Observations at Neskaya+ A Consequence of Spherical Geometry +
OBSERVING SUNSETS AT NESKAYA
CROSS QUARTER DAYS
One thing I’ve noticed is that the sunset moves faster near the equinox – it can be shown mathematically that the length of the day is changing fastest at the time of equinox – and slows down a lot at solstice. In fact , he sun appears to set in the same place for several days (Sun stands still). Interestingly, the shift from changing rapidly to changing more slowly happens right about the time of the cross-quarter days. It’s as though the year turns a corner. The time this is most noticable is around the beginning of February when it suddenly becomes obvious that the days are longer. This has nothing to do with the lunar standstills, it’s a consequence of spherical geometry.
A third seasonal effect is that because of the lag time between day length and the warming or cooling of the earth, the weather belonging to the season comes later than the astronomical beginning. Especially in Northern New England, there is often snow on the ground on the first day of “Spring”. And there’s no point in hoping for green through April’s mud season. Green starts to appear the first week in May. For a gardener, the cross quarter days make much better seasonal markers.
Around the time of the Cross Quarter Days, three things are happening:
- The sun arrives at the moon’s minor standstill
- The lengthening (or shortening) of the days turns a corner
- Seasonal weather and vegetation appear
Below is a summation of the astronomical features and the symbolic meaning of each of the eight holidays. There is also a page for each, giving more complete information.
SAMHAIN: We celebrate endings and death.
SOLSTICE: We celebrate the rebirth of the light when all is darkest.
IMBOLC: We celebrate the time of new ideas and inspiration.
EQUINOX: We celebrate balance and the entry into the light.
BELTANE: We celebrate incarnation and embodiment.
SOLSTICE: We celebrate the peaks of our endeavors and acknowledge their inevitable waning.
LAMMAS: We celebrate the first fruits of the harvest.
EQUINOX: We celebrate balance and the entry into the dark.