Total Eclipse

1 04 2006

Last Wednesday (Mar. 29th), our little corner of the world was treated to a rare sight – a total solar eclipse.

I took this picture while I was in Tabligbo (southern Togo) after having picked up our good friend and mentor, Mark Berryman who had come for a visit. Up in Kara, the eclipse wasn’t quite a total one, but Tracey and the boys still enjoyed what they saw (through special UV blocking glasses of course!)

Unfortunately, the vast majority of the Togolese people didn’t see any of it. Just about everyone was shut in their houses for fear that they would go blind if they went out during the eclipse. When we went out at 8am, the streets which are normally teeming with activity at that time, were completely deserted. Apparently, the government went a bit overboard in warning people not to stare at the eclipse.

Later in the week, I learned that the Kabiye word for an eclipse (solar or lunar) is alikiesso, which has the transliterated meaning – “Who is swallowing God?”

Now the Kabiye don’t believe that the sun is God, but they do recognize that God is the one who oversees the heavens. So, the word reflects a belief that something must not be right with God if the sun (or moon) is being covered up.

Mark pointed out that this idea may help to bring deeper meaning to the Kabiye understanding of the crucifixion and the darkness which covered the earth at our Lord’s death. Sounds like it will preach to me!

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3 responses

2 04 2006
The Emersons

I’m disappointed that I missed the eclipse by just 2 days. The streets of Kara deserted at 8am? That I gotta see!

5 04 2006
Andy

nice pic! I wish I could have seen it! I love hearing the traditional explanation of what people think it means. The western world moves to fast and doesn’t even bother stopping to ponder the majesty of it all!

6 04 2006
Anonymous

“I once took a pair of binoculars and stared at the sun for over an hour”

-Harry Caray

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