Full Moon this Winter Solstice 2010

7 12 2010

The exact time for the Winter Solstice is December 21st, 11.39pm (UK time). The sunset on the 21st is at 3.53pm and the sunrise on the 22nd of December at 8.04am. Exceptionally, we can also expect a full moon on December 21st

Since 1793, when The Old Farmer’s Almanac began tracking heavenly events and seasonal changes, the Moon has been full on the first day of winter just nine times. The next occurrence will be in this coming Winter Solstice


Full moon at Stonehenge this Winter Solstice

Full moon at Stonehenge this Winter Solstice


The rarity of a solstitial full Moon—the average interval is about 19 years—reinforces the Moon’s role as a beacon playing on human history. Although our research could not find a correlation between these lunar events and significant historical happenings on similar dates in the past*, the combination of astronomical forces certainly affect the tides.

As astronomer Bob Berman explains, during this time of proxigean tides [unusually high tides due to the Moon’s phase and proximity to Earth], coastal flooding could occur if there is one more little extra effect, such as a storm at sea, on-shore winds, or low barometric pressure.

If the solstice night is calm and cloudless, with the full Moon beaming down on a blanket of snow, it will be irresistibly attractive, and electrical illumination—even your car’s headlights—may seem superfluous.

Full moon - Winter Solstice

Full moon - Winter Solstice

Spring equinox – Mar 20 at 5.35pm
Summer solstice – Jun 21
at 11.30am
Autumn equinox – Sep 23
at 3.10am
Winter solstice – Dec 21

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website

All aboard the ‘Stonehenge Express’

7 12 2010

Two crucial aspects of the Stonehenge proposals have yet to be clarified…

 1. The transit system.

Will it be like one of the two examples shown here ? Not one like the Eden Project, please! That one is called “Percy”. Very tasteful! So more like the Dover Castle one? It may be, if this video is a true representation. But the video one pulls four carriages, not two. Is the vehicle up to it? And what about the livery? Can we be solemnly promised it will never ever carry advertising? And what’s wrong with buses? And what about talk in The Times letters column of Lord Lansdowne saying Stonehenge would be turned into a toytown with visitors approaching in dinky electric vehicles? Isn’t anything that prompts thoughts of Noddyland (which it’s hard not to think of when watching the video) to be absolutely avoided at our national icon? 


 2. The fences 

Will the fences be removed? Surely it has been decided upon? After all, if the detailed design of the new Visitor Centre and the colour of the transit system coaches have been decided then surely it is inconceivable that the matter of access to the stones (in other words the fences) hasn’t been been decided as well? English Heritage as good as says it has : “The need to care for Stonehenge properly has been recognised for many years. Improvement to its landscape setting and presentation to visitors are identified as priorities in the WHS Management Plan ……… The proposals to address this need have been agreed by a group of key stakeholders led by English Heritage

So what HAS been decided about the fences? The reason the question needs to be asked is because the video appears to show that there will be no fences – and although that would be very nice we have concerns that behind the scenes a different view might have been taken. The practicalities suggest that having no fences at all would prove impossible. Security is one problem. And erosion is another. But the video seems to suggests that nearly a million people a year will be free to walk amongst the stones, not held back by fences, ropes or rules. It seems unlikely.

A lot of people hold the “no fences and free access to the stones” concept very dear. If it is not going to happen then it would be better if people were told, not given a contrary impression by a video. Indeed, the public has the right to know does it not? Open access to the stones may or may not be impractical but open access to information about this matter certainly isn’t!

Exteran Links: http://heritageaction.wordpress.com/

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website

Solstice and “The Ancestor”

7 12 2010

A Winter Solstice celebration is to be held at which  The Ancestor will be receiving his new winter crown and decorations for the festive period….  Could it be the start of something significant?

Few would disagree that when he was set up at Stonehenge for the summer solstice The Ancestor was a marvelously apt symbol, a powerful expression of everyone’s feelings towards sunrise, particularly at the solstices. But clearly he can’t be shipped to Stonehenge twice a year so is there not an opportunity here? 

Everyone knows that vast gatherings at Stonehenge, particularly at summer solstices, pose major logistical, conservation and financial problems for English Heritage, ones that they will be finding increasingly difficult to cope with in the face of the cuts. The pagan community are acutely aware of this and also that the difficulties aren’t caused by them but by others attracted to the event without adequate appreciation of the need to respect the monument.

 So here’s a possible solution:

Suppose the main summer solstice celebration centred not on Stonehenge but elsewhere, around The Ancestor? Could this not take much of the pressure off Stonehenge and perhaps allow a smaller-scale, more seemly gathering at the stones, to the advantage of both pagans and the authorities?

Not that the alternative celebration need be any less valid. As well as The Ancestor there might be the opportunity to erect heel stones at the venue so more people could see the symbolism of the sunrise more accurately – after all, modern pagans are Neo Pagans are they not? Why shouldn’t they (and all of us) have a way to celebrate modern sunrises properly, not long-gone ones inaccurately? 

Who would pay? Well, presumably no-one would mind paying a pound or two at the gate since it wouldn’t be at Stonehenge and would be easily approached without a long cold hike. And the start-up costs? How about asking English Heritage if they’d mind paying that out of the savings they’d make out of not having to run the event at Stonehenge!? Seems like it would be a very good deal for them, the taxpayer, Stonehenge and all pagans.

So there’s the suggestion. Discuss! Could the Solstice be better celebrated by everyone? And could The Ancestor be made into the permanent and universally admired face of modern paganism?

External link: http://heritageaction.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/solstice-and-the-ancestor/

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website

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