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Summer Solstice

A miracle worth celebrating.

June 23, 2011
Maui Weekly

Our primal ancestors all over the world celebrated the solstice for reasons that you can see for yourself—if you keep your eye on the sky. When you face west at sunset, you notice that the point of sunset migrates. From the winter solstice to the summer solstice it migrates farther and farther north. At the solstice, it stops migrating completely. For days on end, the point of sunset is at the same location. Our word, solstice, means “sun stationary.” Of course, the sun itself isn’t stationary, but the point where it sets (as well as the point where rises) is motionless now.

If you keep watching the sky, you’ll eventually see that little by little—almost imperceptibly at first—the point of sunset (or sunrise) begins migrating southward again. It will continue migrating southward until the winter solstice. Then it becomes stationary again for days before turning around.

If you’re wondering why this happens, you might want to remember that billions of years ago, our planet got whacked by something about the size of Mars. This tilted our Earth over at a 23.5-degree-angle to the path of its journey around the sun. As a result, our hemisphere is pointed away from the sun on one side of its yearly orbit (winter) and is pointed toward the sun on the other side of its orbit (summer).

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Whether we’re talking about a summer solstice or a winter solstice, we’re talking about a turning point—a pivotal moment. Our lives pivot around these two points because life is light incarnate.

Whether we’re talking about a summer solstice or a winter solstice, we’re talking about a turning point—a pivotal moment. Our lives pivot around these two points because life is light incarnate.

If you wonder how light incarnates, just ask the grass under your feet. Or ask any other green plant. Plants have chlorophyll inside them. And chlorophyll is so stimulated by light that it can hold onto the light longer than any other substance on Earth without being burned by it. Chlorophyll holds onto the light so long that it steps the light down, down, down into the solid matter of leaves, twigs, branches and roots. Energy becomes matter. And without this matter, we do not eat.

Right now, at the summer solstice, the miracle of light-becoming-life is greater than it is at any other point in our yearly journey around the sun. And isn’t a miracle worth celebrating?

 
 
 

 

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