On August 11, the Sky Will Darken and the Air Chill as We Experience the First Total Eclipse for 72 Years. It Will Last a Mere Two Minutes but, According to an Extraordinary New Book, Its Effect Will Dominate Our Lives and Influence Events for Decades
Byline: DAVID OVASON
THE countdown is well under way to this summer's total solar eclipse.
At 11.11am on August 11 parts of Cornwall and South Devon will be plunged into darkness for up to two minutes- the first total eclipse in Britain since 1927. Millions will watch the event, not only here but in central Europe, the Middle East and India.
But could it have a deeper significance than just a spectacular celestial show? David Ovason, bestselling author of The Nostradamus Code, in a new book, argues that, from the foundation of Rome to the death of Princess Diana, eclipses have marked turning points in history. In the first part of our fascinating series, which continues on Monday, we present his thought-provoking theory. . .
AT THE height of summer, the sky will go black, a deathly silence will hang in the air, and the stars will be visible in the middle of the day.
August's total solar eclipse - when the moon's orbit puts it exactly between the Earth and the sun, casting a dark shadow across the face of our planet - will pass rapidly . . .
but for many of us the effects will last a lifetime.
Although man has landed on the moon, and satellites continually circumnavigate the globe, we still know remarkably little about the great forces of nature that exert enough energy on our small planet to cause the movement of the tides and changing of the seasons.
The secrets held by outer space have fascinated man since time immemorial.
For a fisherman lost at sea, the patterns of
the stars and the position of the moon in the dark heavens above, are often the only way of finding his way back home.
But this map, this other world, is also capable of exerting real power on those it looks down on. . .
Since the dawn of history, astrologers have documented the influence that eclipses exercise over human lives.
Take the founding of Rome by Romulus. According to the Roman astrologer Tarutius, Romulus was conceived when the sun was in total eclipse, while Plutarch recorded that he was supposed to have founded the city when the sun was eclipsed by the moon.
The immediate experience of an eclipse can be very disturbing: the sudden darkness and cold are quite palpable, and one has the distinct feeling of loss. One also has the sensation that it would not be possible to live under these conditions for very long.
In 1239 there was a total eclipse of the sun - visible across Europe. It was witnessed by the astrologer Peter of Abano who recorded that it was followed by a 'weakening of human nature, an increase of avarice and cupidity, and a proliferation of both good and bad demons over the face of the earth'.
The one thing all astrologers seem to agree on is that the effects of an eclipse are often awesome. At one time, it was widely believed that eclipses caused most of the ills of mankind.
MANY European astrologers traced the beginnings and duration of the terrible plague of the 14th century - the Black Death - to the lunar eclipse on the evening of March 18, 1345.
Spreading along the trade routes from China, the plague reached Egypt by 1348 and quickly spread to Europe. By the following year it had killed off a third - possibly more than half - of the population of England.
The plague lasted in Europe for four years and left more casualties than were seen in the two World Wars. Between 1347 and 1351 an estimated 75million people died.
Of course, the Black Death did not reach Europe until three years after the eclipse, but this discrepancy is in accord with eclipse prediction.
According to the French astrologer Geoffrey of Meaux, the 1345 eclipse lasted for three hours, 29 minutes and 54 seconds.
This precision of timing, in an age when the mechanical clock was in its infancy, should encourage us to ask why the astrologer was so keen to determine the duration of the eclipse. …