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From the buzzards perspective...

Random articles that are created as I travel, experience new things, meet new people and discover new insights.

  • Writer's pictureEddy Weiss

Total Eclipse of the Heart

A week ago I encountered my old friend the Reaper. Health issues come and go and in my life, come more than they go, but last week was a serious brush with mortality that literally brought me to my knees.  In retrospect, I have not gone to much trouble to live a healthy life and have pushed the envelope more times than there are envelopes.  I am blessed that I am still here with you all and that it appears I may stick around for a while longer if ya’ll don’t mind.



The timing was strange. As I went to back to the Doctor Monday morning to see if I was going to stick around, millions were heading to the path of totality. Maybe I was too.

The recent total eclipse captivated millions around the world, but I like to believe its significance stretches far beyond a fleeting astronomical wonder that came and went on a Monday afternoon.


Eclipses are these strange celestial events that have been woven into the fabric of human experience, sparking scientific curiosity, igniting cultural traditions, and holding deep meaning for many.


For thousands of years many cultures have described a solar eclipse as a battle between good and evil, with the fate of the people of Earth at stake. If you followed the eclipse on social media, there were still many that held this belief on Monday.  In the book “Totality”, written by Fred Espenak and Mark Littman, the two authors describe a pattern in mythology where a creature tries to eat the sun.


In ancient China, the etchings discovered in Anyang depicted solar eclipses as celestial dragons attacking and devouring the sun. "To frighten away the dragon and save the sun, people would bang drums and make loud noises during an eclipse," according to Britannica.


The Greeks were one of many cultures to develop mythology and folklore to try and understand what was happening during an eclipse. Folklorist for the Smithsonian James Deutsch explains the storytelling built around eclipse cycles helped people cope “They thought the world was coming to an end, and there must be something they could do to stop it from happening.”


I found this to be incredibly true when observing the actions and emotions of those flocking to the path of totality this year. We live in a world that seems to be spinning out of control.


ISIS is back. Isreal is at war. Our American politics resemble that of some third world countries. Immigration issues, rioting, defunding, increased crime, financial woes. All of it has placed us in a position of desiring change.

 

We no longer feel like we are in control of anything. We crave just some kind of hold on our lives yet there seems to be no relief.


On Monday, millions waited to see who (or what) was in charge.


Once again, the God of the universe showed his stuff.



In under 7 minutes, we were taken from spectacular to darkness and then returned to spectacular, and for many, they welcomed the analogy of a resurrection. It gave us hope. We knew that were going to plunge into a dark place, but we stood until the sun appeared again.  We needed that.


You see, many cultures describe a solar eclipse as a battle between good and evil, with the fate of the people of Earth at stake.  In Norse mythology, the god Loki is put in chains by the gods, and in response, he creates wolves that try to eat the moon. It is a frog, toad, wolf, or Jaguar in other cultures.

 

In many traditions, an eclipse was a sign of something terrible to come and required action to ward off evil. In many traditions making noise, shouting, and creating a scene was thought to scare away the beings that consumed the sun.


It strikes me deeply that even today, this is how many people deal with the thought that there is a larger force in control and it is also how many deal with the unexplainable. Just yell and scream.


Other predictions were thought to speak of human error. In Transylvania, the sun turns away from humankind’s horrible behavior, raining down toxic dew. To the Babylonians, an eclipse was a warning that could foretell the death of a king.


This particular eclipse was needed because I believe that we all set aside what was consuming us for a few minutes to recognize that there is a power greater than all of us and that there is more to life than the daily battles. This eclipse was needed because I believe we now have recent proof that we can stand together (even if only for a few hundred seconds) as the light fades away, as we lose sight of the future, and as we regain sight and celebrate resurrection. It was a welcome reminder that there is a God who still controls the universe despite what we see here around us on a daily basis.


Studies have even shown for years that eclipses can transiently increase feelings of cooperation and community.  Did you feel that on Monday? Were you in the parking lot at work watching together despite that competitive atmosphere in the office? Did you feel it at the local park standing next to that person who voted differently than you last election? Did you feel it as you watched with your children despite the normal chaos of a day and the struggles in your family?


Of course you did. That is because it was meant to do just that.


You can say it is “just how the ball bounces” and an eclipse occurs because of patterns and orbits and time, but for me, I want to believe that this schedule, this timing, last Monday, was place on the calendar by an entity that knew thousands and thousands of years ago that we would need this event on April 8, 2024.


That means that even though I sometimes feel like He has turned His back on much of what is happening around me, He has actually been aware of it for a long, long time.

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