The sky has been an important indicator of what is happening and what will happen on earth for ancient peoples all over the world for as long as man has possessed the curiosity to look up. The movement of the sun across the horizon and back throughout the year, has been especially important as an indicator and predictor of the seasons. On December 21st, 2014 the sun travelled as far south as it would go, rose for three days in the same place and then started its journey north again. That day marked the “Winter Solstice” (“Solstice” means “sun standstill”), the day with the longest night and shortest day of the year. The cultures of the Americas observed this very special day in many different ways, but for all, it was time of great portents. For what if the sun decided to continue its journey south?
|Hutash — Chumash sunstick
Part 2: The Alchuklash
The ancient Chumash Indians of Southern California (see Part 1), relied on their astronomer/priests to guide them in their daily lives and to protect the harmony of their world. Each village had an astronomer/priest called the “Alchuklash” who possessed the ability to read the sky and make predictions; exert influence over the forces of nature through their connections with the heavens; resolve or preserve the peace among the villages; heal the sick; control the weather; and on and on. For instance, at birth the Alchuklash would be on hand to name the child based upon the stars. He had the power to bring rain or turn away storms. The Alchuklash did this through his knowledge of the stars, sun, and moon similar to the way astrology is used to tell our fortune today. Their ability and responsibilities gave them great power in their communities.
“… Sun was a powerful being who brought life in the form of heat and light but could also bring death – presumably to those who deserved it, for he served as a moral symbol as well. ‘Never do anything that is prejudicial or unlawful and think that no one will see you,’ said the Chumash, ‘For while the sun is shining, an eye is here … .’”