American Culture

Sun moon Earth stars align: Solstice 2010

1638 was a busy year. The Scottish National Covenant was signed in Edinburgh (and a dram or two of malt was presumably tilted in celebration). John Harvard died. Anne Hutchinson was banished from Massachusetts Bay Colony for heresy. And on December 21, there was a full lunar eclipse on Solstice, an extremely rare cosmic event that had not happened again until early this morning.

I watched the show unfold here in Uptown, over in Benedict Fountain Park along 20th. I bumped into my neighbor, Detlef, and his retriever, Chance. This is a dog who will play fetch until he drops. Or you do. So I threw the stick, over and over and over again, while talking and waiting for the shadow to finally and fully swallow the moon. Partiers spilled out of the Horseshoe Lounge and into the streets, where they talked, laughed and stood taking pictures of each other, oblivious to the traffic bearing down and swerving around them.

I don’t set much stock in omens. I’m not a superstitious type and for me religion is a symbolic, humanistic, Jungian psychic spiritual thing, not a literal one. But … let’s all admit that 2010 has been a tough one. In the past three months or so I noted that this was the worst year ever and followed up with some thoughts on the Great Depression of 2010. My astrology-expert spiritualist friends tell me that everything has been in retrograde. I don’t know what that means, but it’s apparently bad – bad for everyone, and that is not inconsistent with the facts of the year. These friends also tell me this celestial phase is ending soon and that the oppressive weight so many of us have endured will be lifting.

May it be so.

Winter Solstice (also known as Yule) marks the shortest day of the year and the rebirth of the sun. The days will be longer and we will, in due course, emerge from the cold and dark of the winter into the vibrant, fertile light of spring. Here’s hoping that the literal fact of the seasonal cycle will be mirrored by a figurative rebirth of the light, as well.

As would-be omens go, this morning’s eclipse was as welcome and beautiful as it was rare. I walked past the Horseshoe on the way back to my apartment. The jukebox was playing Duran Duran’s “New Moon on Monday.” How appropriate.

Happy Solstice, everyone.

________

Photo credit: Ken Denmead, aka Geek Dad, at WiReD. Click on the photo above to see the whole set.

6 replies »

  1. Beautiful shot. Thanks for sharing, Sam. We had clouds here. The one glimpse of the moon I got was early, when it was still bright white and full and high overhead.

  2. I stayed up and watched the earth take bites out of the moon through a cloudy haze that totally destroyed my ability to take a good picture, stable mount or not. Still, it was very cool and well worth today’s sleep deprivation.

    Happy Solstice, all!

  3. Fantastic piece of Gonzo journalism. Also, the picture is magnificent. May your Keep The Dark At Bay party be all that you want, and good luck with 2011. People who know think this is the last year. Live it up.

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