He Believed An Eclipse Was A Divine Signal To Enact God’s WIll

solar eclipse
Alyssa Guzik
April 25, 2024

In the darkest days of slavery, Black people turned their eyes to the heavens for hope. They sought guidance from the celestial bodies, believing freedom was written in the stars. And so it was that Nat Turner, a man believed to be a prophet, and bound by the chains of oppression, found his liberation in an eclipse.

Fueled by a deep conviction in visions from the spirit, Turner sought clarity, strength, and liberation for himself and other enslaved people. He prayed fervently for direction, looking to the heavens for messages confirming his path.

When an eclipse brought darkness in February 1831, Turner believed God had sent him a sign to destroy his enemies. In that moment, he understood with unwavering clarity that his destiny was not to serve others' cruelty. The eclipse became a symbol of his determination to break free from bondage.

In the end, Turner rallied those he trusted most to wage the largest slave rebellion in the South, claiming the lives of 55 enslavers in Virginia. His rebellion struck fear into the hearts of white people and started a blaze in the souls of enslaved Black folks for miles around.

Nat Turner believed wholeheartedly in the power of celestial signs, trusting them to lead him and his followers to victory. What liberated futures can we imagine when we turn our eyes to the sky? Our options are endless.

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