Most native tribal groups felt awe-inspired by eclipses - lunar and solar. The sudden celestial change in the known pattern of light and dark, night and day could only be the forecast of an event of divine proportions. Therefore, they sought to delineate and predict these events. To understand and possess the ability to know such divinely inspired omens provided these ancient wizards (whom we today call astronomers) with leadership status in any culture. Knowledge is power in any human society.
The understanding of these natural cycles, as well as others, have been possessed in Europe, Africa, Central America and, in fact, all over the world by the ancient intellectual elite, not unlike today.
These ancient scientists would have commanded religious awe, and would have easily enlisted the cooperation of our ancestors in the building of research and observation sites. Sites in the jungles of Central America, England, Romania, Egypt. Like CERN the supercollider, radio-telescope and VLA Observatory dish systems, and Cape Canaveral today.
These wonders of the modern world are based on the intellect of these ancient scientists' great work. Millennia of celestial observation, calculation and the construction of measurement tools, followed by more observation, have brought us to where we are today. We are not smarter or better than our ancestors. Rather we stand on the shoulders of ancient giants, as will our own children.
One of those is seen in Stonehenge. In its most ancient form it consists of 56 "holes" arranged in a circle called Aubrey Holes. As the layers of monumental structure grew, it almost obscured the point of all the augmentation of the celestial relationships demonstrated in the stone arrangement of the Aubrey Holes.
We now know that our sun and moon have cycles that coincide every 19 years. In any given year the solar calendar dates of Full Moon events will be duplicated every 19 years. This creates a clear cycle connection that was delineated by the mythic 19 Priestesses of Bridget. Each of these individual "Priestesses" represented the "character" and experience of each of the 19 components of the Great Lunar Year. This relationship creates an excellent basis for cyclic pattern divinations. A 19 year cycle upon which one can hang other, shorter cycling patterns for delineation and understanding.
In the days of our ancestors, Stonehenge was described by Hellenic culture historians as the place that every 19 years the Sun God Belenos came to dance with His people. This, of course, is just a metaphor for the Greater Lunar Year in the same way that the 19 Priestesses are. The Sun God comes to Earth as Tarvos / Myrddin / the Green Man to cavort with the Tuatha, or family of Earth. The Sun is removed from the sky, to momentarily appear on Earth.
This is different than an eclipse, however. For an eclipse cycle is not constant in this relationship. The Sun always returns to the Moon and Earth at the prescribed interval, but not precisely in the same way. The eclipse cycle falls one year short of 19, on the average of one in three cycles. In other words, it falls 19, 19, 18....19, 19, 18..... 56 days in all. In modern science this is called the Metonic cycle which is 18.63 years. The number of the Aubrey Holes of Stonehenge. So the 19 year cycle was the "general" cycle, punctuated periodically by a shortened cycle, wherein the last year, associated with Gabba was suspended, and the year of D'Anu is the culmination.
Just as in the normal course of events, Gabba is she who takes you back around. She is there to process the terrible putrefaction of the ego as one goes back around. It's stinky, smelly, bad. Repulsive to us in every way as living humans, but essential to continued life - just as are the twisting eternity of our own intestines. So we associate disaster with Gabba, and expect sorrow in her year. Because of this expectation, we are seldom surprised.
On that third cycle, though, if one is prepared to experience enlightenment, we have an opportunity for a different go-'round. In that rarified air we associate with wisdom, the culmination of the life cycle when we have learned all we are going to in this life, we can take that little extra step and attain true enlightenment. We can transcend the mundane to experience the sublime, the Divine. Thus, the gifts of the Old Ones bring us to the Divinity within.
By this coalescing of the Manifest with the Unmanifest we reach godhood. D'Anu, the Mother of Mothers, reveals herself as the Creator/Destroyer, and gives us this divine gift of a new perspective. D'Anu demonstrates that, like Gabba, she is also to be known as Dôn, the Carrion Sow, She who Devours to preserve. But her preservation is not of the gross matter or Ego, it is of the Self.
An understanding of this Gabba, Gabba, D'Anu ... 19, 19, 18 cycle is not limited to the Indo-European peoples. All ancient scientists perceived this, expressing their knowledge in a variety of ways.
One that the Celtic tribes shared with the African Yoruba is a connection between this cycle and cowrie shells used as a divinatory or sacred object. The Cowrie is also called "little piggies" and sacred to Dôn as well. This divination method is best known as practiced by the Orishas and involves specially prepared cowries, 19, 19 and 18 in number.
The shells are prepared in a similar way for both. They are a strongly priestess-oriented tool. The natural opening of the shell is the "mouth", while the rounded back is associated with virginity and prepubescence. This symbolic hymen is removed to expose the vulva-like internal shell workings, making a flat shell on both sides. Just as the wise blood begins to flow when a girl is "opened" to womanhood, so the wisdom of the Divine begins to flow when these shells are opened.
Just as in its Celtic version, the Yoruba say each voice of the cowries has a different deity name attached to it. A different god "speaks" to the petitioner depending on the number of "open mouths" upright when the shells are cast. Where the Celtic and Welsh differ, is in gender. The Yoruba have both male and female "speakers", whereas the Celts use female only.
The precise listing of goddess voices is not known, but they are roughly equivalent to the same goddess descriptions we use to describe the 19 Priestesses of the Greater Lunar Year. Certainly the divinatory meanings are the same (and remarkably also like the Yoruba, despite the gender differences).
The African diviner would cast the 19 or 18 shells three times in a close pattern, recognizing the speaker of each round. As there is a higher probability of receiving a 7, 8, 9, 10, or 11, it is not surprising that these correspond to powerful African Gods.
The Celts, however, cast once, usually with 56 shells (19 + 19 + 18), and there is an equal probability of any of the 19 speaking to the questioner. Also, the shells are broadcast onto a large, open, prepared surface or the ground, and the visual patterns formed by their lay are also interpreted. Sometimes smaller but special sets of 19 shells only are used for personal rapport with the different "speakers".
So that is Europe and Africa. Will we find similar things from our other continents and peoples? Why yes, for we are but ONE, after all.