‘Everything is interrelated.’ For the Navajo Nation, the April 8 solar eclipse is a spiritual experience

The “Great North American Eclipse” is just over a week away.

For many in the path of totality, preparing for the total solar eclipse on April 8 includes planning where to view it, who you’ll be viewing it with, and securing protective sunglasses to be able to witness safely. a procession of heavenly transformation in the sky. But for the indigenous peoples of North America, it is a completely different type of preparation, and a philosophy that is very different from Western culture.

“The Navajo worldview includes a holistic universe and order in which everything is interrelated and all the pieces of the universe are encompassed within the whole,” Nancy C. Maryboy, founder and president of the Society. Institute of Native Education, said in release. “At the same time, each piece contains the entire universe, creating a network of relationships and processes in constant flux. Unlike Western astronomy, traditional Navacho astrology is highly spiritual in accordance with a worldview in which that all things are alive and holy.”

Related: 2024 total solar eclipse maps ‘path of totality’

For the Navajo (Diné) people, it’s more than a celestial event—it’s about history, self-awareness, and honoring the sun and moon. The sky is the same for everyone, but when it comes to worldview, the eclipse means something completely different. According to the experts, it is important to understand that eclipses have always been part of our lives and when they happen, it helps us to better understand how the sun, the moon and the Earth are intertwined .

“It’s a very personal relationship that indigenous people have with the sky. It’s not aimed through a telescope, it’s not something you took from Greek astronomy, it’s a very personal thing and it creates a way of knowing and a way of life,” said Maryboy. “These stories that are told among indigenous peoples, they are not just fairy tales, they are not just something that you can smile at and go on with your life. They are real, and they are based on constellations and real stars. the sky.”

two people sit in chairs in the desert under a blue sky

two people sit in chairs in the desert under a blue sky

According to Navajo (Diné) belief, instead of waiting for the whole thing to happen and then laughing out loud and celebrating, the whole experience has a more serious tone and strong reverence. For the Navajo, an eclipse is deeply rooted in the appreciation of the cosmos, and serves as an event of renewal and reflection with guidance received from previous generations.

“Our ancestors tell us that the sun, the moon and the Earth go through constant renewal by aligning themselves,” explained Dr. David Begay, a Navacho astrologer, in the same release.

Celestron EclipSmart Eclipse Sunglasses

Celestron EclipSmart Eclipse Sunglasses on a white backgroundCelestron EclipSmart Eclipse Sunglasses on a white background

Celestron EclipSmart Eclipse Sunglasses on a white background

Available in a convenient four-pack to outfit the whole family, these Celestron EclipSmart Eclipse Sunglasses will keep you well protected while viewing the eclipse. And don’t miss our complete guide to the best eclipse sunglasses and solar viewing kits to get the most out of your experience.

“It is one of the natural laws that have been observed over the years and the sun rebalances itself with the alignment. Over the years, people must have experienced that it is possible to look directly at the sun during an eclipse. It hurts your eye, damage to your eye, so it is. When there’s an eclipse, they tell people, ‘Go inside.’ Respect the cycle and let time pass.”

But the decision to view and experience an eclipse is up to the individual, and for those who decide to venture outside, there is an option for a more modern approach. While many adhere to the original rituals and traditions, the development of safety viewing glasses for those on the path of totality in recent years has allowed families to have another option while participating in the tradition.

“It’s about being respectful of what’s going on, being very quiet. Traditionally people would stay inside and not drink or eat anything,” said Maryboy.

“But they would do that during totality or for the entire eclipse and it all depends on your own family, on your community with what you’re going to follow. Today, people go out and look at the eclipse in many cases, but we now have glasses that protect your eyes, which we didn’t have back hundreds of years ago when these protocols were laid down.”


– Total solar eclipse 2024: How and where to watch online for free

— What if it’s cloudy for the solar eclipse on April 8?

— 6 reasons why the 2024 total solar eclipse could be the best in centuries

No matter what everyone decides, at the end of the day, the people within the Navajo (Diné) community hope that other cultures can have a better understanding of their faith and how special the upcoming solar eclipse and more to come. these cycles are.

“We think of it as something that fits into the Navajo story and provides rules for living. Living in harmony with that cosmic order, living your life on Earth,” Maryboy said. “I want people to recognize how complex and beautiful Navajo astrology is and how people live with it. You don’t just go out and jump up and down, get up and -you get so excited … it’s more like expressing that you’re all in. Because of him. You’re seeing a one-time event and you want to give it the honor and respect it deserves.”

To learn more about Navajo astronomy and their knowledge of the cosmos, watch these informative videos from the Exploratorium.

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