Friday, 21 December 2007
Literally, the Afrikaans word for solstice is Sun-stand-still.
Think of a sine wave on a graph.
The wave function represents the angular distance of the sun from the east-west meridian in the sky; or alternatively the angular height (altitude) of the sun above the horizon.
Here in the Southern Hemisphere, we're just about to hit the crest of that wave.
Our sun will come up 23-and-a-half degrees from the East point, traverse the sky in the Northern sector, culminate at a point about 2-and-a-half degrees from the zenith, and set 23-and-a-half degrees South of the West point.
Like our Northern Hemisphere counterparts, we're looking North at this time - but we're peaking, whereas they are bottoming out.
The apparent change in the sun's rising and setting points, and the length of the days, is also changing at its slowest rate right now.
If you look at the graph you can see that there's this flat slope at the top and bottom of the wave, corresponding to no rate of change.
Or, think of a pendulum swinging. The solstice points are at either end of the swing - when the bob is moving most slowly, almost no velocity, as opposed to its frantic rush through the midpoint of its swing (the Equinoxes).
On the other hand, the standing-still points, bereft as they are of motion, are at their maximum in terms of potential.
This awesome Coming Into Being we feel at this time is perhaps an expression of the pendulum at the top (or bottom) of its swing, of the wave at the peak (or trough) of its cycle.
All things feel possible, here - a pause while we hold our breath, preparing to descend(or ascend)the slope once more, to begin gathering momentum toward the wild rushing of the Equinox.
Tomorrow I shall stand in the circle and invoke the Great Mother in all Her names, known and unknown, and call upon the Lord of the sun in all His guises, including His African persona - Nkosi, a word literally meaning Lord.
Top Pic:Sacred Circle Mandalas
Update - Sunrise on the Summer Solstice