Summer Solstice 2010

The word Solstice is Latin in origin and translates as, Sol =the Sun, + stitere =standing still. On June 21, the North Pole is tilted most directly Sunward. Those of us in the Northern Hemisphere experience this as the longest day and shortest night of the year. On December 21, the Winter Solstice, the North Pole is pointed away from the Sun giving us in the Northern Hemisphere, our shortest day, and longest night. This tilting of the Earth’s rotational axis gives us our seasons. During each Solstice, the Sun appears to both rise and set at the exactly opposite spot on the horizon. The Solar Calendars like Stonehenge and the Sun Dagger in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico operate by indicating this point.

Symbols of Summer:

The rose, the rampant vine and the bright sun. Modern symbols include flip-flops, icy pitchers of lemonade, beach umbrellas and baseball games!

Foods of Summer:

Grilled foods, salads, tomatoes, zucchini and lemonade.

Colors of Summer:

Brights: lime green, lemon yellow, sunny orange, sky blue.

Stones of Autumn:

Cancer is white stones like shell and pearl. Leo is gold stones like amber and tiger-eye. Virgo is blue stones like sodalite and sapphire.

Activities of Summer:

Barbecues, picnics, lawn-mowing, weeding, swimming outside.

Links:

The Chaco Canyon Sun Dagger petroglyphs

An interactive model of the Sun Dagger.

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Happy Spring! Vernal Equinox 2010

The Spring Equinox is the dawn of the new zodiacal year in the Northern Hemisphere. The equinoxes are the two times during the year when the dark of night and the light of day are in balance or equal. Another name for the Vernal Equinox is Ostara, from the name of a German Goddess of fertility, Oestarae. She is the deific equivalent of the Greco Roman goddess, Aurora, the personification of the sunrise. Consider that the Sun rises in the East and her name is where East and Easter both come from. The Christian Easter date was decided by the Council of Nicaea to fall the first Sunday after the first full Moon occurring on or after the March Equinox. This effectively removed its observance from conflicts with either Ostara or Passover.

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Winter Solstice 2009

winter23The Winter Solstice occurs on December 21, so our next party will be on Saturday, the 19th.  If you don’t receive an evite and you would like one, contact me!

At the Solstice, the Sun enters the part of the space-time continuum belonging to Capricorn. This is the official first day of Winter in the Northern Hemisphere. The word Solstice is derived from the Latin sol, or “Sun,” and stitium, or “stoppage.” At the Solstice, the Sun appears to both rise and set at the same spot on the horizon. On June 21, the Summer Solstice, the North Pole is tilted most directly Sunward. Those of us in the Northern Hemisphere experience this as the longest day and shortest night of the year. On December 21, the Winter Solstice, the North Pole is pointed away from the Sun giving us in the Northern Hemisphere, our shortest day and longest night. It is this tilting of the Earth’s rotational axis that gives us our seasons. If you want more information on how this works, just ask and I can recommend some articles and books that explain it really well. I don’t know about you, but to me, the important part of this is that from here on out, we get a few minutes more of daylight each day, until the Summer Solstice, that is.

Symbols of Winter:

snow, bare-branched trees, icicles, yule log, Santa Claus, elves, a creche, etc.

Foods of Winter:

Mulled cider, brandy, eggnog, Julekake, fruitcake, nuts, yams, satsumas, candy canes and fudge.

Check out this link: spices that increase circulation.

Colors of Winter:

blue, white, silver, red and green.

Stones of Winter:

Capricorn is onyx, hematite and garnet. Aquarius is pietersite, malachite and amethyst. Pisces is aquamarine, and turquoise and jade.

Activities of Winter:

Skiing and snowshoeing, hanging up lights and decorations, Holiday celebrations, watching sappy movies and shoveling snow.


Thank you!

Thank you all for the fun party! It was great to see everyone and to catch up on news. Along with the usual snackage we served pumpkin pie in honor of Autumn and Rena brought a German chocolate cake, num. Kevin described a way to make a fruit-fly trap from a wine bottle.  We always have an infestation of fruit flies this time of year and we always have wine bottles around so I made one right away. You just pour some cider vinegar into the wine bottle and then tape a paper funnel into the neck. The fruit flies fly into the funnel but then can’t get back out. Here is the website of the University of Kentucky featuring this type of a trap, but the wine bottle looks much cooler than theirs does!

The Winter Solstice occurs on December 21, so our next party will be on Saturday, the 19th. If you want to know when those solstices and equinoxes happen, or if you’d like to know which stars are visible on a given evening, then it is time to order your Farmers Almanac for next year. Check out my favorite feature: the “best days” timetable. Don’t start 2010 without it!


The Autumnal Equinox

September 22nd is the Autumnal Equinox: the day the Sun enters Libra, and the beginning of Autumn.

libra2In the same way that the Solstice marks the days of longest and shortest “light,” the Equinoxes mark the day of equal light. Nox is the Roman goddess of night so equinox literally means “equal night.” The glyph for Libra represents the setting sun expressing the balance between night and day. The rising of the constellation Libra marked the beginning of the New Year in ancient Egypt. Equinoxes are the two points in the year (March 19-21 and September 21-23) when the Sun crosses the celestial equator. At these times, day and night in Northern and Southern hemispheres are of equal length. The spring (vernal) equinox occurs midway between the Winter and Summer solstices; the Autumnal equinox occurs midway between the Summer and Winter solstices. The Autumn equinoctial festival of Mabon mirrors the spring equinoctial festival of Oestara with the Light and Dark forces of the Universe switching ascendancy.

Persephone departs the earth to join her husband in the underworld. It is time to give thanks for the summer, and to welcome the impending dark. Traditionally, this is when some of the heaviest work of the agricultural year begins. The harvest is stored away, the farm animals are measured against their feed and decisions are made about how many to keep and how many to slaughter and eat. This is why so much Thanksgiving feasting goes on now. Preserved meat and fruit only last so long.

Symbols of Autumn:

Blackberries, wine, gourds, pinecones, acorns, grains, corn, apples, pomegranates, ivy

Foods of Autumn:

Breads, nuts, apples, squash, pomegranates, and root vegetables.

Colors of Autumn:

The colors of the sunset: violet, orange, russet, maroon, brown, and gold.

Stones of Autumn:

Libra is Pink tourmaline, opals and Rhodochrosite. Scorpio is topaz, bloodstones, garnets, and yellow agates. Sagittarius is turquoise and jasper.

Activities of Autumn:

Making wine, gathering seeds and seedpods, walking in the woods, Halloween, and Thanksgiving celebrations.


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