Winter Solstice Story
Dec. 21 marks for us in the northern hemisphere the date of the winter solstice, the shortest day of daylight in the Northern Hemisphere. From this day onward, days in the Northern hemisphere become increasingly longer each day until June 21st when they once again start to become shorter. On June 21st there are about 2 hours more of daylight than on December 21st in San Miguel, more as you move further north.
The word solstice derives from Latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still), hence when the sun standstills. Not in as it stops on its daily journey across the sky, but as it reaches its furthest north or south distance from the equator. In the northern hemisphere, after June 21st, the sunset moves south each day on the western visible horizon until December 21st and then it appears to stand still, reverse its direction, and again starts its journey north.
With the exception of 20% of the US citizenry, the majority now concur that the earth revolves around the sun and not vice versa and that the earth is round and not flat. We know this because we were told (learned) this in 5th grade science class and we now accept it as fact, but from casual observation it is no wonder man thought that the flat earth was circled by a golden chariot…
Regardless of the Earth’s actual shape, local regions of its surface can be considered approximately flat for many purposes. The large-scale shape of the Earth is only relevant when considering large distances. Consequently, in antiquity only sailors, astronomers, philosophers, and theologians would have been concerned about the Earth’s large-scale shape. In our everyday visual horizon and ordinary view, the earth does appear to be relatively flat, notwithstanding the mountains and valleys, and it does not seem as though we are spinning at 1000 miles per hour, but rather the sun daily revolves around us… If we are actually spinning that fast why don’t we just fly off into space?? Short answer, GRAVITY…. Another topic, for another day, but did you ever notice if you were walking west it seems easier than if you are walking to the east… headwind??? 🙂
“Around 330 BC, Aristotle provided observational evidence for the spherical Earth, noting that travelers going south see southern constellations rise higher above the horizon. He argued that this was only possible if their horizon was at an angle to northerners’ horizon and that the Earth’s surface therefore could not be flat. He also noted that the border of the shadow of Earth on the Moon during the partial phase of a lunar eclipse is always circular, no matter how high the Moon is over the horizon. Only a sphere casts a circular shadow in every direction, whereas a circular disk casts an elliptical shadow in all directions apart from directly above and directly below.” So with the exception of some, like the Flat Earth Society, (Haven’t had time to look into this group enough, but this is surely a joke) we now also know that the earth is round and spins on its axis every 24 hours relative to the sun, giving us day and night. The spinning earth is in orbit around the sun and completes a full circle around the sun every 365 days, giving us our seasons.
The reason for our seasons is that the earth’s axis is not actually spinning at 90 degrees perpendicular to the sun, but is tilted at a 23.5° angle on its axis and is always pointed in the same direction relative to the sun. So, as the earth rotates around the sun, the north and south hemispheres receive differing amounts of direct sunlight thorough out the year. On December 21st, at high noon, the sun is 90° directly over the Tropic of Capricorn, a belt at 23.5° south latitude in the southern hemisphere) and therefore the northern hemisphere is receiving light at a less direct angle and has a shorter day. The opposite is true on June 21st when the sun at high noon is 90° directly over the tropic of Cancer (23.5° north latitude) in the northern hemisphere and the days in the northern hemisphere are at their longest. On March 21st and September 21st, the Equinoxes, the sun is 90° directly over the equator at high noon.
The earth is also wobbling on its axis like a slowly spinning top and rotates about 1° every 72 years completing one full wobble each 25,920 years. This wobble is known as “The Precession of the Equinoxes” or “The Platonic Year”. Interestingly enough the Mayans seem to have known Precession existed which is the basis for the ending of the 13th Baktun of their long count calendar, the Haab, based on celestial alignments that occur in 2012. More on this later…. “Scholars have concluded that even cultures with simple horizon astronomy and oral records passed down for a hundred years or so, would notice the slow shifting of the heavens due to the wobble of the earth’s axis. For example, imagine that you lived in an environment suited for accurately demarcated horizon astronomy. Even if this wasn’t the case, you might erect monoliths to sight the horizon position of, most likely, the dawning winter solstice sun. This position in relation to background stars could be accurately preserved in oral verse or wisdom teachings, to be passed down for centuries. Since precession will change this position at the rate of 1 degree every 72 years, within the relatively short time of 100 years or so, a noticeable change will have occurred. The point of this is simple. To early cultures attuned to the subtle movements of the sky, precession would not have been hard to notice.” Especially to cultures not distracted by televisions, computers or electric lights.
The Winter Solstice marks the reversal of the gradually lengthening nights and shortening days to ever lengthening days and shortening nights. Each subsequent day after the 21st of December provides more precious minutes of life giving sunlight each day, until the longest day of sunlight in the northern hemisphere, June 21, when the sun again appears to stand still for a few days before it reverses its direction and sets further south again on the horizon, creating winter.
Historically, ancient cultures marked the winter solstice with great reverence, fear and anticipation, as it was commonly believed that the sun was a god who if angered, for whatever reason, and not paid his due homage and respect, might decided to continue on his journey south and not return north wherein the days would become shorter and colder until the world was left in complete darkness and frozen over. Quite the scary thought each year if you didn’t have the scientific knowledge we have today! And definitely not a good day to be a virgin…
Ancient cultures including the Maya were keenly interested in movements of the sun especially as it was an obvious matter of survival if something went awry with the annual cycles of the suns movements. Below is the beginning of the story of the significance of the Mayan prophesy of 2012 and its relation to the Solstice and the Arcangel Baths…
The Mayans had several calendars.
The Sacred Round, or tzolkin, was 13 months of 20 day months, 260 days or about 9 of our months. No one is exactly certain how such an unusual calendar came into being. The 260-day cycle may tie several celestial events together, including the configuration of Mars, appearances of Venus, or eclipse seasons or one of the other reasons mentioned earlier.
The Vague Year or haab of 365 days was based on the solar cycle however theirs consisted of 18 months of 20 days each, (360) with an “unlucky” five-day period at the end. The unlucky five-day period was known as uayeb, and was considered an ominous time which could precipitate danger, death and bad luck.
The linking of the tzolkin and the haab resulted in a longer cycle of 18,980 days, or approximately 52 solar years, which had similar significance to them as our century to us. The end of this 52-year cycle was particularly feared, because it was believed to be a time when the world might come to an end and the sky might fall, if the gods were not satisfied with the way humanity had carried out its obligations. (Somewhat like our century turning when we feared for the end of the world because computer clocks wouldn’t reset. The same, but different…)
The 52-year cycle was inadequate, however, to measure the continual passage of time through the ages. Another calendar was thus devised, called the Long Count. The Long Count was based on the following units of time: a kin (one day); a uinal (a month of 20 kins); a tun (a year of 360 kins or 18 uinals); a katun (20 tuns); a baktun (20 katuns, or 400 years). Larger units included the pictun, the calabtun, the kinchiltun and the analtun. Each analtun was equivalent to 64 million years. An amazing concept for an ancient people. Although they also had a concept and symbol for all the consciousness that has ever existed in the cosmos, Hunab Ku
December 21, 2112 marked the end of the 13th Baktun (220.127.116.11.0 in the long count), of the Mayan calendar. Not the end of the world but the end of the 13th Bactun and the beginning of the 14th. This particular day also signified several converging astrological alignments. It represents an extremely close conjunction of the Winter Solstice Sun with the crossing point of the Galactic Equator (Equator of the Milky Way) and the Ecliptic (path of the Sun), what the ancient Maya recognized as the Sacred Tree. It was also the alignment of the precession plane with a dark spot in the Milky Way, which was feared to be a dark time. This phenomenon is an event that had been coming to resonance very slowly over thousands and thousands of years and the Mayan seemed to know thousands of years ago that the wobble, known as “The Precession of the Equinoxes” would align all these events together on December 21, 2112….
To be continued…………………