An inspirational tale for the “ring of fire” solar eclipse! Composite image by April Elliott Kent.
One cold day in 1936 a stray tabby cat crept inside St. Augustine’s Cathedral in London, seeking food and warmth. Several times she was cast out. But eventually she prevailed, and went on to win hearts as the beloved church cat. Called Faith for her determination, she sat in the pulpit at Father Henry Ross’s feet as he preached, and cozied up to him by the fireside at night. Four years later, she gave birth to an adorable tuxedo kitten, dubbed Panda.
On September 6, 1940, Faith made it clear that she must go down to the basement. She was so insistent that Father Ross obliged. She carried Panda down there with her, curling up with him in a far corner. The rector was perplexed. Why was Faith so intent on hiding out in that dark, cold, dusty place?
The next day Ross left on a business trip, and over the following two nights there were heavy air raids in London. Upon his return, the rector was horrified to find St. Augustine’s a mass of twisted wreckage, with flames rising from the shattered timbers. He pushed his way past firemen warning him that the roof was likely to collapse any moment, and clambered over the debris toward the place where he thought the cats would be. Calling Faith, he heard a faint answering ‘Meow’. He dug through rubble and found her, dirty but unharmed, nursing Panda. She was ‘singing,’ said the rector, ‘such a song of praise and thanksgiving as I had never heard.’ With tears of relief, he spirited the cats to safety. Soon, the roof collapsed in a shower of sparks, burying the corner where they had been.
How did Faith know that disaster was imminent? Animals have uncanny instincts. And so do we, if we would only listen to them. As illustrated here, as well as in my recent essays for the Aries Full Moon and Virgo New Moon, dogs, horses and cats (as well as other creatures) can become our “familiars,” protecting us from harm, inspiring us to trust our instincts, and revealing to us the right path.
Trusting our instincts is advisable around the Libra New Moon (Oct. 14, 10:54 a.m. PT). Since Libra is all about relationships, and this is an eclipse (which can bring endings), releasing old patterns of relating will be a major theme. The “ring of fire” at this annular (partial) solar eclipse will be visible across the Americas as the Moon partially obliterates the Sun. Though not as powerful as a total solar eclipse, the instinctive Moon eclipsing the rational Sun nevertheless thrusts feelings and inner promptings into the spotlight.
This New Moon at 21 degrees Libra joins strategic Mercury, demanding careful decisions. But the Sun and Moon also straddle the Libra South Node, which can easily default to overthinking or indecisiveness. Air sign Libra craves fairness, especially in relationships, and is often willing to fight for it. But this eclipse also opposes tender, wounded Chiron in Aries and squares tough guy Pluto in Capricorn, recently turned direct and regaining his strength. Relations may be strained, and turning points are likely. If you should get caught in a power struggle, be clear about your needs and take space if necessary.
New Moons are usually good times to launch new things. But if you start something now, it may not turn out how you’d hoped. Still, if a strong instinct tells you to do it, then follow through. If not, it might be better to wait until eclipse season is over (after the Oct. 28 Taurus lunar eclipse). In the meantime, take your cue from brave little Faith, who certainly lived up to her name. Her stirring tale was written up in the newspaper, and she received a silver medal, inscribed: “For steadfast courage in the Battle of London, September 9th, 1940.” Aided by her devoted guardian, Father Ross, this plucky feline acted on instinct and saved her baby, as well as herself – inspiring a nation. Watch your animals for any unusual behavior near this eclipse. You never know when they may be trying to impart an important message to you.
Curious what the October eclipses have in store for you? Order eclipse expert April Elliott Kent’s illuminating Followed by a Moonshadow personalized report, and get an in-depth look!