Meteorites were regarded as messages from God in historic times and were considered good or bad omens depending on the culture and social environment.
1.In Switzerland, meteorites were believed to be blessed with the power of God.
2. In Chile, when one sees a meteor, he must pick up a stone.
3. A shooting star was believed by the Swabians as good luck.
4. Modern Hawaiian Japanese must open the collars of their kimono if a meteor is coming in their direction to welcome the good luck.
5. In the Philippines, a knot must be tied in a handkerchief before the light is extinguished.
6. People who believed that meteors signal ill-omen, they should say words like, “amen,” or “go away” to avert bad luck.
7. It is still considered as bad luck by some Americans when talking or pointing to a meteor.
8. One of the most notable omens was the Ensisheim stony meteorite in Alsace in 1492 and was determined as a good omen in the Holy Roman Emperor Maximillian’s war with France and the Turks.
Egyptian tombs contain meteorites, and its hieroglyphic symbol were translated as “iron from heaven.” Para’oh Tutankhamun’s burial chamber also found a dagger of meteoritic. According to Titus Livius, in 2000 B.C., when a meteorite fell near Phrygia, it was venerated by many people for years and worshiped as a divine object for 500 years in Rome.
Throughout history, meteorites have been treated by different cultures in unique ways. They been collected, divinely worshiped or fashioned into tools.
1.Romans and Greek temples enshrined rocks that had reportedly fallen from heaven.
2. In ancient Greece, meteorites were held as objects of veneration in one of the most important sites at Apollo’s temple at Delphi.
3. In the U. S., meteorites have been found at Indian graves where they were worshiped in Hopewell Mounds.
4. The shrine of Islam at Mecca holds a black stone measuring 16 by 20 cm at the wall of the Ka’ba believed to be a stone of meteoric origin.
5. Numerous other instances of meteorite worship were seen from Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas.
In North America, little was recognized about their synergy with the sky and since there were no written documents left, archaeologist can only theorize their meteorites use from the information they recovered. However, there is budding evidence that because of the North American Indians extensive knowledge of the celestial events, they could develop timekeeping systems. The Inca, Maya, Aztecs, and American Indians realized that they could predict seasonal changes based on the movements of the stars, sun, and moon allowing them to lay out religious ceremonies as well as planting, and harvesting.
Some archaeological sites in Mississippi River Valley were built to signal summer and winter solstice by the setting and rising of the sun. The Toltec Mounds near Little Rock, Arkansas contained adjustments for the equinox as well as the setting and rising of star Vega.
Since the 19th century, the appearance of meteorites on North American archaeological sites has already been known. Though treated by different cultures in unique ways, our modern world still venerate these objects. Whether messages from God or a signal for good or bad omen, scientists have created scientific fields devoted to the study of the science of meteoritics.
Written by: Janet Grace Ortigas