Oh my god! What’s happening to the sun?! It’s the end of times! Run for your lives! I know what you’re thinking, “Have you lost your mind? It’s just the moon passing in front of the sun.” That’s true, (on both counts). What we experienced on Monday was just a natural phenomenon that happens more often than most people think. Regardless of when it happens, anyone who sees it, thinks it’s spectacular, at least, the advanced civilizations do.
Imagine, if you will, that it’s hundreds of years in the past, and people are going about their daily business when, suddenly, the sky becomes dark, even though it was day time moments ago. What do you think went through their minds? Well, I’ll tell you, it wasn’t calm, happy thoughts, that’s for certain. Anyone who saw a total eclipse began to fear for their lives. After all, many people spent their entire lives in one basic location. So, they, probably, saw only one complete eclipse ever. For these people, the sun was a constant, with the lengths of day and night shifting only a little on a daily basis. For the sun to go dark in the middle of the day meant pandemonium.
Some of you may be wondering how this is a topic for a Halloween blog. Well, as I said, people only recently discovered that the moon passing in front of the sun is a natural occurrence. Before that, the people, of whatever region the total eclipse passed over, began to blame dark, malevolent creatures. Some cultures believed that demons, wolves, or dragons had eaten the sun. Almost all of the cultures that viewed such an occurrence believed that the eclipse was a sign that the apocalypse was coming. In the Book of Revelations, an eclipse is specifically listed as one of the signs: a story about a skeleton-like figure atop a horse cutting a swath through human bodies as darkness spreads behind him…? If that’s not Halloween related, I don’t know what is.
Now, that is from the mythological front. People actually believed these stories. On the fictional front, eclipses were associated with other dark creatures, like Dracula. Obviously, the eclipse doesn’t last long enough for supposedly light-fearing creatures to venture out into. However, it is this occurrence that heralds the emergence of such creatures. Clearly, it’s another reference to the “end of times”. The real Dracula, Vlad Tepes, Dracula, was responsible for impaling hundreds of men and women. The name, Dracula, means Dragon in Romanian, and I’ve already mentioned that some cultures believed a solar eclipse was a dragon eating the sun. Is all of that a coincidence…?
Another creature that comes to mind when talking about a solar eclipse is the Ouroboros, a serpent that is usually seen eating its own tail. Why is this significant? Well, for one, the image just pops out in pictures of a total eclipse. Also, the two entities involve the same idea: the Ouroboros is said to represent the repetition of life, i.e., the old being taken over by the new. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that a solar eclipse is also a sort of new beginning. Both things represent nature’s cycle of life and Death.
Even though we know exactly what causes it, a solar eclipse still has an air of mystery. By ancient terms, it is darkness taking over the light, even if only for a brief moment. Yet, perhaps the ancients weren’t so far off in their beliefs about the end of times. Darkness could take over at any time. Then what?