Five ancient to practical reasons you should avoid the eclipse

The eclipse watchers street shadow
The eclipse as shot boy Owen Fuller

Eclipse shot by Owen Fuller:

They call it the King Killer, the death of the sun. The total eclipse of the sun on August 21 is a big deal. The US is in a frenzy of planning and traveling to stand in the great shadow’s path, but ancient societies warn against watching.

They advise against travel or “engaging in risky activities” during a solar eclipse. As the moon blocks the sun, Navajo elders voice caution and Jyotish Astrologer, Blaine Watson, strongly suggests against having anything to do with the eclipse, or with any eclipse partial or full.
1. Vedic Jyotish Experts warn about watching the full solar eclipse:

“This solar eclipse, occurring in the sign of Leo (in Vedic Astrology,) the sign of the king of the jungle, Leo means lion, is deemed a king killer. National leaders are considered at risk as a result.”

Traditionally, in Jyotish we don’t want to expose ourselves to eclipses. They are shadows and considered delicate transition periods, like a change of state from liquid to gas for example where the liquid has to boil in order to create gas. This ‘boiling’ is considered unstable and unpredictable and it is best not to be exposed to it. So, we stay inside. Especially during the total solar eclipse, it is best to stay inside. We also don’t want to have food in our stomachs while eclipses are going on. It is traditional to fast on eclipse days and not to eat until the eclipse is over. This is true for both lunar and solar eclipses.
This total solar eclipse occurs in the sign of Leo with Mercury, the moon, the sun and rahu all placed there at the time of the eclipse. For those of us who have leo moon signs or leo rising signs, this eclipse will have a particularly strong impact and it will be important to take all precautions to avoid risky activities such as long distance travel or crossing streets or brushing teeth. This solar eclipse, occurring in the sign of Leo, the sign of the king of the jungle, Leo means lion, is deemed a king killer. National leaders are considered at risk as a result. ~ Blaine Watson
The solar eclipse path - Annular composition

Annular eclipse image from 2010. Photo credit:

2. The Navajo Nation has similar concerns about watching the eclipse:
Traditional Navajo tribal members won’t look up while the eclipse is happening. Their word for the event is: Jóhonaa’éí daaztsą́  (Listen to how it’s pronounced below.)  The phrase is two words. First is sun followed by a stem that refers to falling but, in this form, translates as death.
Traditionalists believe that watching the eclipse could lead to health problems and misfortune to the family.
According to the Navajos, during an eclipse, the sun dies and is reborn as it passes out of the shadow of the moon. Many Navajo observe the eclipse by fasting the night or day of the event and by staying indoors. According to their tradition, the eclipse is an intimate event between the Earth, Sun, and the Moon. Traditionalists believe that watching the eclipse could lead to health problems and misfortune to the family.
3. Many of the eclipse viewing sites will be impacted, crowd scenes
Across the nation, people are on the move to witness as much of the eclipse as they can. In Oregon where the eclipse hits the continent first, NASA has forecast that Madras, a sleepy city east of Salem, is about to be inundated with hundreds of thousands of visitors. Look up any town in the path of totality and you’ll see what is expected and planned. Roads are bound to be crowded and it’s going to be hot. Here are some tips from an early blog post for taking care of yourself on the road. 
Eclipse Planet - taken in 2015 by György Soponyai

Eclipse Planet – taken in 2015 by György Soponyai Link:

4. Watching the eclipse near major population areas will be expensive

Hotels have been booked and if you find a room, prices are through the roof. We found an Airbnb space months ago but will have to drive over 100 miles to view the totality. Campsites and eclipse-festivals are packed. Food and services will be priced for scarcity = more expensive than usual. Gasoline prices will skyrocket and, I hope, nothing worse.

5. There will be lines: Bathrooms, food, and services will be difficult to find or access

The grand solar eclipse of 2017 traverses thirteen states and most of the seventy-mile wide path avoids main population hubs. Those small towns and municipalities, the state parks and camping facilities, in the path are bracing for crowds. Be prepared – bring water, snacks and toilet paper if you are driving the day of the eclipse.

Eclipse photographer with filter

Safe viewing  Photo:

Still, the lure of this lifetime celestial experience is strong.
I can’t fight it. My tribal instincts run toward the cluster *!@?!*? that witnessing the eclipse will be. Since I have meetings in the Pacific Northwest already, I’m going to witness the totality. The sun, moon and the earth will line-up in one of the most celestial phenomenon’s you can see with your eyes. Well not with naked eyes. That’s definitely not recommended. We have found eclipse glasses but many don’t have them. Watching the sun anytime can lead to blindness. The only time you can look up during the eclipse is during the totality, the few minutes that the moon’s shadow fully covers the sun.
Don’t have protective glasses? Make a Pinhole camera for watching the eclipse.

Full disclosure (and because I’m one proud Momma,) my son, Joshua created this animation (but not the captions) as his first project during his fellowship with NASA. 
If you plan on taking the advice of the ancients and stay home during the eclipse, you can still watch it. Visit is external), where you will be directed by default to the NASA TV broadcast.
Here’s a short video about what we experienced where you can actually see the eclipse totality go from night and back to day.


Stay safe and leave a comment. Let me know about your experiences of the eclipse.

the eclipse and five, ancient to practical, reasons to avoid watching

Travel Notes & Beyond


  • Regardless of the wisdom – or lack thereof – it’s great to see so many people get excited about a natural phenomenon. Hopefully, it will encourage some curiosity and exploration. Who knows? Maybe some young one watching will be inspired and go on to take us back to the moon! Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard and #WeekendWanderlust!

  • This is the first time that I’ve heard of it! Sometimes it’s interesting to hear beliefs for a certain event which most people don’t know about. It can give us warning or insights that are up to us to believe!

  • Hi Elaine! As the eclipse is now over, I’ll be looking forward to reading your post on how the experience was for you. I watched the coverage on TV and it was quite fascinating.

  • I’m reading this a day late, but it seems to me those ancients knew their stuff. Their rules probably saved a lot of eyeballs. Since I live in the San Francisco area, it was foggy and I just stayed inside, like the ancients advised, and watched it on my modern TV.

  • Oh, I love this article. I wish I’d read it before I saw the eclipse as it would have made it a richer experience. Fascinating to think that ancient cultures saw the same thing and created theories around it. I love the idea that it’s a delicate transition period – it makes perfect lunar sense. I think.

  • I’m glad I waited until today to read this post, since I traveled to go see the eclipse last night! Our experience could not have gone better! We went to Fulton, Missouri. It’s a small town (with a lot of history) and it was the perfect destination. We saw it with no crowds and the worst thing that happened to us was the unreal traffic on the way home, but I would still consider it worth it! I already can’t wait to chase the next one!

  • It’s interesting to read how older civilizations viewed the eclipse. I hope you enjoyed your views of the eclipse. Here in Manitoba, the eclipse was was not total, only 70 to 75%. But it was a cloudy, rainy day so eclipse viewers didn’t get to see much.

  • Since I almost died during the shadow of the Feb 26th eclipse in Chile, I didn’t want anything to do with this one.
    I was bathing while dying my hair, relaxing alone at home. Suddenly, I choked. I could not breath. I jumped up and opened the window. I opened the door. I ran around a little in a panic. I was thinking about how I had to clear my breathing tube soon or I might die. I decided to try to spit into the sink. I did so until I vomited, and afterwards I got a little air in. It was a close call.
    I determined it was a premonition of what a youngster close to us had decided to do a month later when he hung hinself after a bad breakup. I tend to get sympathy symptoms of strokes, heart attacks, death throes, etc, but this was the first one not felt in real time for me.

  • We watched the Eclipse on tv earlier today and I thought it was pretty cool. Won’t personally go to all that trouble though. Great information!

  • We are devotees of Lord Krsna and hold the Vedic view. An eclipse is inauspicious. We will stay inside our temple for the 3 hours it occurs here, chanting and reading from scripture.

    It’s unfortunate it has become such a hype. It reminds me of Y2K fiasco. Hare Krsna!

    • I so appreciate your comment and how wonderful to have a supportive community to share this time with. I met an extended Indian family at the eclipse site and asked about the Jyotish warnings. He said that if he were in India they would not have attended but in the US it was a scientific phenomenon. There are so many different perspectives. For me it was a very stirring and wonderful time.

  • Elaine – What a timely article about this upcoming eclipse. We made the cereal box viewer and hope to catch the partial eclipse from our backyard.

  • Thanks for this article, Elaine! Fun to read. I’ll be at home during the eclipse (unless the vet finds time to see my cat tomorrow), and plan to be in the pool for part of the time. Enjoy Oregon!

  • Eclipses are definitely freaky! It seems very unnatural so I’m not surprised so many people have superstitions and beliefs about it. I’m in Central America at the moment so I think we’ll just get a partial one, so no big deal here!

    • Thanks, Claire. Freaky is a good word for the experience we actually had as well. So glad I watched it though. Perhaps the one in 2024 will be close enough for you to witness in totality.

  • Fun post I love the various reasons to not view the eclipse! haha. Enjoy watching the totality I am sure it will be fun even for the madness of it!

  • What an interesting post. An eclipse must have been a really strange experience in days gone by. We don’t have one here in the UK – but the US seems to have got Eclipse Fever this time!

  • Interesting that several ancient cultures warn against watching the eclipse. The long lines, expensive places to stay, and crowds were deterrent enough — but I definitely don’t want those health problems or misfortune to my family!

  • Wow, it’s, in fact, an eclipse somewhere on earth every once in a while, I was tempted to see it when it was in Asia but couldn’t make it. Hopefully, I will be able to catch one in the future. Thanks for the tips! @ knycx.journeying

  • Excellent article about this upcoming eclipse, Elaine. You must have done quite an in-depth research about eclipses (lol!) As for not planning way ahead of time, tell me about it. My husband wanted to go up to Portland to watch it but he cooled off when he found out that Motel 6 charges $1,600/night for a room this weekend. #THeWeeklyPostcard

  • I am hoping to get some glasses so I can catch a glimpse of it. If not then I will watch it on TV. I don’t have time to be going blind.

  • I think in the rest of the world we only get a partial eclipse, so nobody here is losing their minds over it. A total eclipse is super rare – I’m not surprised it’s a big deal! Things can turn dangerous easily in big crowds. Hope everyone stays safe!

  • I think I will just stay home and watch the partial eclipse but I still need to figure out exactly how I will view it. I need to research more about it. #TheWeeklyPostcard.

  • I am sure you are going to have a great time watching the eclipse. Here in Los Angeles we are going to have 62% sun coverage. I think that still will be impressive. Let me see how I can escape work. #WeekendWanderlust

  • Quite a fascinating read! It’s really so interesting to hear on the TV how people are going crazy for this! Unfortunately, I don’t live in the States anymore, so will miss out on this! Thanks for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard!

  • Won’t work for me in Australia, guess we will see it on the news. Great history on the superstitions of the eclipse. I think it would be cool to see it happen.

  • What an interesting read. The Navajo legend about health problems is definitely correct, I can imagine they had eclipse glasses back in the day to protect their eyes. I live in Denver, and there is already tons of traffic heading north to Wyoming to view it.

  • Love this! I love watching all of the madness and excitement of the eclipse from afar as I’m in Costa Rica so couldn’t watch even if I wanted to. All of the superstition and beliefs surrounding these things always fascinates me – I had no idea about the native beliefs that it’s actually bad luck to watch an eclipse!

  • We are on the other side of the world, so will miss it, but can’t wait to see the photos

  • I didn’t even know there was going to be an eclipse. Maybe it will happen in the middle of the night in Australia so there isn’t any excitement – or maybe I’m just out of touch. The celestial phenomenen which got Australia excited were the super moons we had a few months ago. Just about the whole country was watching them – and they were stunning.

  • Great info on eclipse beliefs. I wouldn’t go to the totality area unless I had a house to hole up in where I could get the view. It’s going to be crazy. Hope it’s fab and worth the discomforts. We’ll be in Colorado and get to see it at 80% which works for me.

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