When the light drops in the middle of the day and darkness falls over the earth for a few minutes, something spectacular happens. To come across a total solar eclipse is a rare and profound experience. Not only do you witness a remarkable natural phenomenon, you also become part of a global celebration, rich with culture and traditions.
Often when tasked with a new project, the search for inspiration seems to be endless, where you're not sure which ideas to hold onto and which to let go. It was during this frantic search for creativity that I met Elmara.
Still a stranger, she presented me with an envelope with my name written on it. Inside there was a prestik-stained picture I drew when I was too young to remember. It was returned to me years after I handed it to her as a little kid instructing her to never throw it away. She immediately had my attention – and kept it throughout the evening with stories of love, travel and chasing eclipses.
Even though I've never experienced an eclipse in real life, this poster gave me a taste of the magic that exists around solar eclipses.
Only in the moon's full shadow, the umbra, can viewers see a total eclipse. The longest total solar eclipse of the 21st century took place on July 22, 2009 when the totality lasted 6 minutes and 39 seconds.
In most Aboriginal cultures solar eclipses have been interpreted as the lovemaking of the Sun and the Moon.
The Vikings tell a tale about two wolves who wish to eat the Sun and Moon. Skoll goes after the Sun and Hati, running ahead of the Sun, goes after the Moon. When either are caught, there is an eclipse.
A native Fillipeno myth tells of Bakunawa, a dragon-like snake that rises from the sea once or twice in a man’s lifetime, and reaches up to the sky to brazenly eat the sun or the moon.
Some North American Indian tribes deduced that during an eclipse, the Sun's fires were somehow being quenched - so they reversed the process by firing flaming arrows into the sky to re-light the Sun. In every case this proved most effective!
Andean tribes of Native South America believed the eclipse occurs when a puma devours the Sun. To prevent the Sun’s death, the puma is frightened away by the screams of children.