Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Solstice

I know I'm a few days late getting this post up, but I was too busy celebrating by building alter shaped mounds of snow along side my driveway to compose anything worthy of the occasion. Now that the time for celebration is past I thought I would stop and ponder the significance of the Winter Solstice.

The winter solstice occurs at the instant when the Sun's position in the sky is at its greatest angular distance on the other side of the equatorial plane from the observer's hemisphere. The seasonal significance of the winter solstice is in the reversal of the gradually lengthening nights and shortening days.
This simple result of orbital physics is marked by festivals celebrating rebirth in the religions of most cultures. The most pervasive and obscene for its displays of materialism is Christmas. Others holidays include: Amaterasu, Beiwe, Deygan and Midvinterblot.

So, while it is easy to get caught up in the hype of parties and shopping and desecrating nativity scenes, we should not forget the true reason for the season. That science has given us the ability to observe, predict and understand the changes in the seasons and that we can move beyond ritualistic appeasements to ill tempered divine figures so that they will cause the spring to come again.

3 comments:

Iron Soul said...

Here it is. A new post to appease the minions. Hijack the thread as you see fit.

Tim said...

Herb, how is your gas? Did something eventually have to become unstuck for you to obtain relief? Lydia and I are headed to NC (via Las Vegas) today, but I'll follow the travails of your bowels from there with (and it hardly needs saying) great interest.

NPR had something about the variety of celebrations going on at this time, and they mentioned Festivus, which I thought was funny. The only way I know that holiday is via Seinfeld - is it actually celebrated?

Iron Soul said...

I think Festivus originated with the seinfeld episode, but has developed a bit of a cult following.