Eclipse countdown – 5 days! Are you stocked up on Meds? Water? Food? Cash? The moon will begin to cover the sun at 9:04 AM PDT. The coverage will continue to increase until it reaches its maximum coverage at 10:16 AM PDT, at which point the moon will be covering 100% of the sun. The moon will continue moving off of the sun until 11:36 AM PDT, at which point the sun will be completely visible again. If you’re not in Waldport, look up your time by zipcode! http://eclipseamerica.org/eclipse-time
There are still clouds this morning, which is making the sunlight turn off and back on like a bad bulb. 56F, supposed to get up to 66F, which is perfect temps for me. Wind around 8 and gusting over 10, but not much more on the beaches. Another lovely day!
We worked hard and steadily all day yesterday, and the customers came in regularly, which is *really* nice! I did a bunch of cutting out of more pincushions and Tempus worked on getting more things put away. Around 4pm we started setting up for Cheese.
I took a few minutes every so often to look outside at the sunshine, and actually went outside for a bit, when I was pretty sure I wouldn’t turn into a french fry, just to enjoy. The clouds were pretty and straining the sunlight a bit, but it was nice, the kind of day where you could say, “It’s nice and cool!” or “It’s nice and warm!” and be agreed with!
…and the cheese got too hot when I got distracted, so it didn’t work the way the other ones have, but I got some molded ones set up and draining, managed a little ricotta out of the whey and then set up a chowder with the rest of the whey to cook overnight. We ate and then headed home.
Today we’re doing some chores and then will head to the shop, hopefully to get the next display into place. ….then the paper run is tonight.
Some of you have heard me talk about sailing on the log canoes on the Chesapeake as a youngster. This looks *very* familiar with the folks hiked out on the leeboards, (and at that they’re not on a close reach, so not in any danger of being catapulted into the sail). This is a pic of a log canoe race, the Island Blossom, from 1950 or so.
Today’s feast is Sproshinki. This Slavic holiday celebrates the end of haymaking. People feast and hold contests, many of which are athletic is nature, but others are more like our tradition of County Fairs. One of my Babicka’s uncles regularly won the village competition for who could fork and throw a haybale the highest.
Today’s Feast is also for Vesta, Keeper of the Flame. It’s also Assumption Day, the day that the Virgin Mary was taken to heaven, which means that it is also sacred to all the forms of the Great Mother. For Vesta, light 6 red candles and burn herbs for your intent in a hearth fire. For the Virgin, light white. Give thanks to the Great Mother Goddess for your life, your family, your friends and our world.
Today’s Plant – Maidenhair Fern is cultivated for use in gardens, but out here on the coast you can’t walk past a stand of trees without seeing it. Our variety is Adiantum Pedatum, (northern maidenhair, five-fingered fern) most often , but others of the aidantums get mixed in, too. – Feminine, Venus, Water– This represents the physical presence of the Divine Feminine, much as the Sword Fern represents the Divine Masculine. To get more in touch with this part of your Higher Self and to gain grace and physical beauty (always remembering that true beauty is from within) soak a sprig of this plant in water (…better by moonlight, and it’s a great ritual for a Full Moon) and hang it in your bedroom. This is also helpful for the transition times between life stages, and can even help with becoming pregnant if there are physical difficulties with a woman’s cycles. More here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adiantum_pedatum and on the family grouping here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maidenhair_fern
The shop is open Thursday through Monday, although we’re there a lot later most nights. Need something off hours? Give us a call at 541-563-7154 or Facebook or email at email@example.com If we’re supposed to be closed, but it looks like we’re there, try the door. If it’s open, the shop’s open! In case of bad weather, check here at the blog for updates, on our Facebook as Ancient Light, or call the shop.
Love & Light,
Today’s Astro & Calendar
Waning Moon Magick – From the Full Moon to the New is a time for study, meditation, and magic designed to banish harmful energies and habits, for ridding oneself of addictions, illness or negativity. Remember: what goes up must come down. Phase ends at the Tide Change on 8/21 at 11:30am. Waning Crescent Moon –Best time for beginning introspective magicks that are more long term (full year cycle) A good time for beginning knot magicks to “bind up” addictions and illness (finish just before the Tide Change of Dark to New) and “tying up loose ends” God/dess aspects – Demeter weeping for her Daughter, Mabon, Arachne Tyr. Phase ends on 8/18 at 2:30am.
On the morning of the 16th, Venus shines with Aldebaran high above Orion. In early dawn Wednesday morning the 16th, look east for the waning Moon near Aldebaran. Below them is Orion, with his three-star belt nearly vertical.
Saturn (magnitude +0.3, in the legs of Ophiuchus) glows in the south at dusk. Addhhhntares, less bright, twinkles 13° to Saturn’s lower right.
Goddess Month of Hesperus runs from 8/9 – 9/5
Celtic Tree Month of Coll/Hazel, Aug 5 – Sep 1
Runic half-month of Ansuz/ As /Os/, 8-13-8/29 – This time is sacred to the god/desses of Asgard and contains the time of the Ordeal of Odin and the festival of the Runes. This time is also referring to Yggdrasil, the Tree that give order to the Worlds. This is a time of stability and divine order visible in the world.
©2017 M. Bartlett, Some parts separately copyright
Celtic Tree Month of Coll/Hazel, Aug 5 – Sep 1, Coll (CULL), hazel – The hazel (Corylus avellana L) is the source of hazelnuts. It forms a shrub up to 6 m (20 feet) tall, inhabiting open woodlands and scrubs, hedgerows, and the edges of forests. The filbert nut in North American groceries is Corylus maxima, a related species. The European hazelnut is cultivated in North America, primarily as an ornamental. Hazelnuts are in the Birch family (Betulaceae).
Coll – Hazel Ogam letter correspondences
Letter: C, K
Meaning: Creative energies for work or projects.
Tides for Alsea Bay
Day High Tide Height Sunrise Moon Time % Moon
~ /Low Time Feet Sunset Visible
Tu 15 Low 1:08 AM 0.7 6:20 AM Rise 12:24 AM 52
~ 15 High 7:14 AM 5.3 8:21 PM Set 2:57 PM
~ 15 Low 12:46 PM 2.1
~ 15 High 7:11 PM 7.5
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us – Ralph Waldo Emerson
~ He knows nothing; and he thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career. – George Bernard Shaw
~ I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have. – Thomas Jefferson
~ I live on hope and that I think do all Who come into this world. – Robert Bridges (1844-1930) English writer
~ Idle youth, enslaved to everything; by being too sensitive I have wasted my life. – Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891) French writer
Many swarms of wild bees descended on our fields:
Stately stood the wheatstalk with head bent high:
Big of heart we laboured at storing mighty yields,
Wool and corn, and clusters to make men cry! – George Meredith (1828–1909)
All around the globe, ancient cultures and religions attempted to explain solar and lunar eclipses. Many of those stories involved gods, demons, dragons and other creatures that prowled through the sky and threatened to devour the sun or the moon. People prayed, made offerings or hurled things into the sky to chase off the invaders.
Today, as the U.S. prepares for the total solar eclipse of Aug. 21, 2017, when the moon will cover 100 percent of the sun’s disk, areas that lie in the path of the total eclipse are planning festivals and multiday celebrations. In the modern age, scientists can predict when and where these cosmic events will occur, and skywatchers can appreciate their beauty rather than fear that the events might bring devastating consequences. It seems that humanity’s perception of eclipses has changed over the centuries.
And yet, the stories and superstitions of ancient times haven’t completely gone away, said E.C. Krupp, director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles and an expert on cultural aspects of astronomy including eclipse folklore and superstition. And even though most people today have access to science-based information about eclipses, misinformation, myths and superstitions continue to surround these celestial events. [Where to See the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse, State by State]
What causes the moon to turn a deep shade of red during a lunar eclipse? A story from the Toba people of South America claimed it was because the spirits of dead people had taken the form of jaguars and attacked the Earth’s lunar companion, leaving it bloody in the sky, Krupp wrote in his book “Beyond the Blue Horizon: Myths and Legends of the Sun, Moon, Stars and Planets,” (HarperCollins, 1991). When the Toba people saw the moon turn red, they would have to shout and make their dogs bark at the sky in order to scare off the jaguars and stop the slaughter.
There is great variety in the world’s many myths and folktales that attempt to explain the occurrence of solar and lunar eclipses. But these ancient stories tend to have a few things in common, Krupp told Space.com: They often involve eating or biting, and they tend to portray the eclipse as bad news.
“There’s certainly a uniform response — and by that I mean worldwide — that most people, most of the time, thought eclipses of the sun or the moon were trouble. Serious trouble,” he said. “And the nature of the trouble had to do with the fact that the foundation of their world seemed to be at risk [during an eclipse].”
People living in the modern world might not often think about why eclipses would be so deeply terrifying to ancient groups, Krupp said, but the lives of those people would have relied deeply on the “fundamental rhythms of the sky.” Things like sunrise and sunset, the lunar cycle, and the change of seasons gave order to the world, traced the passage of time, and in many ways determined people’s ability to survive, he said.
“So, when a tremendous break in the rhythm happens, like the sun going even partially out or the moon disappearing, it is more than just an astronomical inconvenience. It’s actually serious business for them,” he said.
The people who held these beliefs about eclipses also carried out rituals included shouting or wailing at the sky during an eclipse, firing arrows into the heavens to chase off beasts, or making offerings to the creatures responsible for these events. “Themyth and the ritual are all part of interpreting and engaging the forces that make the world the way it is,” Krupp said.
In his book, Krupp excerpted a passage from a book by a Spanish priest named Bernardino de Sahagún, who lived with Aztecs in ancient Mexico. According to the priest’s account, when a solar eclipse became visible in the sky, there was “tumult and disorder. All were disquieted, unnerved, frightened. There was a weeping. The common folk raised a cry, lifting their voices, making a great din, calling out, shrieking … People of light complexion were slain [as sacrifices]; captives were killed. … It was thus said, ‘If the eclipse of the sun is complete, it will be dark forever! The demons of darkness will come down; they will eat men.'”
Fear of eclipses didn’t end with the dawn of the scientific era. Krupp noted that total solar eclipses can be somewhat unsettling to behold because they are “an extraordinary reversal from what should be” — specifically, day turning into night. Modern skywatchers have reported being so hypnotized by these events that they completely forget to do things like snap a photograph or execute a scientific experiment. Skywatchers who have witnessed total solar eclipses may understand why people throughout history, and even into the modern era, have felt that these celestial events were a sign from another world.
Take, for example, the story of a Roman emperor who witnessed a total solar eclipse in A.D. 840. In his book “American Eclipse” (Liveright, 2017), journalist David Baron reported that the emperor was “so unnerved” by the sight of the eclipse that he stopped eating and eventually starved to death, “plunging his realm into civil war.”
On a somewhat happier note, in the sixth century B.C., a battle in Asia Minor between the Medes and the Lydians came to a halt when a total eclipse darkened the sky, Baron wrote; following the event, the soldiers were eager to make peace, believing the eclipse was a sign for them to stop the fighting, reports say.
Total solar eclipses continued to have such dramatic effects on people at least into the 19th century. In the summer of 1878, a total solar eclipse swept down through the continental U.S. In his book, Baron chronicled the deep impact this eclipse had on 19th century astronomy, due largely to observations of the eclipse performed by a young Thomas Edison, and the scientists James Craig Watson and Maria Mitchell.
But despite relatively extensive news coverage of the event, and despite the fact that astronomers knew not only when the event was coming but also where it would be visible, some of the people who witnessed the event swore it was a sign of the end times, Baron’s book said. A man named Ephraim Miller believed the eclipse marked the coming of the apocalypse, and rather than stay to see the horrors that were sure to follow, he took his own life, right after he murdered his son with an axe.
“The way beliefs work, it’s rare that someone suddenly lifts the shade and everybody changes their mind,” Krupp said. “There’s a spectrum of understanding across any culture.” [Solar Eclipses and Thailand’s Kings: A Curious History]
A demon’s revenge
Out of the many folktales Krupp has heard from around the world that provide an explanation for the eclipses, one stands out as his favorite, he said. “There’s nothing quite so elaborate and colorful and entertaining,” he said, as the eclipse myth from the Hindu textknown as the Mahabharata.
The very simplified version of the story goes like this: A group of gods wish to create an elixir of immortality, so they enlist a few demons to help them churn the cosmic ocean (using a mountain for a churning stick). The ambrosia eventually emerges like curds in milk. This process also leads to the creation of the moon and the sun, among other enchanted things. The gods promise to share the elixir with the demons, but when the task is done, the god Vishnu disguises himself as a woman, enchants the demons and steals their portion of the elixir.
The demon Rahu then sneaks into the camp of the gods and manages to steal a swig of the elixir, but the sun and the moon spot him and blow the whistle on him. Vishnu cuts off Rahu’s head, but because the demon is immortal, this doesn’t kill him. He’s angry at the sun and the moon for ratting him out, so he chases the two objects through the sky. Every once in a while, he catches up with one of his betrayers and swallows it, but because he’s just a severed head, the sun or the moon slips back out through his disconnected neck. Nonetheless, the demon continues his pursuit indefinitely.
The complete story is beautiful and entertaining — not to mention one of the less ominous eclipse myths — and it did not disappear as people who practiced Hinduism learned about the science of the planetary bodies, according to Krupp. As Eastern astronomers deciphered the orbital geometry of these three bodies, the story was adapted, not abolished. In particular, the demon Rahu became associated with what are known as eclipse nodes, Krupp said.
During a lunar eclipse, the Earth lies directly between the sun and the moon, casting a shadow on the lunar surface. During a solar eclipse, the moon is between the Earth and the sun, casting its shadow on the Earth’s surface. The moon’s orbit is tilted with respect to Earth’s orbit, so the three bodies don’t line up every time the moon loops around the planet. The points where the moon’s path crosses the path of the sun are called nodes, and both the sun and the moon must be located at those nodes for an eclipse to occur (this can include partial or total eclipses, as well as annular solar eclipses). The sun and the moon both come close to these two nodes about every six months, when Earth experiences an “eclipse season.”
As Western astronomy from Greece and the Mediterranean made its way east to regions like modern-day India, Hindu astronomy adopted geometric and mathematical models of the motions of heavenly bodies, Krupp said. The demon Rahu was associated with the two nodes, and eventually one node became associated with Rahu while the other became associated with the demon Katu, which is actually Rahu’s tail, Krupp said. The nodes are invisible, and so are the demons; the nodes change position in the sky, as the demons are pictured to do. By tracking the movement of the nodes, astronomers could eventually predict when and where eclipses would occur.
The story of Rahu’s vengeful pursuit of the sun and the moon is also depicted on a wall of the main temple on the predominantly Hindu island of Bali, Krupp said. In 2016, when a total solar eclipse passed over Indonesia, representations of this traditional story were used extensively in advertising, he said. Two competing beer manufacturers on the neighboring island of Java (which is predominantly Muslim) both used images of the demon Rahu on their eclipse-themed brews.
“It shows you that [the story] is part of the living tradition in Bali,” Krupp said. “And then if you were to ask the devout Balinese people, ‘Do you believe these Hindu stories?’ … The answer is yes. And probably if you asked many of them ‘Do you understand how the solar system works?’ they’d say yes. And that is a confirmation of the extraordinary human ability to talk out of both sides of the mouth at the same time.”
The people of Bali aren’t the only ones carrying these historic interpretations of eclipses into the present day. In many languages, Krupp said, the words used to describe eclipses are the same words that mean “to eat” or “to bite.” In the English language, “eclipse” is derived from the Greek term “ekleipsis,” which means “an omission” or “an abandonment.”
In 1963, a total solar eclipse was visible in Alaska and parts of Maine, while a partial eclipse was visible from much of North America. That year, Charles Schultz produced an eclipse-themed edition of his famous “Peanuts” comic strip. In it, the character Linus states, “There is no safe method for looking directly at an eclipse. And it is especially dangerous when it is a total eclipse.”
Linus’ statement is entirely untrue. One can look directly at an eclipse with the help of solar viewing glasses, and when the moon fully covers the solar disk (a total eclipse), skywatchers should absolutely remove their eye protection and view the event with their naked eyes. Space.com columnist and night sky expert Joe Rao said he deeply laments that this eclipse myth was spread by Schultz — so much so that Rao wrote a children’s bookto help dispel it.
The false belief persists; many people have a general fear that looking at a total solar eclipse can be worse than looking at the unobscured sun. And Krupp said that in modern-day society, many people have reservations about looking at the eclipsed sun without eye protection, because so much emphasis is placed on not looking directly at the sun at any other time. Doing that can in fact cause blindness or other permanent eye damage. (Having never seen a total solar eclipse myself, I confess I was skeptical when an expert told me that observers should look at the totally eclipsed sun with the naked eye.) Krupp said this concern or a fear of a liability issue could persuade parents or teachers to keep children from viewing the eclipse.
Fear of eclipses has not been completely snuffed out in the modern age. Krupp wrote an article for “Sky and & Telescope”magazine about a persistent belief that eclipses can cause birth defects in unborn fetuses or miscarriages in pregnant women. He said there is clear evidence that this belief arose in central Mexico around the time that European settlers arrived there (people also thought that during an eclipse children would turn into mice), but the idea is not unique to that country. Over the decades, the observatory has received multiplecalls from people wanting to know if this belief is true, so that they might protect themselves or a pregnant loved one, Krupp said.
To be clear, there is no evidence that eclipses harm pregnant women or their fetuses.
For the Aug. 21 eclipse, NASA and the American Astronomical Society have conducted a massive campaign of public awareness. In addition to providing people with information about eye safety, the organizers are warning people about the massive crowds that are expected to gather in the path of totality. Traffic is likely to be nightmarish if too many people drive into the path of totality on the day of the eclipse, experts have warned. Gasoline could become scarce near the path, and people should make sure they have access to food, water and bathrooms. Angela Speck, a researcher at the University of Missouri who is part of the AAS Eclipse Task Force told Space.com that conditions are “going resemble a zombie apocalypse.”
While humanity may have moved beyond some ancient responses to eclipses, the 2017 total solar eclipse could be an example of a new mythos surrounding these awe-inspiring cosmic events.
Editor’s note: Space.com has teamed up with Simulation Curriculum to offer this awesome Eclipse Safari app to help you enjoy your eclipse experience. The free app is available for Apple and Android, and you can view it on the web. If you take an amazing photo of the Aug. 21 solar eclipse, let us know! Send photos and comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org.