes -- my third eye for those of you attuned to that area -- felt pressured. My husband and friends said they were nauseated the whole day.

But the next day, August 12th, came right on schedule and we were all alive. Amazing. I heard on BBC news about a man who had predicted the end of the world two hours after the eclipse; he booked a room in a posh hotel and never showed up. He had given away most of his money and settled his affairs.

I am left to wonder if hype really means something will be better than it actually is, or if hype is just simply a culmination of expectations, some of which are fulfilled and some which are not. Oddly enough, the Sherry-skeptopath, had some rather amazing epiphanies and continued deja vu's for the entire trip. Whether this was a by-product of the eclipse or simply a long over due kick in the pants is entirely subject to interpretation.

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TWO ANECDOTES

[Editor's Note: Once Sherry was back in the States, she posted the following two stories to NHNE's Forum for a Common Understanding. See below for more details about this forum.]

THE ONLY THING THAT SEPARATES US FROM THEM IS THE LANGUAGE
Monday, August 23, 1999

I have a couple stories to tell you that I hope will brighten your day and give you a better understanding of how we "Americans" have made the English language our own.

I love to shop in England, not because the food is better; it's just different. Kind of like being on the flip side of your reality, because it's all the same language, right? It's just different stuff that I have never seen in a grocery store, err, excuse me, "shoppe" before. (And that's not pronounced "shopee", it's just "shop".)

Now if you were shopping in a shoppe in the UK, as I have on three different occasions when I have visited the green isle, you would see a packet of cookie-like things called "Digestive Biscuits." If you were me, and you saw the way these things were packaged, you would naturally assume that they were medicinal, since they are quite austere compared to your usual colorful cookie wrapper.

One afternoon when I was having my one millionth cup of tea in my friend Kerry's back garden, I felt a rumble of unhappiness in my stomach, so I went into her kitchen looking for some comfort. I recalled that she had some of those digestive biscuits, so I ate one. It tasted a bit like graham crackers flavored with bicarbonate, and I knew then that they were medicinal so I had another one. They are quite wheat-germy as well. I assumed this was to give you a good bowel movement as well as settle your stomach.

I trotted on back into the garden and told Vincent, my English-born husband, that I was feeling much better after eating some of those "digestive biscuits."

"What do you mean?" he said.

"I ate some of those digestive biscuits for my stomach ache."

All conversation stopped and four Brits stared at me in horror. Then they started hooting and howling.

Now really, if digestive biscuits are supposed to be cookies, why are they called "digestive biscuits"? And why do they taste like those fake cookies my mom used to pass off in the mid-70's when she was reading too many PREVENTION MAGAZINES?

I now had the upper hand because the British people are a rational culture and my English friends could not tell me why the cookies were so poorly named. They all stopped and looked at each in wonder.

"Why are they called digestive biscuits?" they said in unison.

My theory is that it's a conspiracy to get people to eat high fiber. And as my friend Kerry pointed out, they do taste "like shredded carpet."

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THE HOOF & FARTER: THE NAMES THEY GIVE THESE ENGLISH PUBS!
Tuesday, August 24, 1999

The day of the eclipse was a busy one in England, since no one wanted to go to work and most folks didn't, or took off half the day to be with their families. We were at Avebury Stone Circle in the village of Avebury which has a pub called "The Red Lion" and a vegetarian restaurant called "Stones's". After the eclipse, Vince and I were on our way to visit the Devil's Den, just outside of Malborough, so we didn't stay in the village for lunch, though were quite hungry. (The Devil's Den is an ancient burial site called a "doloman"; it's a tomb built with giant stones at the entrance, and this one is in the middle of a farmer's field.)

Our friend Kerry said she would give us a lift to the Devil's Den, but then we realized we should all have a meal first before we parted ways. We also decided to have lunch away from the crowds. Kerry suggested that we eat at a nearby pub called "The Bell", but it wasn't close enough to the Devil's Den, so she suggested another pub called "The Hoof and Fodder", which was closer.

We were all crunched in her car driving along and I said, "Where's the Hoof and Fodder?" (I had never heard of it even though I had spent about two months in the area last summer.)

Vince looked at me like I was crazy. So I asked Kerry, "Where's the Hoof and Fodder, Kerry?"

"Th' what!? The Hoof and Farter?" (Imagine a heavy Welsh accent here.) They all looked at me in disbelief.

"The pub, the Hoof and Fodder," I repeated.

There was no going back after that. They wept until they were sick. Realizing I had somehow mispronounced the name of the pub, I asked them to pronounce it for me again.

"It's called the 'Who'da Thought It?'," says my husband sardonically in his best American accent.

The "Who'da Thought It?" is an even more unique name than the one I gave it, but not as crass as what they thought I called it. You see, for as much as I cannot understand these people, they cannot understand me either. It was late that afternoon before I finally explained that I was saying "fodder" and not "farter."

What did they say to that?

"The Hoof and Fodder? Oh yeah, that's not a bad name for a pub..."

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Links:

Avebury Henge:
http://easyweb.easynet.co.uk/~aburnham/eng/aveb.htm

This is a great site for information about the Avebury Stone Circle and the Wiltshire area where I visited this year and last summer.

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The Earth View ECLIPSE Network:
http://www.earthview.com/

This website has information about eclipses, including several great tutorials on how eclipses occur in space.

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NASA solar eclipse web pages:

Solar Eclipse Information:
http://umbra.nascom.nasa.gov/eclipse/

Eclipse Home Page:
http://sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse/eclipse.html

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Solar Eclipse 1999:
http://www.hermit.org/Eclipse1999/

This is a great page about the solar eclipse in Cornwall with photographs of the eclipse as I saw from Avebury Stone Circles; the sun and moon were cloaked in misty clouds, like you would expect on the green ilse.

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NHNE's Special Report on Crop Circles:
http://www.nhne.com/specialreports/srcropcircles/index.html

This website includes interviews with Kerry Blower and my new husband, Vincent Palmer. This may help explain the significance of my trip back to England and the interesting deja vu I had in Avebury.

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GOT SOMETHING TO SAY?

If you've got something you would like to share with Sherry and other NHNE fans concerning anything shared here, you can join NHNE's Forum for a Common Understanding, which Sherry facilitates:

To sign up, send a message to "nhneffacu-on@mail-list.com".

To see what everyone has been talking about, you can visit the forum's
archive at this address:

http://fleet.mail-list.com/archives/nhneffacu

You are also welcome to post any thoughts you might have on the NHNE
Bulletin Board:

http://venus.beseen.com/boardroom/q/16321/

Sherry can be reached directly at the following address:

Shery Stultz:
sher@digiscape.com

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Copyright 1999 by NewHeavenNewEarth

Please feel free to share this report with as many people as you like. If you do share this report with others, we ask that you reproduce it in its entirety (including all credits, copyright notices and addresses), not alter its contents in any way, and pass it on to others free of charge.

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SwiftWing Reporter & Researcher: Sherry Stultz (SJS)

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