Homeworks academic service


An examination of aurora lights and the ancient beliefs

  • The men who have thought about and discussed these lights have guessed at three sources, one of which, it seems, ought to be the true one;
  • Elsewhere in the country they were believed to be the light reflection from large shoals of herring and bode well for the local fishermen and the Swedish farming community saw the lights as heralding a good harvest in the coming year.

View Holidays Imagine standing on a frozen lake just north of the Arctic Circle. The only noise comes from a gentle wind playing with the pine trees in the forest behind you.

  1. Here are five ancient beliefs you should take into account... It has three colors and is very strong, and made with more skill and cunning than other structures.
  2. Few, if any, had ever seen this phenomenon, as it had been absent from the skies for over 70 years, since 1645 AD.
  3. Frank and John B. The Cree believed that the lights were spirits of these departed friends and relatives trying to communicate with those they had left behind on earth.
  4. The Lapps, or the Saami, a people who are a close relative 'race' of the Finns, who live in Lapland — that is, north of the Arctic Circle, in what officially are Northern Finland, Sweden, and Norway — traditionally believed that the lights were the energies of the souls of the departed. This very rare and terrifying sight made people see it as an omen of war and bloodshed to come.

In front lies a vast and flat expanse of snow-covered ice stretching away into the distance until it encounters the dark, haphazard barrier that is more forest on the opposite shoreline. Above that forest is darkness, an ink black sky, dotted with more stars than you had ever believed possible. Suddenly, somewhere in the northern sky, a green smudge of light begins to materialise and slowly manifests itself into dancing stair rods of shimmering green light which skip across the darkness of space.

Of course, you know that you are watching the Northern Lights, a spectacular light show created by the interaction of electronically charged particles in our atmosphere but what must our ancient ancestors have thought as they stood and beheld the skies ablaze with light?

Dear Viking Answer Lady:

Not surprisingly, the Aurora Borealis figures prominently in the mythology and legends of most indigenous people living in countries situated within the Auroral Oval and often further afield. Gods, spirits or celestial warriors? For the ancient Greeks to have seen the lights there must have been some incredibly strong solar activity because sightings so far south are almost unheard of. The Greeks held that Aurora was the sister of Helios and Seline, the sun and moon respectively, and that she raced across the early morning sky in her multi-coloured chariot to alert her siblings to the dawning of a new day.

The Romans also associated the Northern Lights with a new day believing them to be Aurora, the goddess of dawn. Guercino - The Yorck Project: The poor residents of France and Italy for example believed the lights to be a bad omen heralding the outbreak of anything from war to plague and death.

Gentle Reader:

In Scotland and England, the skies are said to have blazed red just a few weeks prior to the French Revolution and were later considered to have been a sign of the coming strife in their Gallic neighbour state.

Markku Inkila Red sky at night — a portent of doom A celestial dragon? It is said that many of the early Chinese legends associated with dragons were a result of the Northern Lights. The belief is that the lights were viewed as a celestial battle between good and evil dragons who breathed fire across the firmament.

In Japanese culture, the belief is that a child conceived underneath the Northern Lights will be blessed with good looks, intellect and good fortune.

Indeed, there is a fascination with the Aurora in South East Asia and it is no coincidence that visitor numbers from the an examination of aurora lights and the ancient beliefs of Japan, Singapore and Malaysia have increased significantly in recent times. Aboriginal Australians were more used to seeing the Aurora Australis The Southern Lights and watched in awe as their gods danced overhead. North America Centuries ago, human settlements were far less concentrated and we lived in far smaller and remoter communities with barely any communication with other tribes.

As a result, many, many North American tribes or people evolved their own myths surrounding the Aurora Borealis. Here are just a few of the many and varied beliefs held by our ancestors in North America. The Cree believed that the lights were spirits of these departed friends and relatives trying to communicate with those they had left behind on earth.

Further north, many Inuit tribes considered the Aurora to be the spirits of dead humans playing a ball game using a walrus skull as the ball. For reasons we will doubtless never fathom, the good people of remote Nunavik Island told the same story but the other way round so for them, the Northern Lights were walrus spirits playing ball with the skull of some unfortunate human. In Washington State, the particularly imaginative Makah Indians thought the lights were fires in the north created by a tribe of dwarves who used it to boil whale blubber.

  1. From about the year 850 to 1000 the Chinese scholars noted relatively few sun spots, but their counts began to increase after 1000 and reached a high point shortly before 1130.
  2. Having said that, North American Indians often whistled at the Northern Lights to encourage them to come closer so they could whisper messages that would then be taken to the dead. The Lapps, or the Saami, a people who are a close relative 'race' of the Finns, who live in Lapland — that is, north of the Arctic Circle, in what officially are Northern Finland, Sweden, and Norway — traditionally believed that the lights were the energies of the souls of the departed.
  3. It was discovered that clay, when heated to a high temperature, acquires magnetism that parallels the magnetic field of the Earth.
  4. Here are just a few of the many and varied beliefs held by our ancestors in North America.

Their explanation was that the lights were again fires over which great warriors boiled their enemies in huge cooking pots. Just to illustrate how different the legends and myths became, disparate North Americans accepted the lights as anything from ravens to spirit guides holding torches aloft to direct the departed to the next world. The lights were deemed to be the spirits of those who had died violently, spirits rejoicing because the sun was absent, spirits of dead animals such as deer and salmon and spirits of revenging enemies killed in combat.

Antti Pietikainen Saluting departed friends and relatives Water ejected by a whale? In Greenland the lights were also linked to giving birth but rather sadly they were judged to be the souls of still born babies or even babies killed at birth.

5 strange Northern Lights myths

One of our absolute favourite myths comes from Finland where it was held that the lights were caused by the firefox who ran so quickly across the snow that his tail caused sparks to fly into the night sky creating the Aurora. In Sweden, the Aurora was often seen as a portent of good news. Many of our Swedish forefathers believed the lights to be a gift from benevolent gods providing warmth and light in the form of a volcano in the north.

Elsewhere in the country they were believed to be the light reflection from large shoals of herring and bode well for the local fishermen and the Swedish farming community saw the lights as heralding a good harvest in the coming year. The Northern Lights feature prominently in Norse mythology.

One legend suggests that the lights were reflections or glow from the shields and armour of the Valkyrie, female warriors who would choose who may die in battle and who may live to fight another day. The Estonians believed the lights to be magnificent horse drawn carriages carrying heavenly guests to a spectacular celestial wedding.