Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Divine Geometry Of The Solstice

Fire kept burning through the longest night of the year, wiki_*

* Fire kept burning through the longest night of the year, wiki

Let's Get Back In Rhythm With Nature, This Solstice

After coming to this planet and living here for so many years now, I can still not get over the wonder and awe at the care that has gone into making my stay comfortable. The arrangements are nothing short of heavenly! Just visualize the blue marble spinning on its axis at a speed of about 465 meters per second. Four hundred sixty five meters per second - that's a lot of vertigo! And this marble hurtles around a huge ball of fire at a speed of about 30 kilometers per second. Thirty kilometers in one second - that's a lot of speed! And yet, despite the heady cocktail of dizziness and hurtle, I am feeling oh so comfortable as I am typing this; just the same comfort that I felt when I slid out of the womb into the open air. And, going by the experiences shared by others who have passed by this property before me, this degree of comfort is undisturbed by and large, barring a tsunami here or a hurricane there or an earthquake here-and-there, which I put down to system maintenance. Such an elaborate arrangement of such universal scale needs some downtime sometimes, is it not?

image by ilco, sxc.hu

And to dot the revolution around the huge ball of fire are two occasions that happen so consistently year after year. Sometime between June 20 & 23, and then again between December 20 & 23, the earth tilts one of its polar caps towards the Sun. "And while we were busy getting on with our life, while life continued to happen to us, the earth and the sun performed this very exquisite change of rhythm in their cosmic dance on the Solstice Day" -- was how I wrote about the June Solstice of 2008 in my Quest for Nirvana blog. A yin-and-yang dance between the earth and the sun, "...a divine love affair that has been going on since eternity - but only from a distance - acknowledgment of this love taking place only in this gesture of the imperceptible bow". You really must read this piece if you haven't already - here is the post.

Diagram of the Earth's seasons as seen from the north. Far right: December solstice, wiki_*

* Diagram of the Earth's seasons as seen from the north. Far right: December solstice.

Somehow, in our quest for living in these modern times, we have tended to move away from this subtle cosmic event. Standing on the toes, peering into the distance to catch a glimpse of the approaching bus or train or car or whatever that will take us to wherever, we have tended to lose sight of the "standing still" of the Sun taking place in the sky. Glued to the couch before the TV, getting our regular dose of the favorite soap or getting amused at the politicians tying themselves in knots over resolving this or that crisis, we overlook the slight tilt that the ground beneath the feet is undergoing. Working on the next move that will help score brownie points over that rival, or deciding on how to manage that intimate relationship that seems to be derailing, we dismiss the significance of the rhythm of the event that really doesn't have any direct impact on our material life.

image by magicmarie, sxc.hu

Which is sad. Because, if we look back, we find our forefathers used to attach a lot of importance to the symbolism that the solstices represent. Perhaps that is because they were more in tune with Nature than we are. Given the hardships and the problems that we are facing, isn't it time we began getting back in tune with Nature? And regain our sense of balance and re-capture the sense of comfort of getting up in the morning everyday and see the Sun right where it is supposed to be, the earth right where it has been set to be?

Potbellie in Monte Alto, Escuintla, Guatemala, wiki_*

* Potbellie in Monte Alto, Escuintla, Guatemala. Somebody in 1800 BCE sculpted this altar as part of an elaborate ritual in an astronomically aligned Monte Alto complex in Guatemala. That somebody was part of a culture and society that was in tune with Mother Nature.

Today, 21 December, is the Winter Solstice. Chances are, this momentous event will be overlooked and ignored by the world. And to think that we spend time and money in celebrating events such as the New Year of January the First, which is practically of no significance - somebody in the Medieval Ages randomly thought of creating a calendar which randomly begins with this particular date. And mechanically, like a robot, we have been following that somebody's dictum down the ages. If we build some personal ritual around this day to mark this event, then soon, the business houses will take the cue and create beautiful cards to sell to us and public functions for us to buy in and participate and have fun, so that they can earn money on the Solstice days. And there are two such days every year - year after year! So twice the opportunity to do business, such incentive! For us, us ordinary human beings who simply want peace and solace and food and shelter and money-in-the-bank and good friends and intimate relationships and some happiness and not much else, we can begin appreciating as a mass, the nice and cozy arrangements that have been made to make our stay on the planet Earth so comfortable.

image by shlomaster, sxc.hu

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