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The moments when we are neutral – at the perfect balance point where we are not going anywhere, but are just HERE – are rare.
And so is our Earth, the huge home that gives us cover.
Earth is tilted to one side.
Earth’s 365 days-long journey around the Sun make it tilt again, in another way, as its rout around the Sun is elliptic and not circular. On its path around the Sun Earth is half of the year on its journey to one extreme of the ellipse – and the other half on its way to the second extreme, a bit like a grand pendulum, especially if you look at it two-dimensionally.
But on its journey, for rare seconds, Earth becomes neutral, just before it will drift again to the opposite extreme, in its never-ending elliptic rout around the sun. This is the time when the “pendulum” or “the swing” is in the middle, lowest, point.
For Earth the perfect point of balance occurs twice a year – on the Equinoxes of March 20 and September 23. This is the time when Earth would be at the exact middle between the two ellipse’s poles, and from Earth it would seem at these days that the Sun appears exactly above the Equator.
Although it seems to us that the Sun always rises at the East and sets in the West, the more observant would see that the sun has a “journey” of its own in the skies. This is of course not the Sun’s journey, but how Earth’s rotation around the Sun makes the Sun look from here.
During that journey for half a year, from March 21th to September 22nd, the sun “travels” a bit to the North, and that makes the North hemisphere have more day-light and enables it to get hotter. From September 23rd to March 20st the Sun would seem as if it travels more and more to the South every day, allowing the southern hemisphere to have its share of spring and summer.
The earth’s “swing” from summer to winter isfrom light to dark, from the rule of the logical, masculine, golden Sun to the rule of the feminine, intuitive, silvery Moon.
The never-ending drift between two polarities will always make an un-satisfied movement between two points, but the meeting point of the two creates a third place, which lies in no polarity and can hold the contradiction. This is the place of communication between worlds and the point from which we can see, feel and for a second be in touch with the whole that includes the two polarities. But then we are not under the control of the dualic reality anymore, as we advance to the third, triangular, reality. This reality enables to see things at they are, while being balanced, holding the two contradictions as two facets of a broader, higher reality.
The ancient Celts believed this special and rare time between extremes, between polarities, the rare point of neutrality – to be a very special time which is actually a gate-way between two worlds, and a place for the two worlds to meet: the tangible and the metaphysical, the earthly and spiritual.
They gave major importance to doorpost as representing a passage from one place to another; they gave importance to twilight and dawn and above all – to the Equinoxes.
The ancient natural cultures of Europe, as well as other ancients natural cultures world-wide talked about 4 gate-ways during the year that occur due to Earth’s rotation around the Sun.
The 4 turning-points of Earth’s journey around the Sun (the Equinoxes and Soltices) mark the beginning of each of the 4 seasons, and for the ancient Celts these were 4 sacred dates when the Druids – their priests – held special ceremonies.
The Druids worked with the powers of nature. For them the summer solstice marked the point where the golden-masculine influence of the male was at its peak, the winter solstice celebrated the silver-feminine power and the two equinoxes were the gateways between worlds.
In order to precise the timings of these special natural occurrences the Druids created a natural year-long calendar, from which one could track the movement of the sun in the skies.
Stonehenge was built in a way that by standing in the middle of its stone-circle one could see the exact point of dawning . The place of the sun rising according to the huge stones will slowly shift north-east and then south-east during the year.
The megalithic shrine that was built 5000 or 6000 years before our time in what is today south England was facing the perfect east for its building time, with an altar marking the place the sun will rise twice a year, in each equinox. There were also marks for where the sun should rise and set during the winter and summer solstices.
In this drawing from the 18th century one can see how Stonehenge worked as a sun-clock, with the sun rising at the middle gate during the Equinoxes and reaching the other two gates, to the left and to the right from the main one, during the winter and summer solstices.
The Celts had the natural wisdom in them to be aware of nature and the gateways it offers for human kind, but later on as time advanced the true understanding of these gateways were lost. Never the less some of our modern holidays are celebrated till this day on these special times without even knowing their special meaning: Easter and Passover around the spring Equinox (in the north); Christmas and Hanukkah on the winter solstice, and more.
Stonehenge, although remarkable, was not the only Neolithic “clock” as ancient circles of stone are known in other places in Europe as well as in Africa, Turkey, Israel and the Middle East.