Winter Solstice – 2023 Countdown

Yesterday marked the day when ever-longer nights reversed course and became ever-longer days. I celebrated. And, I will continue to celebrate for one hour at sunset every evening until the eve of January 1st when the star of Sirius appears above the horizon in the center of the sky marking the beginning of the solar New Year. There are about sixty minutes between civil sunset when the color of the evening sky turns to darkness and the astro sunset when only the direct light of the stars and the indirect light of the moon and planets fill the night with light. This year the moon will be full on December 26th, the day after Christmas.

Unlike the lunar New Years of the Chinese and Islamic traditions that begin at different times of the year and appear arbitrary beyond the separate historical traditions that define them, the solar New Year is the same for everyone, for it is determined by the position of a star very distant from our own solar system. Although the solar New Year also has a historical tradition, in the physical scheme of our galaxy it is anything, but arbitrary.

If there is a moral to these remarks, then it must be that there are certain truths to our existence that go beyond our separate cultures and unique, but different views of the world. That each preserve the truth of his own culture and person, and that no person or group of persons dictate to all of humanity what only Nature or Nature’s God is worthy.

Be healthy, be safe, and above all, be free. It takes courage, wisdom, and perseverence.

I wish everyone a thoughtful Countdown.

Seattle, 22 December 2023
Roddy A. Stegemann