The Aurora Borealis is one of the most beautiful natural phenomenons in our world, and seeing it definitely ranks high on my bucket list. Although I haven’t been able to cross the sight off my list yet, I’ve found a way to keep a piece of the Aurora with me in the form of my favorite gemstone: Labradorite.
Imagine you are adventuring out in the snow, trekking across a frozen lake under the cold, dark night sky. All of a sudden there is a change in the frigid quiet night, and the sky becomes filled with purple, green, gold, and blue fire. Dazzling neon lights travel just beneath the stars, moving and dancing above your head. Of course, this must be the Northern Lights! I’m so lucky to see them! You think to yourself or exclaim out loud, completely awestruck.
In our modern world, its so easy for us to be able to understand such mysterious and magical things as the Northern Lights. Even though they can only be witnessed from certain Northern parts of the planet, people even far south know that what they would be seeing is the product of electrically charged particles in the atmosphere moving about with each other. But, what about in ancient times? Before we had this sort of scientific understanding, what did our ancient ancestors think about the Aurora? Many ancient peoples saw the lights as being good luck, a bad omen, something to fear, and something lucky, but there were several more mystical explanations. Here are a few of my favorites:
1. In Norse mythology, the lights were thought to come from the Valkyries, who were fierce female warriors. The aurora was a result of light reflecting off their shields, armors, and weapons.
2. In Finland, the people there believed that a Fire Fox ran so fast across the heaves that its tail created the sparks of the Aurora.
3. In North America, many Native American tribes had different beliefs. The Cree saw the lights as being mystically entwined with the circle of life, and believed that they may represent the spirits of passed loved ones who were trying to communicate with the living.
4. The Inuit saw the aurora as being a sporting event for spirits - that the spirits were playing a ballgame but were using the skull of a walrus as the ball. What is even stranger, is that the Inuit of Nunivak (far away) thought it was walrus spirits playing a ballgame with a human skull as the ball.
5. It is more of a rare sighting in China, however the lights do sometimes dance there. Ancient Chinese believed the lights were a battle between good and evil dragons.
It’s pretty easy to see how the magnificent thrall of the Northern Lights would cause such emotional response that demanded explanation. The Aurora is such an incredible phenomenon and its legends and mystery also correspond to my favorite gemstone - Labradorite. Labradorite has all the colors of the aurora, and each piece shows a different view of those fiery lights. There is an ancient legend that says a piece of the Aurora has been captured inside the Labradorite rock, and that is why it flashes so many colors.
No matter whether those vibrant colors dance across the sky or across my favorite gemstone, I still like to believe that there is a bit of magic within them both.