The Solstice - By Stephen Oachs
One-in-a-Million sky over a Hohokam Indian Petroglyph site in Arizona.
PFEIFFER SPARKS - Photo and Comment by Robin Black
For a two-week period each year around the same time as the winter solstice, the setting sun aligns with the portal in the big rock arch at Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur. I was fortunate to get clear skies on this evening, which allowed the fiery sunset light to shine through the portal and light up the waves crashing through.
Sol-stice = sun-stationary,
because the sun rises and sets in the same spot for a few days.
This moment of “stationing” suggests a stilling, a time-out.
A propitious period to go within, to touch base with the essential,
to pause and reflect.
This is the longest night and shortest day of the year,
here in the northern hemisphere.
(The southern hemisphere is celebrating Summer Solstice at the same moment.)
From this day on, the days will get longer.
This phenomenon is a direct result
of the Earth-Sun relationship.
At winter solstice, Sun is at its lowest point:
the longest night, the most profound descent into the dark,
and a subsequent turning of the cycle,
a return to the Light.
LUNAR CALENDARS - via catface3 on Flickr
From sign beside this lovely pavement design outside the National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, DC ~ ”Lunar Calendars”
"The circles and moon phases marked on the pavement refer to a phenomenon known as lunar standstills. Lunar standstills occur every 18.6 years when the moon reaches a northern extreme at summer solstice and a southern extreme at winter solstice. This also occurs with the sun, twice a year around each solstice date. When the sun and moon reach these points, they appear to stand still in the sky. These moon phases represent circular markings found in New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon and honor the ancient cultures that lived there and observed lunar cycles.”
- Rare winter solstice lunar eclipse (holykaw.alltop.com)
- Solstice Eclipse, First In 456 Years, Could Be A Bad Omen (huffingtonpost.com)
Solstice Sunrise at Stonehenge - Photograph by Max Alexander