Thursday, February 10, 2011

Celebrating Perihelion, Aphelion and the Mesohelia

The ancients believed that the Sun moved across the sky on a daily basis, and later, after Ptolemy, and Aristotle adopting Ptolemy, that the sky rotated around the Earth in a series of perfect concentric spheres, and Copernicus first correctly inferred that the Earth orbits around the Sun but retained the incorrect notion that that orbit was circular, while Kepler (somewhat reluctantly) inferred from observational data that the orbits of the planets (in particular and first, Mars) are ellipses, each planet with its own yearly closest approach to the Sun, or perihelion, and farthest departure from the Sun, or aphelion.

Why therefore do we not celebrate the perihelia and aphelia of Earth, and the halfway points in between, or mesohelia, as we do the solar solstices and equinoces?

Four more holidays!

Perihelion occurs in early January, about two weeks after the Northern Hemispheric Winter/Southern Hemispheric Summer solstice; aphelion in early July; and of course the two mesohelia occur halfway in between:

And if Solar-Earthly relationships have any influence in Earthly affairs, as astrology maintains, then shouldn't Perihelion, Aphelion and the Mesohelia, as well as Earth's approaches or recessions therefrom, likewise? (heh.)

Let's bring all this folklore stuff up to date!

Keywords: aphelion, astrology, astronomy, equinox, folklore, pagan, perihelion, solstice, wicca, holiday


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