Navajo Nation will honor solar eclipse with tradition, reverence

Oct 13, 2023, 10:18 PM

WINDOW ROCK, Arizona — Saturday’s annular solar eclipse has important cultural significance for the Navajo Nation, and the Diné people will not be watching the eclipse to honor a deep tradition.

Delores Noble, Education Program Manager for the Office of Standards Curriculum and Assessment Development with the Navajo Nation Department of Diné Education, explained Friday that they see the solar eclipse as a time to respect the cosmic forces, by looking away from it.
“We call the sun ‘Father,’ and we call the Earth ‘Mother.’ And so, they are part of who we are,” Noble explained. “We look to the weather, we look to the forces, when is a good time to have family? When is a good time when you’re planting? You know, different things. Everything evolves around the changes the stars, the phases of the moon.”
She said they are encouraged to show respect for the sun and moon, as they renew during the eclipse. They hold this event as sacred.
“We are reverent, we are just at peace,” she said. “This is a time for self-reflection and interrupted tranquility.”

Even if they aren’t outdoors and with areas like Monument Valley closed to respect that tradition, Noble explained how this is still a very positive event for the Diné people.

“We continue to have the balance that we need to have for mental, physical, spiritual, social well-being. And so that’s important,” she said.

The traditions they follow in the four hours around the eclipse event include fasting with no food or water, Noble said, as well as not sleeping but also not doing any activities, staying inside and closing the curtains, and getting into a solemn and calm state-of-mind.

“We are told by our practitioners and our healers, that if we do view, and if we do eat and drink water, and these things that we’re told not to do, it creates an emotional and mental and physical chemical imbalance,” she said.

Noble talked about the importance of people understanding their culture and passing down this custom to younger generations.

With all the unrest in the world right now, Noble said this is a time to stay home and reflect and think healing thoughts.

“Think about the things that you do have, and you’re thankful,” she said. “And so just for this brief moment, you’re going to take this time to do… self-reflection, a time of tranquility, a time of peace.”

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Navajo Nation will honor solar eclipse with tradition, reverence