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Solar eclipses and superstitions

August 15, 2017

On Aug. 21 beginning at 10:15 a.m. PDT, a total solar eclipse will sweep across the United States. The sight of the fully eclipsed Sun will be visible along a 70-mile-wide path arching from Oregon to South Carolina. Millions of people are expected to travel to this “path of totality” to watch as the moon entirely covers the face of the Sun, according to timeanddate.com.


A Grahan or an eclipse is a rare event when one planetary body obscures another, for certain duration of time. A solar eclipse is a result of the moon coming in alignment with the sun and blocking the sun’s rays rays from reaching the earth. A full eclipse occurs when this alignment is perfect, and a partial eclipse occurs when this alignment is not complete.


I remember the partial eclipse that took place July 20, 1965. There were many televised warnings to not look directly at the Sun lest it ruin your eyes.


This is because the sun puts out more power than our eyes are designed to handle and exposing our eyes to that kind of power can damage the retina. Solar eclipses are dangerous because the sun can come out from behind the moon and surprise you before you have a chance to look away according to physlink.com. Be safe don’t look directly at the Sun during the eclipse.


Prior to the 1965 eclipse cardboard viewers were sold at the dime store. The idea being to look at the shadow of the eclipse.


The way I remember it, my brother Brian Hill and I were on the rear porch of the family garage playing cards. Several nail holes in the corrugated tin roof showed us what I remember as circle shadows. Were these shadows pie they would have been shy a quarter-pie-size piece.


The movement of the solar system is rather like the weather. Mere mortals can no more affect these phenomena than we can fly. There are many superstitions associated with the eclipse.


The Pomo, an indigenous group of people who live in the northwestern United States, tell a story of a bear who started a fight with the sun and took a bite out of it. The Pomo name for a solar eclipse is “Sun got bit by a bear.” After taking a bite of the sun and resolving their conflict, the bear, as the story goes, went on to meet the moon and take a bite out of the moon as well, causing a lunar eclipse. This story may have been their way of explaining why a solar eclipse happens about two weeks before or after a lunar eclipse, said timeanddate.com.


Other myths and legends see the eclipse as evil omens that bring death, destruction and disasters. A popular misconception is that solar eclipses can be a danger to pregnant women and their unborn children. In many cultures young children and pregnant women are asked to stay indoors during a solar eclipse.


According to “The Encyclopedia of Superstitions,” people need to be cautious and take extra care three days before and three days after an eclipse takes place. An eclipse of the sun delays progress for a seven-day period. An eclipse of the moon is a sign of bad luck, making it a bad time for both investments and important decisions.

Mercury turns retrograde on Aug. 12. Some of the unexplainable occurrences that can influence your life include computer glitches, traffic jams, interrupted telephone service, machinery failures and tempers a little closer to the surface than normal. In general, the effect of Mercury retrograde is annoyance. Little things get snarled up and a low-grade frustration emerges. Anything involving communications, verbal activity, technology, short trips and journeys can be affected. Missing reservations, memory lapses, confusion, missed deadlines can all wreak havoc with our life.


Machinery and anything with moving parts such as computers, camera equipment, garbage disposals, and so forth, will reveal any weak links now. It is critical that you back up your data systems. Projects will demand more time and money than anticipated during this period.


A solar eclipse while Mercury is in retrograde sounds like a recipe for disaster!

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