Tuesday, December 29, 2009

First mandala

I began this mandala on the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year. I have spent many winter nights gazing at the sky, following the movement of the constellations, the phases of the moon, and rarely, a wonderful comet.
Moon phases are fascinating. While the winter solstice is an annual event determined by the earth's rotation around the sun, the phases of the moon occurr on an almost monthly basis determined by the moons rotation about the earth. The two motions combine to describe a complex whirling motion through space. A lovely dance of asymmetry. And on occasion, the full moon coincides with the solstice.I always feel that to be a special, wonderous night.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter Solstice

Tonight is the longest night of the year. The earth's axis is at its maximum tilt away from the sun. It has happened every year for eons. Ancient civilizations have marked this occasion for millenia, using observatories such as Stonehenge and New Grange. It is perhaps the most important date in the history of mankind, since it represents the point at which the light returns and days get longer. A very powerful sign of hope as the world seemed to plunge endlessly into cold and darkness.