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Archeoastronomy of the Longest Night


Science & Tech  (tags: ancient, archaeology, discovery )

Marty
- 243 days ago - blog.nasm.si.edu
As our northern hemisphere days begin to lengthen, I like to think about the many ways people have marked the Winter Solstice throughout human history. Like Summer Solstice (the longest day), the equinoxes, and motions of the planets and Moon through



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Comments

Justin Vale (17)
Sunday December 29, 2013, 5:31 am
thanks
 

Kamia T. (66)
Sunday December 29, 2013, 11:11 am
I just LOVE stuff like this! Ok, it's the geeky nerd in me, but finding out unusual tidbits on history and other things puts wrinkles in your brain. The more you have, the less likely to have dementia. Thanks for the post!
 

Sara V. (0)
Sunday December 29, 2013, 11:31 am
Here is a link to a page which give more information about the Solstices - "The sun standing still."

catfangz.com/Solstice.html

"Cultures the world over have celebrated Winter Solstice for thousands of years. This start of the solar year is a celebration of Light and the rebirth of the Sun. In Europe, it was known as Yule, from the Norse, Jul, meaning wheel."

"But more to the point, the Ancients noticed in very ancient times that during the solstice period, the sun which was traveling south into the cold of winter and would descend until it reached a point where it would stop. "

"In fact the word "solstice" means, "sun standing still." This most southerly position of the sun is marked on all globes, as the tropic of Capricorn, for it is in that sign that this event takes place. The Sun seems to sinking lower into the horizon as winter approaches and the days possess less daylight and heat. That means less photosynthesis and less harvests and food supplies diminishing. Ancient man feared the darkness for it was personified death to him. In the absence of light from the Sun man was vulnerable to bad and evil things happening to him.

In such conditions the Sun, the provider of light, security, safety, heat, and photosynthesis and the abundance of food stuffs was the Savior of the Ancients. So when we speak of the Winter Solstice it is rather easy knowing this that as the Sun sank deeper into the southern horizon on a daily basis and with less light every day to the point that the path of the Sun had moved further down the sky to where it had remained motionless for 3 days at the Winter Solstice then the ancients considered that the sun had actually died. In fact, the sun, the light of the world, would remain standing still for three days neither moving north or south. Then, it was noticed, that on the third day, the sun would begin moving northward again.

The sun, the light of the world, would die for three days and then on the third day rise again!

One motivating factor that inspired early man to worship a god, was his fear and dread of the potential danger of his environment and his powerlessness to deal with it. Primitive man's primary reason for worshiping and sacrificing to the Sun God was to assure that the Sun God would continue protecting mankind from the ravages of the dreaded winter.

The Winter Solstice was the supposed birth date of a number of archetypal fertility gods, such as Mithra, Adonis, Dionysus, Osiris, Baal, and many other versions of the Solar Sun God, who bore such titles as the Son of Man, Light of the World, Sun of Righteousness, and Savior. Many religious traditions have celebrated the birth of a Divine Child at the winter solstice."

Happy Sunreturn! (to all Northern Hemisphere dwellers)
 

Roger Garin-michaud (61)
Sunday December 29, 2013, 12:19 pm
noted, thanks
 

Lois Jordan (55)
Sunday December 29, 2013, 2:05 pm
Noted. Thanks for this interesting post, Marty.
 

Birgit W. (144)
Sunday December 29, 2013, 2:23 pm
Thanks for sharing.
 

Nelson Baker (0)
Sunday December 29, 2013, 3:03 pm
Looking forward to spring.
 

june t. (65)
Sunday December 29, 2013, 5:05 pm
thanks! always interesting to read things like this
 

Kerrie G. (135)
Sunday December 29, 2013, 11:03 pm
Noted, thanks.
 
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