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The Exact Days and Times of the Solstices and Equinoxes Until 2020
This data is taken from the U.S. Naval Observatory website. The time on the website is given as – Universal Time, which is the same as , Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), or the time in London. EST= Eastern Standard Time, the time on the East Coast of the United States (five hours earlier than GMT). These times are NOT corrected for Daylight Savings time. (Spring ahead, Fall back) You will have to correct for British Summer Time or Daylight Savings Time in the US. While most of think of these Quarter Days as being on the 21st of March, June, September, and December, this is not always the case.
You can see that clearly by looking at the dates below:
|Vernal Equinox||March 19th March 20th||23.30 EST 04.30 GMT|
|Summer Solstice||June 20th||17.34 EST 22.34 GMT|
|Autumnal Equinox||September 22nd||09.21 EST 14.21 GMT|
|Winter Solstice||December 21st||05.44 EST 10.44 GMT|
|Vernal Equinox||March 20th||05.28 EST 10.28 GMT|
|Summer Solstice||June 20th June 21st||23.24 EST 04.24 GMT|
|Autumnal Equinox||September 22nd||15.02 EST 20.02 GMT|
|Winter Solstice||December 21st||11.28 EST 16.28 GMT|
|Vernal Equinox||March 20th||11.15 EST 16.15 GMT|
|Summer Solstice||June 21st||05.07 EST 10.07 GMT|
|Autumnal Equinox||September 22nd September 23rd||20.54 EST 01.54 GMT|
|Winter Solstice||December 21st||17.22 EST 22.22 GMT|
|Vernal Equinox||March 20th||16.58 EST 21.58 GMT|
|Summer Solstice||June 21st||10.54 EST 15.54 GMT|
|Autumnal Equinox||September 23rd||02.50 EST 07.50 GMT|
|Winter Solstice||December 21st December 22nd||23.19 EST 04.19 GMT|
|Vernal Equinox||March 19th March 20th||22.49 EST 03.49 GMT|
|Summer Solstice||June 20th||16.43 EST 21.43 GMT|
|Autumnal Equinox||September 22nd||13.30 EST 18.30 GMT|
|Winter Solstice||December 21st||05.02 EST 10.02 GMT|
Orthographic Projections >> Write comment (0 Comments)
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One of the skills one can gain through the study of sacred space is the ability to move at will and consciously to different levels of reality. By focusing intent, one can go from one dimension to another. Through studying the Sun and the Moon and learning how to predict where they will rise and set at major time-points of the year, we are exposed to new ideas about how to move into different dimensions and what it may be like there. We can meet some doorways. Sacred space has doors. Astronomy opens them for us.
| Betty Sincerbeaux at Calendar II
Central Vermont, USA
Photo © Byron Dix
|Winter Solstice Sunrise Calendar II, Central Vermont, USA
Again, notice the notch on the horizon
Photo © Byron Dix
The ancients used this knowledge to better calculate and intuit when the earth energies would be at their peak. If the energy-ley that runs down the major axis of the site is oriented to the Winter Solstice Sunrise, then that will be the day when that particular site will experience a peak of power. Archaeoastronomy can help you know where various important solar, lunar and stellar rises and sets will occur - assuming a non-level horizon. This aids the geomancer in tuning the site and in knowing at what point on the cycle the peaks will occur.
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Why did our foremothers and forefathers know so much about astronomy? First of all, unlike ourselves, they lived in it. Anyone who has lived outdoors for a while begins to develop a different relationship with nature and the sky. Living in houses and especially in cities, where the ambient light and the tall buildings block out the heavens, we have forgotten the natural flow of the cosmos. Outdoors, if you get up at first light and go to bed when it gets dark, you notice the Sun as it rises and sets each day. In the Northern hemisphere, over the months you see the Sunrise moving along the Eastern horizon from the North-East at Summer Solstice (the longest day of the year), to the South-East at the Winter Solstice. Likewise, at Sunset, you would see the Sunset also moves along the Western horizon over the year as well.
This is a copy of a Druidic Cross that was given to me by the Welsh Druid Ray Kerley when I lived in Glastonbury, England in the mid-eighties. It was Ray's family's druidic Cross.
From an astronomical point of view, the four arms represent:
The four Quarter Days of the yearly cycle
Winter Solstice - around December 21st (on the cross above: at 6:00 o'clock)
Spring Equinox - around March 21st (at 9:00 o'clock).
Summer Solstice - around June 21st (at 12:00 o'clock)
Autumn Equinox - around September 21st (at 3:00 o'clock)
Exact times of Quarter Days 2006-2020
But the Celts (pronounced "Kelts"), the people of Iron Age Northern Europe were interested in the days half way between these Quarter Days. These Cross-Quarter Days were the major feast days of the Celts. They are represented by the four black balls at the points where the two arms Cross on the Cross shown above.
Samhain - around November 1st, the Celtic New Year (The black ball at 4:30 o'clock - between Autumn Equinox and Winter Solstice)
Imbolc - around February 1st, the quickening (The seed planted at Samhain moves for the first time (the black ball is at 8:30)
Beltane - around May Day, May 1st, the Cross-quarter day of fertility (The crops are up, let's work for their fertility (the black ball is at 10:30)
Lughnasad (Lammas/Loaf-Mass) - around August 1st, the first harvest of the grain (ground into the first loaf of bread of the season for Loaf Mass/Lammas (the black ball is at 2:30)
In looking at orientations, in addition to those of the Quarter Days, some sacred sites on both sides of the Big Pond are oriented towards these Cross-Quarter Days. Here's an example from Northern Vermont, USA. The picture was taken inside an underground stone chamber.
Cross Quarter Day - Imbolc - Sunset Rodwin Chamber, Northern Vermont, USA.
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Notice the notch in the horizon that the Sun is moving towards..
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Stony Littleton Long Barrow
Winter Solstice Sunrise 2003
|Stoney Littleton is a recently restored Neolithic Long Barrow half-way between Glastonbury and Bath in southwest England. It was said to be aligned to the Winter Solstice Sunrise. Seven of us from the Glastonbury Earth Mysteries Group ventured up there bright an early on December 22nd, 2003 to check that out amid rumours of snow and ice and generally foul weather. Mother Nature delighted us with a perfectly clear sky and a glorious sunrise.|
|The walk up to the barrow was bitterly cold for northern Somerset - a bit below freezing with a strong wind. We found that a number of other folks, also from Glastonbury had preceeded us. The interior chamber is long and low with six side chambers - three on each side as one crawls on hands and knees towards the back chamber, which was pleasantly warm. Before the Sun came up, a suprising amount of light was coming into the chamber. The two bright lights below the person at the mouth of the tunnel are candles.||
|The moment of Sunrise, Notice that the Sun is not in the centre of the door, but in the left hand corner, But the point of alignment - when the light of the Sun hit the back of the chamber - came a bit later. Unlike stone rings, the alignment at Stony Littleton Long Barrow was not when the sun broke the horizon, but when it was several degrees above the already elevated horizon.|
The exact point of Winter Solstice in 2003 was at 6:51 GMT on December 22nd. According to the BBC, sunrise on that day was at 8:14 GMT; however, due to the elevated horizon, the Sun didn't rise until closer to 9:00. When it was fully above the horizon, it was absolutely magical.
|One of the big mistakes that many make when looking at alignments in chambers like this is that they only look at the Sun. It is also useful to look at what the Sun is doing on the back wall.While this wasn't as revealing as it was at Cairn T at Loughcrew in Ireland, it still was magnificent to behold.
|Here's a final shot of the Sun taken from the back of Stoney Littleton Long Barrow along the top. The mouth of the tunnel
is just over the drop off, just below the Sun.
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