A discussion forum for history enthusiasts everywhere
 
HomeHome  Recent ActivityRecent Activity  FAQFAQ  RegisterRegister  Log inLog in  

Share | 
 

 Phenomena - Northern Lights, Deluges and such stuff

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
AuthorMessage
Priscilla
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1884
Join date : 2012-01-16

PostSubject: Phenomena - Northern Lights, Deluges and such stuff   Mon 13 Jan 2014, 09:46

These having been witnessed in UK this winter, have the Northern Lights ever become part of folklore, tales or song here - or indeed anywhere else.... (Even of 'Hark the Herald angels,' sort.) And what of weeks of rain and floods? Hereabouts, occasional flooding is reflected in place names - this, of course, being ignored when planning permission allows building.
Back to top Go down
ferval
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2545
Join date : 2011-12-27

PostSubject: Re: Phenomena - Northern Lights, Deluges and such stuff   Mon 13 Jan 2014, 10:11



I'm sorry.
Back to top Go down
Priscilla
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1884
Join date : 2012-01-16

PostSubject: Re: Phenomena - Northern Lights, Deluges and such stuff   Mon 13 Jan 2014, 10:43

As, indeed you should be.
Back to top Go down
nordmann
Nobiles Barbariæ
avatar

Posts : 5637
Join date : 2011-12-25

PostSubject: Re: Phenomena - Northern Lights, Deluges and such stuff   Mon 13 Jan 2014, 11:35

The Aurora Borealis figures in various folk cycles, the vast majority of these from amongst people who live far north enough to see it regularly. The Saami or Lapp people who live in Northern Scandinavia believed the lights to be the souls of the dead and culturally awarded them great respect. It was considered unlucky and even socially contemptible to behave frivolously or disrespectfully in their presence. Likewise the Algonquin tribes in North America associated them with a fire lit by a creator to reassure them that they were loved and looked after. Further south on both continents the folklore becomes less reverential and more fairy-taleish. In Finland children were told that they were caused by a "fire-fox" whose tail as it brushed through the snow made these magical sparks. In Norway it was said that they were old women dancing (magic women, not earthly ones with very high heels) and this concept is paralleled in Northern Scotland where they are also sometimes called "merry dancers" (making ferval's contribution a little relevant actually).

The most poignant folklore variation comes from Eastern Greenland where Eskimos attributed them to the souls of infants who died at birth, dancing in their spiritual freedom and innocent ecstacy. Other Eskimo peoples however more conventionally assigned them to animal spirits or dead relatives of any age. All associated them though with the activity of dancing.

Pliny the Elder reported that it was believed they were fallen warriors battling in the heavens, though it is unsure whether he was indirectly citing Germanic traditions as reported at the time or was harking back to Greek references which also associate them with heavenly warfare (probably also having received reports from Northern Europe). In North America the Wisconsin-based Meskwaki tribes took this one stage further and reckoned they were enemy slain coming to wreak revenge on them, which probably explains more about Meskwaki guilty consciences due to past misdemeanours than it does about their religious beliefs.

I have never found them to be regarded as a portent or precursor to something bad that later happened (even the Meskwaki never got stuffed in the end by their slain enemies - it was the French what done for them in the end).
Back to top Go down
https://reshistorica.historyboard.net
Priscilla
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1884
Join date : 2012-01-16

PostSubject: Re: Phenomena - Northern Lights, Deluges and such stuff   Mon 13 Jan 2014, 12:11

Interesting, thank you. How far south have been or could the Northern lights be witnessed? My google search was unhelpful.
(and my verb use/word order needs sorting too)
Back to top Go down
nordmann
Nobiles Barbariæ
avatar

Posts : 5637
Join date : 2011-12-25

PostSubject: Re: Phenomena - Northern Lights, Deluges and such stuff   Mon 13 Jan 2014, 12:31

What's interesting is how the nature of their ascribed character changes the further south one travels, or at least the way in which they are regarded. Where they are a very frequent phenomenon the regard is reverential in tone. The more incidental they become the more frivolous the regard. Then, when they are so infrequent as to be known mainly through repute they acquire more sinister tones in their role in folklore. However along the way there seem to be sufficient deviations from this norm to make it not really a norm at all and I wouldn't want to be deducing much from it as a theory.


Last edited by nordmann on Mon 13 Jan 2014, 12:51; edited 1 time in total
Back to top Go down
https://reshistorica.historyboard.net
nordmann
Nobiles Barbariæ
avatar

Posts : 5637
Join date : 2011-12-25

PostSubject: Re: Phenomena - Northern Lights, Deluges and such stuff   Mon 13 Jan 2014, 12:49

The Boreali during "normal" magnetic activity can theoretically be observed as far south as North Africa (and as far north from the South Pole as South Africa) but in practical terms involving the naked eye and the most common atmospheric conditions for viewing them are rarely seen outside 30 degrees from either pole. Contrary to popular misunderstanding they are not really a polar phenomenon but one that manifests itself to the naked eye as overhead between 10 and 30 degrees from the poles (potentially worldwide during periods of magnetic storms) and are detectable on a 24 hour basis.
Back to top Go down
https://reshistorica.historyboard.net
 

Phenomena - Northern Lights, Deluges and such stuff

View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 1

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
Res Historica History Forum :: The history of ideas ... :: Religion and superstition-