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Posts Tagged ‘Astronomy


On 21st June 2009, the Earth will be at the closest distance to the sun than it has been the whole year. When the Earth is either at its furthest or closest distance from the sun, it is called a solstice. Solstices have the power to bring change and new energies.

As astronomers have found out, the Earth is tilted on an axis, and very slowly moves round the sun, at the same time that it spins around this axis. Astronomers such as Galileo, have also found that indeed, the sun and its solar system do not move around the Earth, but instead, the Earth is one of the many planets that circles the sun as the centre of the solar system.

Far left: the Summer Solstice, Far right: the Winter Solstice, in between: Equinoxes

Far left: the Summer Solstice, Far right: the Winter Solstice, in between: Equinoxes

As you can imagine, the sun holds such power, that when a Solstice comes around, the Earth’s many inhabitants can feel the effects.

The  sibling of a solstice, so to speak, is an Equinox. An Equinox happens when the sun is right in the middle of the Earth’s equator, and the Earth is neither leaning towards nor away from the sun.

Solstices happen twice a year, once in June – the summer one – and once in December – the winter one. The Summer Solstice occurs sometime between June 20 and June 21, and the Winter Solstice sometime between December 21 and December 22. The Summer Solstice is the longest day and the shortest night in the year. In turn, the Winter Solstice is the longest night but the shortest day in the year.

Humans have known about the relationship between the Earth and the sun since the very beginning, and have built monuments such as the Stonehenge to monitor the sun’s yearly progress.

Solstices are celebrated all over the world. There are the Dōngzhì festival in China, Christmas worldwide as well as the Summer Solstice celebrations in many Mediterranean countries.

In the Dōngzhì festival, which takes place around the Winter Solstice, Chinese families get together to eat yummy glutinous rice balls (Tāng Yuán) that represent family reunion and prosperity. Christmas, which also takes place around the time of the Winter Solstice, is not only a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, but also a celebration of the Winter Solstice.

The delicious

The delicious Tāng Yuán (pronounced: Tong Yee-IRN).

Many Mediterranean countries dedicate the Summer Solstice to St. John the Baptist, and their rituals are very similar to the Celtic festival, Samhain.

The spiritual aspect of the solstices is change. It is said that with the Summer Solstice, tomorrow 21 June 2009, all of the old and murky will be swept away and the new will be brought in. Many people will feel the turmoil that this entails in the few months, weeks or days leading up to the solstice.

For example, a project that you’ve been trying to push for a long time is just not budging, and things are just not working out for you, but never fear, for when the Solstice comes, everything should become clear.


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