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Solstice Fever

The winter crud is going around.  Orion and I got hit late last week and we’re still dragging a little.  This time of year, when there is so much to do, so much pressure to get it done, it’s hard to take time out.  I don’t get fevers.  When I do they totally wipe me out.  I can’t argue, don’t care if I eat and spend my day moving from one “nest” to another.  I managed to get Orion fed thanks to leftovers and toaster waffles.

There’s another fever going around this year.  The world is supposed to end, or at least the Mayan calendar ends, on 12/21/12.  In case you didn’t notice, that’s the winter solstice.

Have you perhaps been looking at the Aztec calendar?  Or the Oreo Cookie?

Have you perhaps been looking at the Aztec calendar? Or the Oreo Cookie?

In fact that’s kind of the point.  The Mayan’s had a phenomenal grasp of astronomical principles.  They understood, better than many American’s do, that the earth’s trip around the sun gives us our longer nights and shorter days (visa versa towards the summer solstice.)  They also understood the progression of the equinox, the way the whole galaxy turns upon itself.

This year everything lines up.  The winter solstice, the sun in relationship with the galactic core, all of it.  It seems a more reasonable place to “end” the calendar than December 31, or September 18th if you’re Jewish, or  January 23, 2012 or February 10 2013 on the Chinese calendar or November 15th in the Islamic calendar system.  Our dates are pretty arbitrary, the Mayans at least picked an event that can be calculated consistently and that only happens once every 26,000 years or so.

Humans mark the “end times” with fear, and always have.  That in part is the reason for the solstice celebrations.  This is the longest night of the year, it marks the beginning of the coldest season.  It’s a scary time.  Modern sensibilities speculate that the general population didn’t believe the sun would come back unless they celebrated the rites of solstice lead by the priestly class.  How much different is that than stocking up on water and supplies as we approached December 31, 1999?  How familiar is this year’s “solstice fever”?

For a really good article explaining the astronomical connections between the winter solstice and the Mayan calendar  look here:   http://http://www.december212012.com/articles/solar/2012_The_Astronomy_Connection.htm

In the meantime, stay well and Happy Solstice!

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