by Martin Galea De Giovanni
June is the month where the sun begins its retrograde movement as the days start to get shorter again. This happens on the Midsummer’s night (June 21st).
This has always been an important date from the beginning of time. For all living things this signified a point where food was more abundant, warmer weather, and for humans, time for harvest and for collecting honey (hence June’s full moon being called the Honey moon). Were it not for the effects of precession, the first rays of the rising sun would have hit the dark inner chambers of the stone structure marking the beginning of the summer season.
Were it not for the effects of precession, the first rays of the rising sun would have hit the dark inner chambers of the stone structure marking the beginning of the summer season. At this time of the year, although it also starts to get hotter, the Sun is at its farthest distance from the Earth. Due to the Earth’s tilt, the northern hemisphere receives more light during the summer months; and less light during the winter.
The Sun also rises higher in the sky during the summer; and this direct sunlight results in more warming. These two effects cause summer to be warmer than the winter season. In this time where all one had to do was wait until he or she could harvest the crops, it was time to get busy getting married! The importance of this day to humans can be witnessed in (our own) Mnajdra temples,Stonehenge and the stone circles in the American continent. Social patterns tie people to their culture and culture to nature. The increase in daytime (light) stimulates our pineal gland,which governs some of our internal biological cycles.
Similarly this affects animals when it comes to hibernation, mating and migration patterns.
These cycles and intimate interconnections with nature are now generally ignored in our part of the world. As most of you know, in Maltese there is a saying that deals with crabs and their tendency to move backward…. Well,the Sun starts to move in the backward direction when it is in the constellation of Cancer – the Crab.
Oh what a catastrophe, what a maiming of love when it was made a personal, merely personal feeling, taken away from the rising and setting of the sun, and cut off from the magic connection of the solstice and equinox. This is what is the matter with us, we are bleeding at the roots, because we are cut off from the earth and sun and stars, and love is a grinning mockery, because, poor blossom, we plucked it from its stem on the tree of life, and expected it to keep on blooming in our civilized vase on the table. D.H. Lawrence
..To this I must add.. “at a mere click of a light bulb” …
* This post was first published in the Newsletter of the Astronomical Society of Malta – June 2002
Summer Solstice at Mnajdra Temples – 21st June 2002 Photo by Martin Galea De Giovanni