Good morning, or good _____________ (fill in the blank), wherever you may be. We are coming up on an event of major astronomical proportions. And please notice I said astronomical and not astrological. No signs will be necessary when trying to decipher its meaning. And yet, people do derive meaning from all sorts of things in life. We want the time of day, the day of the week, the week of the month, or the month of the year to have some significance. I think it’s our desire to want to feel significant. But I am getting off track here. The significant event will be when on August 21st at 15:46 UTC Time (Not that I have a clue what that means) the earth experiences the awakening of the army of the dead to come forth because some guy named Ash didn’t recite the right words from a book. Wait! No! We are just having an eclipse.
Speaking of eclipses, and not ellipses, people often have superstitious meanings when it comes to the eclipse. Now some of these may only have existed in a time where we swore the flat earth was lying upon a giant turtles back or when we knew without a doubt that the sun went around the earth or even in the ancient times when we thought Pluto was a planet. Wait! Strike that last one, unless you are post millennial. I am always interested in crazy superstitions and fears, and so I decided to go back into the ancient history of the Solar Eclipse and discover 5 popular myths for why they occurred. Which means it’s time for another lesson in fake history . . . history . . . history . . . (Cue the Reverb.)
Fake History Of Five Popular Solar Eclipse Myths
(Yes that sounds redundant to me too.) –
So we here at the Guide decided to go and dust off our WAYBACK machine that we used for our fake food history discoveries about . . . and thought it might be good to find out the history of the Solar Eclipse. Which of course meant finding out about the crazy peoples who really just needed a good dose of Prozac instead of believing in the Sun God and his loyal crazy follower the Moon God. Ah the crazy things we will believe!!!
5) The Ancient Chinese Sun Eating Dragon –
Way back in the time of Scrooge McDuck, Donald, and his nephews, there was a crazy Chinese Dragon who ran about the countryside seeking gold. He would eat all of the gold from the villagers and devour almost anything that shown with that hue. This dragon was a terror to all who would come across his path. They called him the golden terror.
Eventually, he was captured by the industrious Scrooge McDuck who put him in his garage for safe keeping. Unfortunately, McDuck’s nephews got into the garage and released this golden dragon and he made a beeline for McDuck’s safe. But McDuck was not about to lose any of his gold so he went after the Golden Dragon and defeated him.
Contrary to popular belief, the Golden dragon wasn’t crushed up into tiny bits in McDuck’s safe. He actually decided he had enough of Gold and would go after the next best thing: the sun. Of course, he wouldn’t be as stupid as he was in the past with the Gold. So he would take his time when trying to eat the sun. So every twenty years or so, this dragon makes his assault on his favorite food source aside from gold. And he eats away at the sun till there is nothing left. Eventually he gets tired of all that sun and has to belch it all out again.
Ok . . . so maybe none of that is true except for maybe that they believed there was a Golden Dragon who ate the sun. But I think my version is more fun. Which brings us to myth number 4.
4) Sun Got Bit By A Bear (Native American Tradition) –
The tribesman of the Pomo, an indigenous group who lived in the North West tell the story of the great bear who lived up in the trees. Trying to sleep away the effects of a big battle he came face to face with the sun in the morning who was not allowing him to sleep and recuperate. After yelling at the sun for a while to go away, the bear noticed that the sun was taunting him by going higher in the sky and making it even hotter. This made the bear fiercely mad. And as you all know you should let sleeping bears lie. So the Sun ended up in a losing battle as the bear went after that Sun and started munching away until he ate the whole thing. It’s so significant to the tribe that the name for an eclipse is called Sun got bit by a bear.
Evidently this bear got around. Because when the moon was getting a bit too big for its own britches the bear did the same thing, eating away at the moon until it was gone. This is one hungry bear. Which leads us to the next of our myths, number 3.
3) The Gods Are Mad At Us (Ancient Greeks) –
I think the one we seem to recognize the most from the Guides trip in the WAYBACK machine was the tale of the Ancient Greeks who believed that the Sun going away was the direct result of the Gods down on Mount Olympus Way. Not that these Gods were ever particularly nice to us and treated us with the regard of ants. But for whatever reason, we could piss these Gods off something fierce. (I’m still trying to figure this one out.) So evidently, Zeus would send out someone to blot out the sun as a warning for what was to come. Of course, trying to understand why angry Gods would give warning I am also trying to figure out. Whatever the case may have been this eclipse was the sign and symbol of their displeasure with us. Somehow, we were responsible for astronomical change.
Whether you believe in climate change or do not, I find it interesting that our anthropocentric view of the universe hasn’t changed. We seem to be responsible for everything in it that’s bad. Woo hoo!!! Go us!!! Which brings us to the next in our fun solar eclipse beliefs.
2) Jerry Springer “Celestial Edition” (Inuit Tribe) –
It’s Jerry! Jerry! It’s time for another round with mom nags dad until dad some something crazy which causes mom to beat dad, which causes dad to beat mom and for both to end up in prison while the child goes to a horrific foster care system where they will be abused for the next twenty years. In this commonly held Inuit belief, the sun goddess Malina and the moon god Anningan have been at it for years and have been trying to find their own Jerry Springer style show to hash things out over. Unfortunately they didn’t have one so the fight raged on. Eventually the moon good Anningan catches up to the sun goddess Malina and they have a throw down, which ends up with the Solar Eclipse. And just like a good Springer episode, the couple having the fight seems to have forgotten about the children (us).
Ah how I miss crazy white trash people fighting on television. Oh Jerry where art thou? This leads us to the last of the crazy Solar Eclipse beliefs and unfortunately a common modern day myth .
1). Food Poison City Or The Stove tops Revenge (India) –
When we began this journey we thought we were going to have to use the WAYBACK machine to go to all of the places with solar eclipse myths. But when the date read August 10th 2017 we shook our heads for a while and then slowly exited the machine to find ourselves in India. Whether this was a myth put out by the Deli industry (notice I didn’t spell it Delhi) or not, I cannot tell. But what we found was a bunch of people doing early cooking for the 21st. When we asked why, they told us it was because that any food cooked on that day would just be poisonous and ought not to be touched. I for one totally discount this whole theory, unless we end up with a ton of food poisoning incidents tomorrow and then I am going to have to find out where this food poisoning god resides and avoid him like the plague. Ah the craziness!
Turning The Page
As we do not believe in any of those superstitions here at the Guide, we are going to provide you with a list of local places in Southern California where they will be celebrating the eclipse. Please no strange jumping around barefoot by some fire pit or I will have to tell that Bear who eats the sun to go out and get you because that’s just strange. If you have any places near you that are and not in Southern California, please put them down in the comment section for other people who would be interested in finding out about this amazing celestial event.
Places to See Solar Eclipse In Southern California –
Continue the Conversation –
So which of the preceding superstitions did you enjoy the most? Aside from my McDuck version I would have to go with Bear eats the Sun. Love it that the tribe gave the eclipse that name as a result. Although I am not big on superstitions in general. I do like hearing about things we thought about in the past. I suppose that’s the anthropologist in me. Wait. I’m a Librarian. Hmmmm… Ah well. Please let me know what you thought and definitely contribute any more places you know that are doing Eclipse events.
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Until next time, the sun is our friend and not food.
David Elliott, Single Dad’s Guide to Life