12/20/06

solstice


december 21st marks the shortest day of the year here in the northern hemesphere.


our dear friends bill and jude have celebrated this holiday for as long as i have known them. i must admit guiltily that i was never able to make this celebration. since i now have an incredible newfound appreciation, bill and jude, i will try harder next time i am within 200 miles to make it.


not that i havent experienced the lazyness short days have had on my life before, but the depth of it is immense here.

i see people both in the clinic and in line at the grocery store in their pajamas, seriously. its as though there is no point to getting dressed since you will just be curling your feet up under you in a few short hours.


the earth is actually nearer the sun in january than it is in june- by three million miles. but, the earth leans slightly on its axis like a spinning top frozen in one off kilter position. this pose is what causes the variety in our climate and determines how many hours and minutes each hemisphere receives sunlight.

by the way, why arent more religions created around sunlight? we couldnt exsist without it.


solstice means... standing- still - sun


many ancient cultures performed solstice ceremonies including native american (think chico canyon), iran (yalda) and china, pakistan and tibet to name a few. they all have some celebration with root in the fear that the failing light would never return unless humans intervened with vigil or celebration.


some cultures built their greatest architectures, tombs, and temples so that they aligned with the solstices and equiox. stonehenge is a perfect marker of both summer and winter solstices. a lesser known site is newgrange. (http://www.knowth.com/newgrange.htm)
this beautiful megalithic site is located in ireland. it is a huge circular stone structure and estimated to be 5,000 years old. older by centuries than stonehenge, and older than the egyptian pyramids! it was built to receive a single shaft of sunlight, deep into a central chamber at dawn on winter solstice. the light illuminates a stone basin with intricate carvings, spirals, and eye shapes.


just some food for thought today as we begin to add precious minutes of sunlight to our lives.
hum it with me now...
here comes the sun
do do do do
here comes the sun.
and i say, its alright


happy solstice!


2 comments:

Val said...

I'm embarrassed to admit that I too have gone to the grocery store in my p.j.'s. But, but - I had a big coat on and you prolly wouldn't have known if you saw me. :-/

P.S. What was I buying at the grocery store??? Ice cream. :-)

AK FNP said...

val, the first step is admitting that this is not normal anywhere but up here (:
(i am beginning to figure out this is true of alot of things up here)
thanks for looking in!