@janelle, you worded your topic just fine, so no worries there. I did dig into a couple of concepts because Eclipses throughout history were chaotic, filled with mystery, and ominous. I found this information: The Meaning of an Eclipse in History
A blessing? A curse? A sign of good things to come, or doom on the horizon? Throughout the course of history, total solar eclipses have been observed in awe, as astounding astronomical events. And before modern science was able to offer us a better explanation of what was actually happening during a solar eclipse, ancient cultures developed their own solar eclipse meanings and interpretations
Let’s take a look at a few of the most fascinating ways that cultures have explained solar eclipses over time.
1. THE NORSE
In the Norse mythology ascribed, the Vikings of Northern Europe believed that, during a total solar eclipse, the Sun was being eaten by two wolves known as Skoll and Hati. According to legend, these two wolves were hungry for celestial bodies, with Skoll having an acquired taste for the Moon and Hati partial to the Sun. During an eclipse, they believed that the wolves had caught up to their prey. Back on earth, the Vikings would hoot and holler in an effort to scare Skoll and Hati away –– and allow the Moon to pass by the Sun. It’s a good thing it worked, too, because the Vikings also believed that if Skoll and Hati were ever able to successfully eat the Moon and the Sun, it would indicate the pending apocalypse, known as Ragnarok.
2. THE CHINESE
“The Sun has been eaten.” So says a recording of a solar eclipse from thousands of years ago. In fact, the Chinese have been tracking solar eclipses for over 4,000 years! And similar to the Norse legend, in ancient China, it was believed that an eclipse was the result of a dragon consuming the Sun. And, like the Vikings, the Chinese would bang on drums and make loud noises to scare the dragon away and save the Sun from being chomped on.
3. THE HINDU
In ancient Hindu mythology, a rather gruesome tale explained the solar eclipse. According to legend, gods and demons worked together to concoct an elixir of life that would give anyone who consumed it immortality. When the demon Rahu decided he was going to drink the potion himself, things didn’t turn out exactly as planned. The powerful god Vishnu discovered Rahu’s scheme and had Rahu beheaded – but not before Rahu was able to take a sip of the elixir.
As the legend goes, Rahu now chases the Sun and the Moon in a fit of rage, and every so often, he catches them with the intention of –– you guessed it –– eating them! However, because he’s only ahead and has no arms, he cannot hold onto them, and they pass by one another unscathed.
4. THE INCA
The Inca people of South America believed that a total solar eclipse was a bad sign from the mighty sun god, Inti. According to Incan culture, the meaning of an eclipse was Inti’s anger and displeasure, and something needed to be done to appease their god. Incan leaders would gather and determine what they had done to make their god upset and make sacrifices accordingly. Human sacrifice may have been practiced on occasion. However, less extreme atonement was more common, such as animal sacrifice, fasting, or withdrawal from public events.
5. THE EGYPTIANS
The ancient Egyptians are famous for their incredible skills as astronomers; the Egyptians are believed to be the first people to create a solar calendar with 365 days! They also worshipped the Sun and its god, Ra. So you would expect the ancient Egyptians to keep detailed records of total solar eclipses, right?
Well, as it turns out, archeologists and historians have not been able to dig up many records of the Egyptians and their reflections on eclipses. While these records may have simply been lost or yet undiscovered, another interpretation is that the brief disappearance of the sun was so terrifying to the sun-obsessed Egyptians that they refused to track them at all for fear of giving the event more permanence. We may never know…
6. THE NATIVE AMERICANS
There have been hundreds of Native American tribes, each with its own unique culture. But some tribes share some common mythologies about the meaning of a solar eclipse. For the Ojibwa and Cree peoples, a solar eclipse is the result of a small boy known as Tcikabis taking his revenge on the Sun for scorching him by laying out a trap with a rope. Once ensnared by Tcikabis, the animals come to the Sun’s rescue, but it’s the smallest of animals –– the mouse –– that is able to chew through the rope of the snare and set the Sun free.
Like the Chinese and the Norse, the Choctaw people believed that during a total solar eclipse, the Sun was being devoured by a celestial creature. In the case of the Choctaw, it was a hungry black squirrel. And like those cultures, the Choctaw also believed that, in order to frighten him off, they need to make loud noises and beat their drums! What’s more fascinating is the fact that these cultures rarely, if ever, encountered one another; they drew similar conclusions from different corners of the world at different periods of history.
Passed down Generational Information
I think that anything passed from ancestors is within your being when you are born. For instance:
My father & brother are very set in their ways. My father is from a different time (b. 1944 in South Boston) so he is very Black & White. There is no room for any other shade. You hurt me, you spite me, we are no longer family & there will never be a chance at reconciliation. My brother is (b. 1979) is in the United States Army, he is the same way but a little bit more room for shades of white/black/almost gray… he thinks very much with his head, right/wrong/ (he was a police officer before going back into the Army & both of those jobs were very much… more than just pulling over people for speeding tickets)
Then there’s me & I am so different but we have the same mother, father, grandparents… I tend to think with emotion & with “my heart” before my “head”. So when I reach out & just want to connect with my family, it’s hard because they don’t understand the feelings I am having, or they do but to a point then it’s, I don’t know why you feel this way, I don’t know what to tell you, Call me in a couple of hours to check-in… it’s a very "I’m not being understood or they aren’t listening, kind of feeling when it’s just my father & brother being themselves. I know they care but they don’t view the world like I do or feel the same way that I do. Because of that, I wound up in quite a pickle navigating life. I had a very different infant to child to teenager to young adult to parent experience. I always knew I was different than them.
However, we didn’t have much to do with my birth mother’s side & honestly, we didn’t question it too much because, by the time we would, we were used to them not being around or in contact. Usually, we chalked it up to… 1 aunt is in PA, 1 in SC, 1 in KY… we were in MA… so it sort of made sense… & it was before the age of technology where you could speak to anyone in the world at any time about anything.
After my birth mother died, I am in the process of “reconciling” with an Aunt. Just from talking to her, I have realized that a lot of what I do & feel, I come by it honestly… it’s the side of the family that I know nothing or very much about, so now I am learning more from a direct source that I never thought I would be talking to again in this lifetime. That being said. My brother wants nothing to do with her & my father is black & white & when I was 17 going on 18, there was a thing with this aunt & I & went to live with her… the outcome wasn’t exactly good… so my father has his own reasons for not talking to or about her. He is holding onto what happened when I was 17… for reference, we are coming up on 30 years ago.
However, my birth mother’s side was the side with the think with your heart & of other people & nature, most of myself is a derivative of that side of the family with parts of my father’s side thrown in there. They are also manipulative, greedy, & mental health is an issue at times because of the way they were raised which was in a much different setting. My grandfather was in the US Military & last stationed in MA so that’s where my mother’s family resided, grew up, & my parents met. The girls were 4 wild child types in their own way. If I look back on my life, the reason I didn’t fit into my father’s mold perfectly was that I was made from him & my mother, my mother passed down the empathy & the things I just can’t explain why I feel or know them.
Which has led me to genealogy & learning about the times & where my family is from & how the sides evolved throughout history. My mother’s side is colonial founders of PA & the Mennonite church. Rev Hans Herr is a direct descendant of mine & brought shiploads of people from Germanic Europe to PA to escape religious persecution. The Mennonite church branched off into the Amish… & I am related to so many settlers of PA… York, Hershey, and surrounding towns involve my family. The Kissingers, Meyers, Herr, Winters, with first names like Silas & other names that you wouldn’t hear today. I could go on… so I believe in that respect without knowing where you came from makes it harder to know who you are. (Just my own opinion from my own experiences.)