Friday, 21 December 2012

Winter Solstice 2012, thanks to DH!

Maeshowe, Orkney
Today's date date is 21 December, 2012. This is the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere- the day of the shortest daylight of the year. From now until the Summer Solstice of 2013, our daylight will increase until the Summer Solstice of 2013 when the cycle will begin again. The photos are of Maeshowe, Neolithic tomb in Orkney,above, and Stonehenge in Wiltshire,England, below - both courtesy of DH as at the time these were taken, I did not have my own camera. As parents of a burgeoning archaeologist ( at THAT time , now fully burgeoned!) we tried to get her to as many places of archaeological interest in Britain as possible.

In ancient times, the Winter Solstice was a time for celebration and reflection . At sunset on the shortest day , the setting sun shone straight in through the passageway of Maeshowe and lit up the wall opposite. Apart from the huge, famous chambered tomb of Newgrange , Ireland - also Neolithic- Maeshowe is unique in its alignment. There are many many theories as to the significance of this particular arrangement , but one that I like is that of the winter solstice marking the end or death of the sun and then its rebirth in the new year- i.e., death leads to rebirth. That makes sense to me . Although the Solstice was NOT the new year for the Neolithic peoples, it is a good time for us to look to the coming year, the rebirth of the sun cycle and the chance to make amends and start afresh.

Stonehenge , Wiltshire, England
 We will all recognize Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England. In 1966 , on our honeymoon , we had the privilege of getting up close and personal with these ancient stones- a VERY moving experience! Stonehenge is also Neolithic with Bronze Age additions and it is also connected with solstice celebrations . Today was predicted by the Mayan calendar to be the end of the world and this morning , at sunrise, a LOT of people massed INSIDE the barriers that now protect this site to mark the sunrise on this supposedly apocalyptic day. Google Stonehenge Winter Solstice 2012 and see the travesty that occurred here this morning!
These pictures make our daughter crazy. She has visited the site but was never allowed this close. One benefit of being old, I guess! This one is from 1966- as witnessed by the trendy garb of those ladies, myself not among them !
It is my wish for everyone, that the world NOT end today, but that instead, the ugliness and pain and cruelty that we have all been experiencing on the TV news lately should die with the midwinter sunset and the light of love, kindness and caring should pour into our hearts be born in its place. Sounds schmaltzy, but I assure you, it is meant most sincerely. Love, Joy and Peace is my wish for all .

5 comments:

  1. Yes, blessings on this day of a new upcycle! :)

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  2. I too was able to see Stonehenge 'up close and personal' -- in 1972, the spring I was 20. Forty years ago this past May!

    These sites remind us there is still Mystery in the world. This season reminds us that the Mystery once walked among us -- and will again.

    Blessings to you and yours for Christmas, and wishes for a Happy and Creative New Year!

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  3. Also we were close up to Stonehenge in the 80ies! And today I thought as well of the winter solstice when I had to switch on lights at three in the afternoon. I like the thought of growing daylight.

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  4. Winter Solstice is still celebrated in some households today. We mark Yule as well as christmas.
    I was lucky enough to get inside Stonehenge when I was younger. The hemlines in the photos show when! I wish I still dared show that much thigh.

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  5. the world didn't end (it's sunday now) and as far as i know stonehenge still stands. YAY! holiday greetings.

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