Monday, July 10, 2017

The Astronomical Holy Days

Many Neopagan religions follow The Wheel of the Year, in which eight total days are celebrated. The Quarter Days (equinoxes and solstices) and the Cross Quarter Days (the midpoint between any given equinox and solstice). Typically, but not always, a mythology concerning The God and Goddess are woven through these days.

In typical minimalist spirit, however, we have pared down the sacred days to solely astronomical events, and they are as follow:

The Solar Events
  • The Perihelion (January 2-5)
    • This is the date that the Earth is closest to the Sun in its yearly orbit
    • This occurrence falls between the dates listed
  • The Spring Equinox (on or around March 20)
    • This events marks the time when the day and night are the same length, due to the days steadily getting longer since the Winter Solstice
  • The Summer Solstice (on or around June 21)
    • The longest day (and shortest night) of the year. Days start getting shorter right after the solstice 
  • The Aphelion (July 3-6)
    • The point when the Earth is farthest away from the Sun in its orbit
  • The Autumn Equinox (on or around September 22)
    • The days have been getting shorter, and this day marks when they are the same length once again
  • The Winter Solstice (on or around December 21)
    • The shortest day (and longest night) of the year. Days start getting longer right after the solstice. 
  • Solar Eclipses (exact times and dates vary widely)
    • An event in which the moon partially or completely obstructs our view of the sun
The Lunar Events
  • Cycles of the Moon (on a regular cycle)
    • While the cycle of the moon exists in a regular cycle, that cycle doesn't line up with our calendar system. Full moons, new moons, and the waxing and waning between the two occur at different times every month. 
  • Lunar Eclipses (exact times and dates vary widely) 
    • An event in which the shadow of the earth obstructs the view of the moon. This only occurs when the sun, earth, and moon are perfectly aligned, in that order. 
All dates are approximate. Make sure to check your local almanac for exact dates and times, but know that the exact time of the events isn't super important. 

Why are these days important?
At its heart, minimalist spirituality is about connecting and understanding All That Is. In an effort to do just that, these days are of note because they illustrate the cyclical nature of life, and the sacred mathematics of The Universe. 

You are encouraged to celebrate any additional holidays that they feel a connection with. These six sacred days are simply reminders that life is a lot less complicated than it seems. Every year the same six solar events happen at almost the same time, and the same lunar events happen again and again cyclically. 

Here are some Wikipedia links I drew information from:
Season
Apsis
Earth's Orbit
Equinox

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