What an historic event is taking place today! Here at Wildflower Junction, I want to talk about the fascinating legends of the eclipse that came by way of our Native Americans.
The earliest record of a solar eclipse — recorded on clay tablets in Babylonia — took place on May 3, 1375 BCE. They predicted it, so it can be assumed people had been studying them even earlier.
Many ancient cultures have fascinating legends to explain what happens during an eclipse. Beasts and demons swallow the sun. Many cultures thought it meant that the gods were angry with humanity. Yet many Native American legends had a different spin…
Tewa (Pueblo) Native Americans of New Mexico: The angry sun was leaving the sky to visit his home in the underworld.
Pomo Band of Northern California: A bear is eating the sun. To get the bear to stop and leave, the people must make as much noise as they can until it gets scared and runs away. Some of the Cherokee have this legend also, but instead of a bear, they attribute it to a frog eating the sun.
Tlingit Tribe of Alaska: The sun and moon were getting together to create more children which were the stars and planets.
The Cree (Canada, North Dakota, Montana), the Menomini (Wisconsin), the Choctaw (Southeastern U.S.) tribes: A boy has trapped the sun in a net because it burned him or a favorite robe. He refuses to release it. An animal then comes along and chews the net open.
The Cherokee (southern Allegheny mountains, Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama): Many years ago, the daughter of the sun was killed and the sun became dark in her grief. Seven men were charged with the task to go to the land of ghosts and bring back the daughter. They did so, placing her in a box for travel. The girl begged to see out and finally the men lifted the lid, releasing a flash of red. This became the world’s first cardinal. Then, still trying to bring back the sun, the people sent dancers to dance before the sun. Finally, the sun peeked out and the upper and lower worlds were once again in balance.
The Algonquin Tribe (Michigan, Ontario, Quebec): A young boy, seeing an unusual track in the snow, decided to set his snare and catch the animal. The track belonged to the sun, and the next day when the sun came by, it was caught in the snare. The next day, the sun didn’t rise, and the earth was dark. The people found out about the boy’s snare and went to free the sun, but couldn’t get near it without getting burned. Many other animals tried to cut the cord too. Finally, the mouse was able to cut the cord with his teeth and release the sun. That is why, to this day, the mouse’s teeth are brown.
From my home, I can expect to see about 87% of the eclipse, with the deepest darkness at 1:15pm CDT.
If you are reading this early in the day, check HERE to find out the best time for you to see the peak darkness in your area. However, unless you have purchased special glasses DO NOT look directly at the sun!
Do you have any “eclipse” legends from your own heritage?
What will YOU be doing when the eclipse happens?
I hope you take the time to experience it and feel a bit of awe and wonder!
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