There’s a story in the Bible about the Hebrew patriarch Joshua winning an important battle – because, as it says, God made the sun stand still for a whole 24-hour day. It’s known as Joshua’s Long Day. Catastrophe theorists – you know, those guys who’re always putting out You Tubes about this or that comet about to hit us, and it never does? – insist that Joshua’s Long Day was real and that it happened, literally, as described here in the Book of Joshua…. and that it could happen again.
12 Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon.
13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.
14 And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel.
So what is this verse really about? Did God really stop the the Sun from setting for one whole day?
“For the Lord fought for Israel” is our first clue that this story probably isn’t literally true. I don’t think the Supreme Intelligence aka God ( if there is such a single overarching entity), would slow down the Sun down just so that one group of people could win a war against another bunch of people because they are ‘special’ or ‘chosen’. That kind of thinking is bringing God down to our level, and in fact, lower than our level – because you or I would not slow the Sun down for such a petty reason either, would we?
The Old Testament is based upon a collection of ancient Sumerian and Canaanite myths, and there are many myths about the Sun as a Being, an Entity, having a mind of its own. But to me, and most mythologists, these are all metaphors for astronomical processes. For instance, the Egyptians in their mythology, going back thousands of years, have a story about the Eye of Hathor (an aspect of the Sun) coming down to earth and scorching it. This is one of their Deluge stories (Ra ends up flooding the earth with beer!) and so not meant to be taken literally for reasons I’ve explained in this thread: The Sun Boat – the real Noah’s Ark. (See also Flood Myths from Around the World).
In fact, “Sun worship” is the earliest form of religion worldwide, after shamanism, and possibly even alongside it, although I wouldn’t call it ‘worship’. As a shaman, myself, I have a very special relationship with the spirit of the Sun, and have done for a number of years. There’s a mantra that I use when I want to call on him, and he always responds.
Working with the spirit of Sun is no different to working with any other spirit or force of Nature, to the shaman, because these are the forces that came to be known as ‘the gods’. These entities perform the roles of Generation, Operation and Destruction – GOD, if you like. And by ‘destroy’, I mean destroy like well-meaning, volunteer street cleaners who go along clearing up all the debris after a wild night of carnival, and destroy it by putting it on the bonfire.
Scientists tend to mock this view of what they believe are entirely inanimate and purposeless processes that go along, according to them, like clockwork. But they have no proof that that is the case – it is an unprovable proposition, just as it’s unprovable that these processes are alive and benign. However, the shaman experiences practically that these processes are alive and benevolent, so he has experiential evidence, at least.That this evidence is ‘falsifiable’ (i.e. repeatable) is evident from turn of the 19th/20th century anthropologists’ accounts of shamans worldwide who all report the same experiences, even though they’d never met one another.
Anyway, to the shaman, the most important of these gods/entities is the Sun, partly because it is the most vital astronomical body to us here on earth. I think we’ve discussed this before, about the Sun shaping space? The sun’s pulsating gravitational waves are what cause the planets of our solar system to take the course that they do – they are taking the least line of resistance as they’re being pushed out by these waves. Therefore, the sun is the ultimate creator of the shape of the galaxy in which it sits, and it forms it according to its ‘will’. This sounds like the description of a creator god, which is why creator gods in mythological stories are also referred to as sun gods.
The guy above, sitting on the lotus, is Brahma, and according to the Vedas, he is the Generator aspect of God. The big blue god who is asleep is Vishnu, and he dreams us all up, for thousands of millions of years. And then when he wakes up, the Destroyer (Shiva) aspect takes over. This is known as a Day and Night of Vishnu and it lasts hundreds of thousands of millions of years.
So while Joshua apparently had a long day, in Hebrew mythology, there are other ancient myths that are about long nights, when the local equivalent of Vishnu is dreaming up the Creation. It is my view that whether the story is about a long day or a long night, though, it is still a story about the Sun – either the Sun was there for too long, or it wasn’t there soon enough – but they are all ultimately Sun stories.
Three peoples have a tale of a night which lasted several months: the Japanese, an ancient tribe in Lithuania, and the Cherokee Indians of North America. The Cherokee and Japanese tales are virtually identical and seem to stem from the same source. Both have the sun hiding in a cave for a long time and being tricked out of the cave.
The Japanese may well have acquired their tale of the long night from the Ainu, and the Ainu are one of the candidates for being the common ancestors of the Native Americans, or even the precursor First Peoples.
Equally, the same can be said of the eastern hemisphere Indo-European myths comprise the Vedic, the Middle Eastern, the Persian, the Celtic, the Norse and the Saxon and they all derive their mythological motifs from the same source. Again, as with the Native Americans, we don’t know what that source was the earliest attested is the Rig-veda. but in those texts there are references to a much earlier body of sacred work that now no longer exists (and was most likely never written down).
However, we do know that many of the rites and rituals of the Vedics and the Siberians were centred around the Sun. I’ve said this elsewhere, but the oldest word for sun is arka in Sanskrit and ark in Egyptian. The Ark of the Covenant, or promise of the ark (the sun) is that it will rise again, each day. This is why a promise in exacted from the gods at the end of so many Deluge stories, which, imo, are all the same metaphor for the precession of the equinoxes, i.o.w. one full cycle of the sun.
So as you can see, the act of the Sun rising or setting was not taken for granted, as it is today. Now, you could from that infer that maybe once it didn’t rise, or it did rise and stayed too long and that’s why they had all these rituals. But that’s not my belief because of my understanding of shamanism, and shamanism is originally where all these rites and rituals came from.
To the shaman, the Sun is not an inanimate ball of fire hanging in the sky. It is a loving being that smiles upon the earth and makes the grass grow and the birds sing and the flowers blossom and the crystals form and young people fall in love …and a trillion trillion and one other things besides. The shaman sees the Sun Father make love with the Earth Mother to create fertility, so that everything can grow. Everything that we can see revolves around the Sun, literally! So from this respect or love for such a benevolent creator god, much of mythology derives.