The sun has long been a source of myth and legend throughout various cultures, and one of the most significant solar events that can take place is that of an eclipse. Although an eclipse itself is just another scientific event, there are a number of superstitions that surround the phenomenon. You can incorporate solar eclipse magic into your rituals and practice. Let’s take a look at some of the stories surrounding the eclipse of the sun.
Remember, just like with a full moon, the eclipse doesn’t have to be visible for you to take advantage of it magically.
Safety tip: For the love of Pete, don’t look directly at the sun during an eclipse. Wear protective glasses – and this means more than just your regular sunglasses – to view this event, or you could risk retinal burns and permanent eye damage. For more on this, read up on Safely Viewing Solar Eclipses.
A number of ancient cultures have legends and folklore that explain a solar eclipse with an animal or other being trying to physically consume the sun. In Korean mythology, an eclipse happens because giant dogs are trying to steal the sun and run off with it.
The Vietnamese associated eclipses with a similar story involving an enormous frog, and in China, it’s a dragon that wants to eat the sun. Some societies used science to explain eclipses – the Mayans, the Mesopotamians and the Egyptians used astronomy and dates of past eclipses to predict future ones. According to Plutarch, the Egyptians understood that a solar eclipse was the result of the moon passing between the sun and the earth.
However, knowledge of science and astronomy didn’t preclude the existence of myths and legends that attributed eclipses to the behavior of the gods.
In some areas, an eclipse was considered an omen of destruction or devastation. Although many people have associated solar eclipses with earthquake activity, it’s important to remember that earthquakes happen all the time, every day, around the globe, and scientists have not been able to prove that seismic events are the direct result of a solar eclipse – correlation is not causation.
For Muslims, an eclipse is a time to recognize the power and majesty of Allah. About.com’s former Islam Expert, Huda, explains why Muslims are humbled before Allah during an eclipse event.
In many belief systems, a solar eclipse is considered a sort of magical bonus round – this means that any workings you do during this period will have a lot of extra energy behind them. If there’s a working you’d like to do that seems like a bit of a challenge, try it during an eclipse, and see if it gives you the boost you need. There are a few magical traditions that believe only a very experienced magical practitioner should attempt a working during an eclipse, because of the levels of power and energy. In general, if you’re not part of one of these traditions, it’s safe to use your own best judgment.
Some people associate the eclipse not only with destruction but with rebirth – there are some legends that seeds planted during a solar eclipse will blossom sooner and healthier than their counterparts planted at other times.
If you’re someone who follows astrology, there’s a theory that a solar eclipse that takes place during a new moon phase is a good time to perform workings related to love magic.