Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

pagan holidays

Sun, sun, sun … here it comes!

Today marks the Summer Solstice. Astronomically, it looks like this:

The Summer Solstice occurs exactly when the Earth’s axial tilt is most inclined towards the sun at its maximum of 23° 26′. The seasonal significance of the Summer Solstice is in the reversal of the gradual shortening of nights and lengthening of days. That will occur on June 21st at 10:51 UTC (6:51am Eastern, 5:51am Central, 4:51am Mountain, and 3:51am Pacific Time).

Today and tomorrow the sunrise (near where I live) will be 5:15am and sunset will be 8:29pm … 15 hours and 14 minutes of sunlight. On Winter Solstice, six loooong months ago, sunrise was at 7:15am and sunset was at 4:22pm, barely 9 hours of sunlight.

On Monday, the sunrise will be one minute later, signalling the waning of the year. But that’s Monday and today we have 914 minutes of sunlight to enjoy!!

(Don’t forget to hover!)  

April Showers are Bringing May Flowers

At Winter Solstice, the light starts returning; gradually the memory of the long nights fades until the light and dark are equal on Spring Equinox. From that point on,  the light returns more rapidly and on May 1st we arrive at the midpoint between equinox and Summer Solstice.

Today, my sunrise was at 5:47am CDT and my sunset will be at 7:48pm … more than 14 hours of daylight, adding 2 hours since the equinox. By the end of May, we will have added 49 more minutes of daylight.

Entering the Quiet Time as We Leaf the Light Behind

An equinox occurs twice a year, when the tilt of the Earth’s axis is inclined neither away from nor towards the Sun, the Sun being vertically above a point on the Equator. The latitudes +L and -L north and south of the equator experience nights of equal length and the celestial equator has intersected the ecliptic in the axial precession.

This year’s autumnal equinox, when the light and dark are equal but moving towards dark, arrives at 3:44pm Central Time on Sunday, September 22, or about 4 hours from now.

But seasonal celebrations should not be bound by dates and times and such. In fact, it is a good idea to pre-celebrate Equinox so that you do not miss that last fleeting moment when ceiling cat has equal time. So …

Let the Fall Celebration Begin !!

“Give thanks for the blessings …”

Happy Lammas!!

Hold on there … those are happy llamas … which is not the same thing at all!

Today is August 1st, the pagan holiday of Lammas or First Harvest. It is the first of three harvest celebrations on the Wheel of the Year. But because this is a pagan holiday that does not have a corresponding non-pagan holiday, it may be one that you have never heard of.  

April Showers Bring May Flowers … and Woozles!!

Twice a year, on the Solstice holidays, Basement Cat and Ceiling Cat are locked in mortal combat over the Light. At Winter Solstice, Ceiling Cat prevails and the light starts returning … gradually the memory of basement cat fades until the light and dark are equal on Spring Equinox. From that point on,  the light returns more rapidly and on May 1st we arrive at the midpoint between Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice.

The Promise of the Light

Today marks the midpoint between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. Astronomically, it looks like this:

More importantly, it means that the promise of the returning light made at Winter Solstice is being fulfilled.

On December 21, sunrise (near where I live) was 7:15am and sunset was 4:22pm.

Today, February 2nd, sunrise was 7:02am and sunset will be at 5:06pm: a gain of 13 minutes in the morning and 44 minutes at night … a total of 57 minutes. Over the next two days, we add another 6 minutes making it more than a full hour of additional sunlight since Winter Solstice.

Of course, that is the sciencey stuff. We know that there is more to it than that.