Fear of eclipses and occultations

The sudden disappearance from the sky of familiar luminous bodies causes the gravest apprehension and dread among primitive peoples as it did among the most ancient ancestors of humanity. Typically it is the total eclipse of the sun that is most frightening, but in the partial eclipses of the sun and moon also, a giant dark shadow is seen moving over the celestial body as though it were devouring it. This shadow is given the reality in diverse cultures of being a great monster, or beast. The fear that the sun might not return after such an eclipse caused rites of propitiation. The dread of eclipses may be one of the fundamental fears that primitive religion was organized to counter.
Problem Type:
F: Fuzzy exceptional problems
Date of last update
23.08.2001 – 00:00 CEST