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  • Writer's pictureDavid Carlson

Tuesday, April 9, 2024: Up there in the skies was also a metaphor of immortality.


Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Up there in the skies was also a metaphor of immortality.



Along the path of yesterday's eclipse crowds of people laughed and screamed in awe. It was the most natural, most joyous human response. We have inherited a sense of wonder from our ancestors and take communal delight in sharing the magnificence and immensity of the natural world. Together, spontaneous joy fills our lungs and we share.


From our earliest times people around the world have come up with many amazing myths, legends and stories to explain the sun’s disappearance during the night of a solar eclipse. Tales of angry Gods, Viking sky wolves, Korean fire dogs, and celestial reconciliation are some of the more interesting stories that have been recorded throughout history by cultures to explain this astronomical wonder.


In Ancient China, both lunar and solar eclipses were viewed as heavenly signs foretelling the future. Solar eclipses were believed to occur when a legendary celestial Dragon devoured the Sun. Drums and pots were often banged to scare the dragon away and bring the return of the sun.

 

Ancient Babylonian astronomers made careful notes of the night’s sky, recording the movements of celestial events. For the Greek’s, astronomy was also a central part of their way of life.


 

I found this fragment of a poem by Archilochus (ca. 680–645 BCE), a Greek poet and soldier, as he describes a total solar eclipse.

 

Nothing there is beyond hope,

nothing that can be sworn impossible,

nothing wonderful, since Zeus,

father of the Olympians,

made night from mid-day,

hiding the light of the shining Sun,

and sore fear came upon men.



The reappearance of the crescent moon after the new moon; the return of the Sun after a total eclipse, the rising of the Sun in the morning after its troublesome absence at night were noted by people around the world; these phenomena spoke to our ancestors of the possibility of surviving death. Up there in the skies was also a metaphor of immortality.

Carl Sagan


And that moment when Brother Sun reappears, our world bathes in resurrected light which takes our breath away and leaves us in wonder.


“I’m always filled with wonder when I look up at the moon and realize that the same moon is seen by all human beings no matter where they live on this planet and the same sun that creates its reflective light rises and warms us all. Such a strong reminder that what Carl Sagan called the Pale Blue Dot is our home and we should be nourishing not destroying it or each other.

– Carol


The song, ‘Let There Be Peace On Earth’ comes to mind.”







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