Tonight’s total lunar eclipse will be the first to happen on the winter solstice since Dec. 21, 1638. The last version is listed as the first lunar event ever recorded in the United States (except for, you know, all those lunar events that defined the Native American calendar).
So if you miss tonight’s astronomological extravaganza, make sure to remind your child to remind his child to remind her child to remind her child to check the next one out. (Speaking optimistically).
Some belief systems that revolve around the lunar calendar have unusual ideas about pregnant women and lunar eclipse. And what if your baby is actually BORN tonight? We know what they say about babies born on the full moon…what about a baby born on a full moon, eclipsed by the sun, on the longest night of the year?
Here are some of the weirder superstitions about eclipse and pregnancy:
A pregnant woman should not go outside during an eclipse or her baby will be born with a deformity.
A pregnant woman should not use a knife to cut anything during an eclipse or her child will be born with a harelip.
A pregnant woman who touches her belly during an eclipse will have a baby born with a birthmark.
Superstitions about eclipses are particularly ingrained in India, where women may actually try to avoid giving birth on the day of an eclipse because it is thought to bring discord into a child’s life. There’s actually a movement among medical professionals to negate these superstitions, because in some cases the desire to delay (or rush) a birth to avoid an eclipse day can be dangerous for mother and baby. However, not all doctors are so sure the superstitions aren’t to be trusted:
“I didn’t believe in these things,” said gynecologist Dr. Tasneem Kausar. “But when I was eight months pregnant, I went to my roof where construction was taking place during a lunar eclipse and made a mark on the wall. When my son was born a month later, he had exactly the same mark on his belly.” Kausar’s son was also born with deformed hands, which she claimed were twisted into the position her hands were in when she made the mark.
From an astrological perspective, a baby born on an eclipse shares all the traits of one born on a full moon, only more so. The eclipse is a “superintensifier.” Eclipse babies have a sun/moon opposition, which can manifest as inner or outer conflict. But an eclipse birth date can be seen as auspicious as well, depending on other astrological factors.
But should your baby be born on this particular eclipse, any negativity about the eclipse may be, uh, eclipsed by the great fortune of being born on the winter solstice.
Here’s what goddessgift.com has to say on the subject:
“Throughout the world gods and goddesses of light were being born during the Winter Solstice. The Egyptian goddess Isis delivered Horus whose symbol was the winged Sun. Mithras, the Unconquered Sun of Persia, was born during the solstice, as was Amaterasu, the Japanese Goddess of the Sun. Rhea gave birth to Saturn (son of the Father of Time), Hera conceives Hephaestus, and Quetzalcoatl and Lucina (“Little Light”) also celebrate birthdays at this time. Lucia, saint or Goddess of Light, is honored from Italy to Sweden, crowned with candles to carry us through the darkness. The birth of Sarasvati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge and the Queen of Heaven, is also celebrated during Yule-tide.”
But Solstice babies have had some historical controversy. In Ancient Greece and Rome, the winter solstice was straddled by the Saturnalia festival (Dec 17-23). “In Greek and Cypriot folklore it was believed that children born during the festival were in danger of turning into Kallikantzaroi which come out of the Earth after the solstice to cause trouble for mortals. Some would leave colanders on their doorsteps to distract them until the sun returned.”
Just make sure you lie flat in bed from 2 to 5 AM (EST) without moving or touching your belly, get that colander onto your birth plan and your baby should be just fine.
photo: David Boyle/flickr