Friday, January 30, 2009

The turning tide

As I write the Words of Wisdom each morning, I look at and record the time of the sunrise. As a student of astronomy (my first college major was a double in astronomy/math with minors in physics and engineering) I have long been aware of changes in the time of sunrise through the year, and as someone who has long been "driven by" (for lack of better words this time of the morning) the natural cycles/calendar, I am also very aware that not only does the time of the rising and setting of the sun change, but the rate at which it changes, changes. Got that??

In other words, there is a time in the spring where it seems that the sun is racing to get up earlier and earlier each day and set later and later -- and in the fall the opposite happens. I usually notice when my hunger/time to make supper clock gets confused....I find myself madly hungry and wonder why.

Near the Winter Solstice just passed, the time that the sun rose would change by a minute every OTHER day or even less ... Sunrise was getting later -- and just past Solstice, getting earlier -- by only 30 seconds, more or less, each day. then it began to rise a minute earlier each day. Between yesterday morning and today, it rose 2 minutes earlier. Soon -- as we get close to Equinox, it will pick up speed and the rate of change will increase. The farther you are north of the equator, the more dramatic the rate change.

It is interesting to note these changes in conjunction with the traditional earth-based beliefs holidays, tides and seasons. That the tide of Imbolc / Disablót -- the beginning of the turn toward spring -- coincides with the beginnings of the increase in the rate of change of sunrise times -- does not seem coincidental.

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