“If you do a worldwide survey of eclipse lore, the theme that constantly appears, with few exceptions, is it’s always a disruption of the established order,” said E. C. Krupp, director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California. That’s true of both solar and lunar eclipses.
“People depend on the sun’s movement,” Krupp said. “[It’s] regular, dependable, you can’t tamper with it. And then, all of a sudden, Shakespearean tragedy arrives and time is out of joint. The sun and moon do something that they shouldn’t be doing.”
On August 21st of this year, the United States will witness its first total solar eclipse seen across the totality of the country in nearly forty years. For millennia, humans have gazed towards the skies in awe, observing that heavenly bodies move regularly and predictably with mathematical certainty, and this has inspired poets, philosophers, and other thinkers to ruminate on man’s relationship to the universe, and the possibility that human activity is ruled by laws and patterns independent of human activity.