Home >>

Superstitions Regarding Eclipses and Heavenly Bodies
Published By V Kumar on 2011-08-15 503 Views

Mankind has always been fascinated by heavenly bodies, the planets and the stars. These objects which used to lit up and occupy his nights may have lost most of their value in the urbanized, industrialized world, but their fancy and impacts remain embedded in the collective human subconscious. Eclipses continue to draw attention as do planets and their aura.


The sky and its objects have been objects of fascination, imagination and inspiration for humanity since eternity. Our ignorance about them, the limitation of what we can see with bare eyes and our imagination which knows no bounds has together interacted to form not only beliefs and superstitions, but even complex semi-sciences like astrology and predications, which survive even today in spite of all our knowledge, for the simple reason that what we know is too miniscule compared to what we don’t.

The Sky and Mankind

Modern urban dweller rarely gets a chance to look at the night sky, and even when he momentarily does, the lights around him often obscure his vision and hardly leave him with an opportunity to stare at the heavenly bodies that lit the space above him. Thus, it may often be very difficult for us to make out how the age old beliefs and superstitions about them came to exist and even occupy so much importance in our social life. Today, many of these beliefs and superstitions look primitive, stupid or even illogical, but would probably be better appreciated if we are able to put ourselves in the shoes of our ancestors and also be able to understand the underlying concepts rather than the superficial expletives.

The Fascination of Eclipses

The most fascinating event of the skies has always been the eclipse. Solar eclipse has been considered a very significant event. Most civilizations considered it to be associated with negative consequences and inauspicious for events like marriage, coronation and celebration. In a way this approach depicts the moderating influence that celestial events brought on mankind, by making them realize their ignorance as well as their insignificance in this vast universe. The phenomenon of Sun just disappearing in broad daylight is a daunting experience even today. For the earlier people who paid much more attention to nature and were affected far more by it, it would have been enough to sent shivers down their spine.

Many civilizations have legends and fables associated with eclipses and celestial bodies. In Indian tradition, two entities called ‘Rahu’ and ‘Ketu’ are conceptualized who are always striving to engulf the Sun and the Moon respectively, causing eclipse. While it is common to portray them as demons, the learned express them as stellar situations or relative movements of planets that are pre-destined and inevitable. They have a lot of significance in astrological calculations.

The Celestial Sun: Giver of Life

Among the celestial bodies, the most important is the Sun, which has been worshipped in most ancient civilizations, including Rome, Egypt and India. The central source of energy which helps the human race and all other forms of life to thrive on Earth is ironically given more appropriate significance and credit than we are able to do in spite of all other advancements in science and knowledge. Sun worshipping has been near universal, but the form in which it was perceived or projected was often different from place to place, and time to time.

Moon: The Object of Fancy

Moon on the other hand is always an object of fancy. It is often used as a euphemism for beauty and peace, concepts which probably arose from the site of a full moon on a calm night that was reassuring as well as added light to their world. Its changing forms and shapes added to the fascination and formed the earliest calendars and astrological works.

Childish curiosity about the Moon and its spots also gave rise to fables and beliefs such as that of an old lady working there or the spots being a result of an dejected lover’s curse. Stars too have had a lot of significance in people’s beliefs and tradition. On one hand they were used in astro-predictions, while on the other they were the objects of fables and tales that passed down the generations as the earliest literatures that humans produced.

These celestial bodies and events have been a special part of our collective memory and conscience, and while they may not be rational or scientific, they at least deserve to be remembered as part of our history and tradition.

Post Comment Comments (0) Report This

More Articles Specially Recommended for You:

Endangering the Great Lakes of North America : Will we learn to respect the nature?

The Great lakes of North America are being endangered progressively by unremitting human intervention. While the Governments are also stepping i

Written By : V Kumar
Can rationing prevent environmental crisis ?

Rationing is an unpopular way of controlling wastage, but it can still reduce environmnetal damage and need to be considered as a possible polic

Written By : V Kumar
Should schools provide cash rewards to best performing students ?

Creating strong and effective incentives is the best way to promote a particular behavior. There is no reason why it will not work in education.

Written By : V Kumar
Expectations rule our existence

Most aspects of our daily life depend on what we expect to happen. It affects our happiness, our relationships and our behavior. Expectations ar

Written By : V Kumar
Freedom is not free from limitations

Our literatures, our media, our education, our aspirations – even our minds, are in the habit of talking so much about freedom. While free

Written By : V Kumar
Urban Exploration: trespassing or adventure - the stuff you really should know before you urbex

What is Urban Exploration? Urban Exploration or 'Urbexing' is, put simply, an interest in deserted, abandoned and derelict

Written By :10prestoncourt
Sourcing Raffle Prizes and Auction Lots

Holding a raffle or auction is a great way to raise funds for your cause. However, you need to go about it in the right way. Who t

Written By :10prestoncourt
Event Publicity – tried and tested ways to reach the right audience

You don't need to spend lots of money to publicize your event, you just need to follow some tried and tested methods. Establish

Written By :10prestoncourt
How to create eye-catching event flyers

In a world where we are bombarded with information everywhere we go, it is very easy to overlook a neatly typed up event poster. 

Written By :10prestoncourt
Howtoee Review

Howtoee is a new revenue sharing site. It currently pays $5 per article and gives 100% revenue from Google Adsense. The site looks clean but I a

Written By :11tatic


LogIn or SignUp! now to post your comments on this article.