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Sacred Alignments: The Spirituality and Architecture of the Solstice



for thousands of years man has looked at the sky for knowledge understanding and wisdom about who he is but he comes from and where he is going since long before the emergence of today's major religions worship at the cosmos formed a remarkably Universal theme and spiritual practices around the world this guy was a metaphor for ancient peoples as both the symbol of the principles that they felt ordered their lives and the force behind those principles they connected the clues above to their earthly existence regarding the sky as the mirror of our minds own eye a reflection of our consciousness wherever ancient man set foot he built sites to observe and measure cosmic events and performed rituals to celebrate the intrinsic and indivisible linkage between celestial forces and the human experience one of the most important of these events was the Solstice let's begin by reviewing some astronomy to understand what a Solstice is solstices are solar events that occur twice a year in June and December and mark our planets longest in shortest days they result from the tilt of the Earth's axis twenty three point four four degrees and its annual movement around the Sun in the northern hemisphere the summer solstice occurs around June 21st when the North Pole reaches its maximum tilt toward the Sun on this day the Sun climbs to its highest point in the sky shines for the most amount of time and is at its greatest strength that date also approximates the start of summer the Northern Hemisphere's winter solstice occurs around December 21st when the North Pole is angled farthest away from the Sun and receives the least amount of sunlight correspondingly this solstice approximates the start of winter solstices are reversed for the northern and southern hemispheres so that the start of summer in the north coincides with the start of winter in the south and vice-versa to recap the summer solstice is the longest and brightest day of the year and the winter solstice is a shortest in darkest day of the year these events in conjunction with the spring and fall equinoxes delineate the four seasons and mark the passage of time on earth other than kicking off the start of the summer or winter seasons solstices hold little meaning for most of us nowadays but this indifference was not always so common for thousands of years celestial phenomena were observed measured and celebrated with great reverence for ancient peoples the sky was a tool that enabled them to orient themselves in time and space but as a familiarity with the exoteric or literal phenomena of the cosmos developed so too did their knowledge of the esoteric or hidden meanings and eventually astronomy and spirituality became intertwined in the patterns and cycles of the cosmos man recognized parallels on earth the tides seasons and qualities of natural life yet they also began to see the sky as a metaphor for something more the journeys of their own souls the linkages between universal and individual between celestial and infinitesimal between cosmic and earthly and between spiritual and natural is summarized by the ancient concept as above so below indeed the framework of as above so below is key to understanding why ancient peoples worshiped the cosmos this expression is very old dating back at least 2,000 years to the hermetic texts which are believed to be of ancient Egyptian or Greek origin but may in fact be much older put simply the hermetic texts teach the oneness of God in all things they integrate themes of mythology alchemy magic and astrology and share many principles with major religions and philosophies such as Christianity Islam and Judaism as well as with more esoteric belief systems like Gnosticism transcendentalism neo-paganism Zoroastrian ism and the occult basically the concept of as above so below means that the same principles and forces that govern the formation of galaxies stars and planets also rule the smallest bodies of matter right down to the level of an atom furthermore these principles and forces do not just rule the outer physical world they also rule the inner spiritual world along these lines ancient peoples worship the Sun for both its physical and spiritual properties on the one hand the Sun delivers heat and light essential for the existence and nourishment of physical life on earth at the same time it is but a mere physical vehicle of an even more stupendous consciousness which pervades the solar system in layer after layer of unimaginable glory this dual role of the Sun both as a physical and spiritual epicentre likely explains the entities dominant role in ancient spiritual belief systems indeed the Mystics of ages past taught that the Sun is the only representation of God the creator and destroyer of all life and the source of all human energy as such celestial movements like the Earth's rotation about the Sun along with the solstices and equinoxes that form major waypoints along that cycle symbolize on a galactic scale each of our spiritual journeys of birth life death and rebirth while ancient peoples worshiped many celestial phenomena they assigned special importance to the solstices and equinoxes the word Equinox means equal light whereas solstice means Sun standstill in autumn the equinox denotes a time to harvest crops and prepare for winter metaphorically it symbolizes a moment of balance of growing darkness the souls descent from spiritual truth and death as the shortest and darkest day of the year the winter solstice has traditionally been a time to celebrate creation and birth the next major spoke along the Great Wheel of the year is the spring equinox another moment of Palance when day and night are equal but darkness is giving way to light as such the spring equinox is linked to the spiritual concepts of change resurrection and ascension finally as the longest and brightest day of the year the summer solstice symbolizes enlightenment Awakening and a return to the light of source following the summer solstice darkness begins to grow once more and the journey starts anew the earth begins another rotation about the Sun and consciousness descends once again from the light of spiritual wakefulness to the darkness of physical being in keeping with the concept of as above so below ancient peoples built earthly monuments to study and worship the sky these included temples shrines observatories and sundials remnants of which are found all over the world today the Solstice appears to have been a primary focus of sites like the Great Pyramids stonehenge chichen itza the serpent mound great zimbabwe Angkor Wat the stone statues of easter island Mayan pyramids in ox mall in Tikal the Ajanta caves in India and many many other locations too that will pay particular attention to in this video or Machu Picchu in Chaco Canyon Machu Picchu is a ceremonial center located in the Andean cloud forests of Peru 46 miles northwest of Cusco it was famously discovered in 1911 by Hyrum Bingham who believed incorrectly that this was the last refuge of the Incas from the Spanish conquest today most archaeologists believe the site was built in the 1400s as a royal estate for Pecha Kucha the ninth Inca king whose name means he who overturned space and time the site lies atop a ridge between two mountain peaks named Machu Picchu or old mountain and huayna Picchu or young mountain high above the Obama River it exhibits remarkably sophisticated methods of engineering and masonry along with extensive irrigation systems terraces double jamb doorways niches sacred walkways and ooze news or sacred platforms of all Inca archaeological sites machu picchu also contains possibly the greatest concentration of Waka's or sacred shrines and geo cosmic alignments multiple buildings and walkways are oriented with solstices equinoxes and zenith as well as with local land features such as mountains some of the most notable examples is a temple of the Sun Praetorian a circular walled structure that contains a trapezoidal window and horizontal stone slab at dawn on the winter solstice light from the Rising Sun aligns with the edge of the stone slab as well as with a distant Mountain another example of machu picchu so lineman's is a cave system known as intimate Jay which appears to mark the summer solstice in both equinoxes a stone pillar known as the NT Wattana seems to align with the zenith a moment when the Sun is directly overhead and casts no shadow the temple of the Condor aligns with the anti Zenith sunrise even the ridge upon which Machu Picchu sits has a North of South alignment and these are only a few examples the results of field studies and research continually suggest the possibility of additional alignments while most conventional archeologists attribute machu picchu to the Incas alternative archeologists and historians continue to ask thought-provoking questions about the site's age purpose and method of construction Chaco Canyon is a collection of archaeological sites in the desert of northwestern New Mexico a canyon includes the ruins of shelters large circular houses or Kiva's and paved roads that may have been built by the ancient Pueblo people the canyon is believed have first been settled around 6,000 BC but the buildings whose ruins line the canyon today are alleged to have been constructed between 800 and 1000 AD archaeological evidence suggests the site may have served as a ceremonial center or trade post some of the artifacts found there include wooden staffs and wands jewelry beautiful bows and jars carved human figures seashells feathers and bones many of which appear to have come from hundreds of miles away even the quarter million wooden poles used to reinforce the stone buildings were likely harvested in distant lands Chaco Canyon also contains geo cosmic markers and alignments along with associated rock art one famous example is a spiral that was carved into the rock above the buildings on the summer solstice the spiral is pierced by a dagger of sunlight and on the winter solstice it is bracketed by two daggers during equinoxes a shaft of sunlight aligns with the center of a smaller spiral down below the spiral among the collection of great Kiva's lies Casa rinconada this circular structure contains a single window on its eastern wall through which the Sun shines at dawn on the summer solstice to illuminate a trapezoidal niche on the far western wall at another great house a rock art depicts a star crescent moon and handprint some choco and experts believe these are records of past cosmic events perhaps a supernova that would have been visible from Earth in 1054 the Sun Dagger Casa Rinconada and rock art are the most famous examples of Sun worship at Chaco Canyon but others may have existed much of the ruins and artifacts have been forever lost to the forces of time major and looters while others might be waiting to be found by future archaeologists in any case much of Chaco Canyon history is not known today worship of the Sun and stars appears to have been a central theme of ancient spirituality examples of these practices are implied in the architecture artwork and mythology left by people thousands or even tens of thousands of years ago and all over the world despite being separated by time and distance many of the approaches used are amazingly similar numerous sites incorporate alignments with solstices or equinoxes rock art displays spirals crosses and circles features which seem to reflect understanding of universal and ageless principles and the births deaths and rebirths of mythological deities are celebrated on the dates of these cosmic events perhaps a wisdom of as above so below is older than we think originating long before the Greeks or Egyptians embedded them into the hermetic texts maybe the idea that all is connected and that the same principles and forces apply to all creation large and small physical and spiritual was recognized and understood long before our modern religions or study of science these questions like so many others about ancient sites like Machu Picchu and Chaco Canyon remain open and unanswered perhaps this is their purpose to cause us to think to search and to understand in any case they remain intriguing mysteries for future generations of archaeologists historians pathologists and truth seekers you

Jean Kelley

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1 COMMENTS

  1. Shermanator Osborn Posted on June 21, 2019 at 7:07 am

    it's Inti Raymi time

    Reply
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