image: Wikimedia commons (link).
We have reached another June solstice, which is of course the summer solstice for the northern hemisphere of our planet.
Above is a summer solstice photograph (from 2005) of the pre-dawn sky at Stonehenge, looking towards the east, where the sun will soon rise.
As the indefatigable Gordon Freeman argues in his essential book, Hidden Stonehenge (2012), the sun would rise on this day through a "window" formed by the Great Trilithon of which the one remaining intact pillar is the tallest stone you see in the photograph above (somewhat to the left of center, looking like a tall rectangle with a small cone on top). That stone, the highest one in the photograph above, is Sarsen Stone 56, which once held up the Great Trilithon (along with its twin, Sarsen Stone 55, and their lintel stone across the top, designated Sarsen 156).
If you follow this link to the website of Gordon Freeman's publisher, you will see a photograph in which Gordon has drawn in the other two stones of the Great Trilithon, showing the "window" that is formed above the outer Circle lintels (a line of which can still be seen against the background of sky, to the right of Sarsen Stone 56 in the above photograph).
That photograph is found on page 102 of Hidden Stonehenge. As Professor Freeman explains, from the observing point to the southwest of the Great Trilithon (about 300 meters to the southwest), an observing point indicated by a barrow which he calls "Oval Twin Disk Barrow 10," the sun would rise through that window of the Great Trilithon on the morning of the June Solstice, thousands of years ago.
"The rise point would have been just above the Circle lintels in the gap of the Great Trilithon," he writes (101).
Gordon Freeman appears to have been the first to have discovered this alignment in the modern era. Based on his analysis of the alignment from the Oval Twin Disk Barrow, he writes:
The Sun rise would have remained in this window for at least nine days bracketing the Summer Solstice. That was enough time for at least one thrilling appearance of the first flash in the Trilithon window, even if the weather were as bad as now. The Solstice might have been celebrated during the entire stand-still period of five, possibly seven days.
The Trilithon window above the Sarsen Circle made a spectacular display of the Summer Solstice Sun rise. I had expected to find an accurate Summer Solstice rise line, but the art and engineering that shaped and erected rocks that weighed up to 60 tonnes each, to put a magnificent, massive slit-window 5 meters in the air to frame the Sun rise, was amazing. 103.
That the ancient cultures of the world created structures incorporating incredible alignments to frame the rising of the sun, moon, planets and stars on specific days of the year is beyond any argument.
Why they did so, however, is not beyond argument. Not at all.
Based on my exploration of the world's myths to this point, and the undeniable evidence that they too are built upon a celestial foundation (a fact which, along with all the physical, archaeological evidence we find on our earth, demonstrates beyond doubt that the conventional paradigm of ancient history is fundamentally flawed and in need of radical revision), I am convinced that the heavenly cycles (including the annual cycle delineated by the solstices and equinoxes and the movement of the sun through the signs of the zodiac) is used in the ancient system to convey wisdom we need in this life we are living right now, even in this very present moment.
In an important passage which I have cited in numerous previous posts, including this one and this one, the indispensable Alvin Boyd Kuhn argues that the great cycle of the year, beginning at the point of summer solstice, was used as an analogue for the descent of our own animating soul or divine spark, down out of the realm of spirit (the realm of pure potential) into incarnation (symbolically associated with the fall equinox) and down into matter, reaching its lowest point at the winter solstice, which represents the lowest point of the cycle and thus corresponds to the "second" or "spiritual" birth, when we begin to perceive that we are more than our physical body and physical appetites.
While I do not disagree with Kuhn's interpretation (far from it), I now would argue that the entire cycle can also be understood to have to do with the related subject of our separation from and suppression of our own essential or authentic self, from whom we become alienated due to trauma. The ancient myths can be seen to have as one of their most central subjects the healing of trauma and the recovery of our own self.
Thus, the entire cycle expounded by Kuhn in the extended quotation cited in those previous posts (such as this one) can be re-read as describing, not only our spirit's journey down into physical incarnation, but also our "burial" of the essential self, deep down out of sight -- and the promise of the recovery of our essence which is contained within the world's myths, from virtually every culture on our earth.
This hopeful subject is the focus of my most-recent book, Myth and Trauma.
Below are some links to previous posts written on the occasion of the June solstice years past. Before reading them, however, there is yet one more intriguing and related subject to consider at this momentous point in our annual cycle, and that is the subject of the celestial mechanics which give rise to the solstices and equinoxes and seasons of the year in the first place.
I have always explained these phenomena from the perspective of the conventional and commonly-accepted Copernican paradigm. However, thanks to the persistence of a friend of my work from Western Australia, who introduced me to the Tychos model of Simon "Shack" (who like myself also has Norwegian ancestry), I must point out that the observations we perceive from our earth could be explained by other models, and that in fact the conventional model has tremendous difficulty with a number of observed phenomena, including the observation of "negative parallax," the apparent acceleration in the rate of the precession of the equinoxes over the ages, the so-called "anomalous precession of Mercury's perihelion," and especially the observed behavior of the planet Mars (among many other datasets which cause difficulty for the conventional theory).
Simon Shack has proposed a completely different model which would also explain all the observations we see in the heavens, including the solstices and equinoxes and the phenomena of precession, and it involves the sun moving in a binary relationship with another heavenly body -- a proposition which other researchers including my friend Walter Cruttenden have also argued, although Simon proposes a fairly radical candidate for the sun's binary companion: the planet Mars.
You can see more about Simon's proposed model here, and can also order his book on the subject through that same site. You can also watch an animation of his model online here (click the box next to the word "run" in the control panel on the right side of the screen to see the animation of his proposed orbits).
I always try to keep an open mind about different models which might explain the evidence we see in any situation -- much like Scooby Doo and Shaggy when approaching a mystery. Personally, I am not wedded to any specific model of the solar system and am willing to listen to arguments from those who believe that some evidence we observe does not seem to fit the conventional paradigm, and could be better explained by a different model.
What model we adopt does not actually make any difference for what we see in the myths, which are my primary focus. The myths clearly use the heavenly cycles to convey esoteric truths for our benefit and blessing in this life. The mechanics that create those cycles can be debated. If the conventional (that is, Copernican) model we have been using to try to explain those heavenly cycles needs revision (or if it doesn't), that does not change the fact that the ancient myths, scriptures and sacred stories are clearly using those heavenly cycles.
Indeed, the ancient cultures of our earth appear to have had an incredibly sophisticated understanding of the heavenly cycles. Not only did they understand the subtle and difficult-to-perceive motion of the precession of the equinoxes, thousands of years before conventional history admits that anyone understood precession, but they also created calendar systems which in many ways can be shown to reflect a profound understanding of the heavenly cycles.
As Simon Shack points out in one posting, the fact that the ancient Egyptians made the heliacal rising of the star Sirius a central milestone for one of their three important calendar systems may have been due to the fact that the heliacal rising of Sirius remains much more stable throughout the years than the heliacal rise of other stars -- an observation which is difficult to explain within the conventional paradigm but which may argue for one of the binary-star paradigms proposed by Walter or Simon. Simon's theory argues that Sirius may have a more stable heliacal rise date throughout the years because its "proper motion" parallels the path he proposes for our earth within the binary system he describes (a binary system, interestingly enough, which he sees as similar in many ways to the Sirius system itself).
These are all important subjects to ponder this year, as we arrive at the significant moment of June solstice.
Previous posts on this important annual milestone, for those interested, include:
image: Wikimedia commons (link).
p.s.: Note that in his book, Gordon Freeman also demonstrates that Stonehenge with its alignments functions as a sophisticated lunar calendar as well (the incredible multi-layered design of this monument, executed in massive stonework, is simply amazing to consider).