Some Myths About the Sun

Fiery Folklore: 5 Dazzling Sun Myths

Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer
Date: 18 May 2012 Time: 10:33 AM ET
A partial solar eclipse seen from space.
Remind anyone of a favorite arcade game? The new moon passes over the sun in this Feb. 21 image taken by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory. The partial eclipse was visible only from space.

The next partial solar eclipse Earthlings will be able to see will occur May 20, with views visible from Asia, the Pacific and western North America.

On Sunday (May 20), a solar eclipse will blot out the sun for viewers across much of Asia, the Pacific and western North America. These days, eclipses aren’t a big mystery — they occur when the moon passes between Earth and the sun. But throughout history, the sun’s significance, along with its mysteriousness, have yielded an array of solar myths.

From the fearsome figures that try to devour the sun to nine lost suns of the Chinese sky, here are the stories that have sought to explain our nearest star.

How Hou Yi shot the sun

In ancient Chinese mythology, the sky had not one, but 10 suns. Every day, the solar goddess Shiho would pick up one of these suns (also her sons) and wheel him across the sky in her chariot. In the meantime, the other nine would play among the leaves of the mythical Fusang tree, believed to be more than 10,000 feet tall.

This system worked well until the day that the suns grew bored of their responsibility. They decided to run across the sky all at once, planning to generate enough light and heat so that they could all take a few days off. Instead, this solar scamper dried up rivers, scorched the Earth and led to widespread drought.

Taking pity on suffering mortals, the sun god Dijun called in the expert archer Hou Yi. With 10 magic arrows, the story goes that Hou Yi was to discipline the irresponsible suns. The archer stalked and killed nine suns and would have snuffed out the last as well if a young boy hadn’t stolen his final arrow, saving Earth from perpetual darkness.

Ancient Chinese myth also holds that solar eclipses were caused by a demon or dragon devouring the sun, leading to a tradition in which people would play drums or bang pots to scare the sun-eater away. In actuality, Chinese astronomers seemed to understand eclipses as natural phenomena dating back at least as far as 720 B.C., with older observations scratched into bones dating back perhaps 3,000 years.

Chased by wolves

In ancient Norse legend, the sun goddess Sol travels through the sky chased by the wolf Sköll, who intends to devour her. (Sköll’s brother Hati does the same to the moon at night.) Eclipses were said to be a sign that Sköll was dangerously close to catching Sol.

In fact, the Norse believed that one day, the sun would finally be devoured. Mythology foretold a huge battle called Ragnarök, in which major gods would die and the Earth would be engulfed in a massive flood. This apocalypse would wipe the Earth, clean to be repopulated by a pair of human survivors.

Sailing the sun boat

One of the most important deities in the Egyptian pantheon was Ra, the falcon-headed sun god. Legend had it that every day Ra captained a boat crewed by gods across the sky. (This boat was called Mandjet, or the “Boat of Millions of Years” — an underestimate, given that our star is actually about 4.5 billion years old.)

At night, Ra returned to the east via the underworld, bringing light to the dead. It was a treacherous journey: Apep, an evil serpent god, attempted to stop Ra by devouring him. Solar eclipses were thought to be days when Apep got the upper hand, though Ra always managed to escape.

Jealous star

According to a Cherokee legend, the sun long ago grew jealous of her brother the moon because the people of Earth always looked at her with twisted-up faces and squinted eyes, while they smiled at his gentle light. The sun’s daughter lived in the middle of sky, so every day, the sun stopped to visit her. Angry at humans for their ugly expressions, the sun began using these opportunities to send down so much heat that people began to die of fever.

The humans turned to the Little Men, who in Cherokee legend were friendly, magical spirits who dwelt in the forests. The Little Men said that the sun must die, so they turned one man into a rattlesnake and another into a fearsome antlered serpent called the Uktena.

The rattlesnake arrived at the sun’s daughter’s house to wait for her arrival. But while he was waiting, the sun’s daughter opened her door. The rattlesnake accidentally bit her, killing her. When the sun came to see her daughter, she discovered her dead and began to weep, flooding the Earth with her tears.

Desperate to please the sun and stop the weeping, the people of Earth made an attempt to rescue the dead daughter from the land of ghosts, but failed. When they returned, the sun began to weep even harder. To distract her, the people began to dance and play music until she finally became happy again.

Slowing down the sun

The Maori people of New Zealand tell a tale about a long-ago time when the days were shorter than they are now. The hero Maui often heard his brothers lamenting the lack of light during the day. He decided to solve the problem by taming the sun. Although his brothers were skeptical, they and their tribe helped Maui weave a net out of flax.

Maui and his brothers then set out to the east to find the sun’s resting place. They covered the entry to the sun’s cave with nets and smeared themselves with clay to protect against the sun’s heat. When the sun emerged, it fought and struggled in the nets, but the brothers held firm. Maui began to beat the sun — some stories say he had an ax, others a club made of the jawbone of an ancestor — until the star was so weakened that it could no longer race across the sky. According to the legend, that is why the sun travels so slowly in the sky today.



Ancient History & Mythology

Ancient History Rocks

Sphinx_-_Copy_2.jpgWorld-renowned authority on ancient mysteries Graham Hancock joins rock’n’roll band Turbowolf to explore their mutual interest in theunresolved questions troubling the mainstream historical myths of our planet.

Known as the best-selling non-fiction author of books such as “The Sign and the Seal”, “Fingerprints of the Gods”, and “Supernatural”, Hancock explains how he accidentally began his career as an explorer of the unexplained in rural Ethiopia, why ancient maps provide troubling news for the strict evolutionary worldview, and why most mainstream historians refuse to investigate the mounting evidence that ancient megastructures such as the Great Pyramid and The Sphinx are dated incorrectly by thousands of years.

Standing in front of the steaming Roman Baths of Bath, Hancock says to Turbowolf at the end of Episode 1, “I can’t help feeling that there’s something missing from the story…” This video provides a quick and powerful reminder that we still have much to acknowledge and integrate from our past if we are to create wise global myths in our current time.


(Image photo of The Sphinx by Santha Faiia, copyright 1999.)   



Mary Magdalene

Why She Matters So

In Metahistory Quest we regard Mary Magdalene as the “patron saint” of our enterprise, although “patron heretic” would perhaps be a better term. We do so for a number of reasons:

First, Magdalene commands unique power in the popular imagination, equalling that of her male counterpart, Jesus. As the central figure in the missing part of the story upon which Christianity is based, she is the key to a revision of history and the cue to a future story through which human spirituality might be developed in an entirely different way than traditional religions propose. Although Magdalene emerged within the received script of Christianity, she leads away from it. She connects us to all that the founders of Christian religion denied and destroyed.

Second, she is the human reflection of the Divine Sophia, the feminine principle of wisdom central to the teachings of the Western Mysteries. With the Gaia-Sophia Principle as its main guideline for evaluating beliefs, gives unique importance to the woman traditionally seen as reflecting the Sophia principle. If Jesus in some sense represents the divinity innate to humans (a debatable point, however), Mary Magdalene represents the innate wisdom that wells up from indwelling divinity, and the loving recognition that embraces it. In the sense of indigenous wisdom, she is a reflection of the Earth Goddess.

Third, Magdalene is almost the sole surviving example of Pagan spirituality in which women played the role of initiator with sexuality as a sacrament. This aspect of Magdalene is highlighted in the review of Karen King’s book, The Gospel of Mary of Magdala, and elsewhere throughout the site. Liberated from the racial and historical assumptions of the Jesus story, Magdalene emerges as the woman who can best represent to the modern world the lost legacy of Pagan, pre-Christian spirituality, and the moral code of Pagan ethics.

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Oltissis ET Connection?

Earthfiles Viewer Letters About Oltissis

Kubaba is the Hurrian Goddess of the city of Carchemish, Turkey,
on the Euphrates River, at the Syrian border. She was usually depicted
as a regal woman wearing a long robe, either standing or seated on a throne.
She holds a mirror in her left hand and a pomegranate in her right hand,
symbols respectively of magic and fertility. She was adopted by the Hittites
after the fall of the Hurrians, and eventually evolved into the Phrygian Goddess
Cybebe, later known as Cybele to the Romans. Source:
Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara, Turkey.

July 7, 2011  Albuquerque, New Mexico – Since my Earthfiles and Coast to Coast AM radio reports on June 30 – July 1, 2011, I have received many viewer and listener emails about dragonfly drone eyewitness “Ted Connors” and the library book he says was confiscated by NSA and Homeland Security agents at his work place on December 22, 2010, concerning the subject of “Oltissis” referenced in the confiscated book. Ted says he looked through old books on a table at a local library and checked out one entitled, Ancient Greek Gods and Lore Revisited © 1962 by Fredrico Ionnides (words/spellings as remembered by Ted Connors, who is searching for original checkout information.) Ted found three references to Oltissis in the index. One reference was a footnote that the name Oltissis referred to historic pleasure palaces in Greece and China’s Xanadu. See Websites below.

The following emails are from Earthfiles viewers joining the book search with valuable insights of their own about the once-great, ancient Greek civilization on this planet lasting from the the 8th to 6th centuries B.C. through the beginning of the Early Middle Ages with the rise of the Byzantine era following Justinian I.

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