Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Eclipses of the Sun

There's a solar eclipse coming up on 11 September. Predictions for events following eclipses occasionally prove to be partially, or even wholly accurate, but sometimes they don't. If ever I feel depressed after reading eclipse predictions I dilute that feeling by remembering that eclipses are a regular part of life on Earth. It's a bit like the slight feeling of risk involved in flying (by plane, not on a broomstick!). If ever I feel nervous I think of the number of flights in a day, all over the world, of the staff on board all those planes - the stewardesses or whatever they are called these days. They fly many times a week, month in, month out, without problem. Why would anyone feel nervous about one single flight - or one single eclipse ?

Eclipses of the Sun are dramatic events, I can't argue with that. They feature in several novels and films - there's a list of some of them at Wikipedia HERE. The only one from that list I can recall is "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court", in which Bing Crosby (playing a time traveller to the past) convinced adversaries of his power by using knowledge that a solar eclipse was due to take place.

I discovered another story involving an eclipse of the Sun quite accidentally this week. I was searching for information about Borodin's opera "Prince Igor", from which the music of the stage show and film "Kismet" was borrowed. I can't seem to get this music out of my mind these days. "Kismet" (see my husband's blog) was set in Baghdad - in the time when it was a beautiful city - it's very sad to think about that now. "Prince Igor", however, was set in Russia.

The synopsis of "Prince Igor" goes something like this: The Prince is mobilizing his army against the Polovtsians (a nomadic people) who have been attacking and raiding the Russians' territory and carrying away their people into slavery. There is an eclipse of the Sun and the sky grows dark.

The people see this as a bad omen and plead with Prince Igor to abandon his mission. Igor sees it as an omen - but whether good or bad is to be seen. His wife, Yaroslavna, begs him to stay home but he is not persuaded. He must defend his and Russia's honor. Things go badly, Igor's brother plans to depose him in his absence, Igor and his son are taken captive by the Polovtsians. In the end though, Igor escapes and returns to his wife and to defend his city. There's a sub-plot involving his son's love affair with the daughter of the Polovtsian leader.

So....there was bad news, and there was good news, after that eclipse.

I understand that Igor's story is based on historical events See HERE -

"There was apparently opposition to this campaign among members of Igor's retinue. On May 1, 1185, there was an eclipse of the sun, which the Nikonovskaya Chronicle describes: "A Portent. That same year, in the month of May, on the fist day, there was a portent in the sun; it was very dark, and this was for more than an hour, so that the stars could be seen, and to men's eyes it was green, and the sun became as the [crescent] moon, and from its horns flaming fire was emitted; and it was a portent terrible to see and full of horror." Although the Russians interpreted this phenomenon as an evil omen, Igor insisted that the campaign continue, saying, "No one knows the mysteries of God. God is the maker of this sign and of the whole world. And whether that which God does to us is for good or for ill, this too we shall see."

With regard to the coming eclipse - as Prince Igor said..... "this too we shall see".


Richard said...

Thanks for dropping by and commenting over at my place.

Having just read your profile I can ahrdly believe there are so many 'things' we have in common. Amazing.

But then ... to read that you too were a child in Britain under WW2 bombardment ... in a seaport city too ... well ....

Some might even say 'Spookey,' eh?

Twilight said...

Hi Richard

Thanks for coming to see me - it's nice to meet you!

I found your blog via Lynn Hayes Astrology Musings, which led me on to a blog called Brilliant at Breakfast, where I spied a link to yours.

It's always a great pleasure to find a fellow-countryman, especially one who talks about politics and is "of an age" (there aren't that many of us around in blogland) - I'll visit regularly - keep the teapot warm! ;-)

Michelle said...

Hi Twilight

You might find this website interesting..

She does monthly astrology predictions.

It's a grotty place to navigate around. I can't give you the direct link - you'll need to hunt on the right for "Energies for Sept - Endings and beginnings"

Twilight said...

Thanks, Michelle - Ill be on my way there next!

Richard said...


Darjeeling, Early Grey or English Breakfast?

Milk or lemon?

Best bone china or big mug?

Twilight said...

My tastes are fairly simple as far as tea's concerned, thank you, Richard. A steaming mug of English Breakfast would go down nicely, with a little milk, no sugar.

A hunk of toasted "proper" bread with "proper" butter would be like manna from Heaven to this ex-pat who has now to make do with nasty plastic bread and tasteless butter. :-(

Richard said...

Your tea and toast, ma'am.


Twilight said...

MMmmm - YUM! Thank you kindly, sir.