Summer Solstice on June 20, 2012 7:09 p.m EDT

Anne Stokes

During the year the Sun moves through cycles that we have come to know as the Seasons. The Summer Solstice is the point in this yearly cycle when the Sun is at its fullest point. It is like the point in the cycle of a Full Moon, but it happens with the Sun only once a year, while the Moon becomes full once a month. Think of the Summer Solstice as the Full Sun!

Why pay attention to the changing cycle of the Sun?

We are rhythmic creatures. Our physical bodies have their own rhythms. Our hearts beat like a steady drum, and our breath brings the gentle rising and falling of our chest, which gives the sensation of being rocked by the waves of the ocean. We live in communal rhythms of 9 to 5 jobs, Monday through Friday work weeks, and yearly rituals such as birthdays, anniversaries, and religious celebrations.

We are also part of the natural rhythms created by the Sun. The daily cycle of sunrise and sunset creates circadian rhythms that set our awake and sleep cycles. The Sun also creates the seasonal cycle that begins March 21 at the Spring Equinox, when the growing light stirs new growth (and our moods). Next comes June 21st, the Summer Solstice, when the abundance of heat provides the fullness of growth and when we spend the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. During the Fall Equinox of September 21st  the Sun begins its decline and the days become shorter and colder and the earth produces the abundant harvest that we celebrate at Thanksgiving. And the last phase of the cycle begins on December 21st at Winter Solstice, when the cold and darkness take hold and seeds rest in the ground, and we rest in bed.  And every year the Sun begins its cycle anew when the light of Spring again stirs the seeds to growth. It is the original cycle of death and rebirth that has become part of many of our religions.

Participation in communal rhythms, like birthdays and New Year’s Eve, bring us into the emotional, spiritual, and physical bond of community. Likewise, the participation in the earth’s natural rhythms link us to the cosmos and heavens in a deep and profound manner that goes beyond intellectual understanding.

As a society we are losing touch with nature. A recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that children spend an average of 7 hours in front of entertainment media in a typical day. This is compared to the only 7 minutes the average child spends outside per day. And the night sky, which used to be such a powerful and awe inspiring part of our lives, has now become faded and nearly forgotten due to city lights and pollution.

By remembering to move in rhythm with natural cycles of the Sun and Moon we re-tune ourselves to the harmony of the cosmos.

We need these natural and cosmic rhythms. We need these connections in order for our Body to slow down from the rush of an overactive life. We need these rhythms for our Mind to clear out the buzz of technology and bring back the sound of silence. But most of all, we need them for our Soul and Spirit. We have within ourselves a natural connection to a divine Spirit, and that connection is hard wired into us through our Soul. But the Soul and Spirit are subtle and quiet and are easily overshadowed by the increased noise of our Mind and Body.

One way to remember our Soul and Spirit and provide them the stimulus they need to become central part of our existence, is to remember our connection to the cosmos and our link to the heavens, which we can do through these solar and lunar cycles.

Venus Transit of the Sun June 5/6

Here is some fascinating information about Venus, that beautiful diamond of a planet that Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, China, and ancients America have been watching for millennium in the morning and evening sky. Venus has an amazing sky rhythm that brings her back to the same place in the heavens every 8 years. This pattern was seen by many of the ancient peoples as significant, especially the Maya. This 8 year rhythm synchronized two different, but simultaneous calculations of Venus’ motion around the Sun. Since Venus is closer to the Sun than the Earth, she goes around the Sun 13 times in 8 Earth years. But viewed from the Earth, it appears as if Venus goes around the Sun 5 times in 8 Earth years. These numbers of 5, 8, and 13 relate to the Fibonacci series and the Golden Ratio, a proportion used in Greek temples, leaves of plants, and spirals in shells and galaxies. If you drew out Venus’ pattern it would look like a beautiful five petal flower. Due to this repeating pattern, Venus is in the same place every 8 years, so the position of Venus you see today in 2012 was the same as in 2004.

We are now getting to witness a very rare transit of Venus, its first pairing which occurred 8 years ago in 2004. This rare event occurs about every 124 years and this will be only the eighth occurrence (4th pairing) since the invention of the telescope: 1631/1639; 1761/1769; 1874/1882; 2004/2012 and next time in 2117/2125.

This transit will last about 7 hours total, and will appear as a small dot crossing the surface of the Sun. Be sure you use special solar eclipse glasses to view it, because looking at the sun directly, even for a short while, can cause serious damage to your eyes.  The transit will be seen in its totality (for all 7 hours) in the Pacific Ocean region, including Hawaii.  NASA has a live webcast of the event from Hawaii that can be seen at NASA. The transit will be visible around sunset on June 5 in the US and at sunrise on June 6 in most of Europe, and parts of Africa and Asia. This transit was used to measure the size of the solar system in the past, and this year, scientists will reach even further and will use it to measure the size of the Universe!  For a map of the locations and times to view it, as well as lots of other information go to Transit of Venus.

Humans are meaning-making creatures. We look to the events in our life – big and small- and give meaning to them. Venus has been in the sky every night of 2012 saying: “Look at me!”  She has been doing all she can to get our attention. And now, as she moves from her role as the Evening Star into the Morning Star, she is demanding our attention again. Her last appearance as the Evening Star will be on June 5th, as she sets with the Sun, and her first appearance as the Morning Star will be on June 6th, as she rises with the Sun. She only does this every 124 years, and she is doing it now. Look!! See!!

But see what? What does she want of us? The answer lies in who Venus is and what she represents. Venus is the goddess of relationships. She wants there to be love and connection and sharing of beauty. She thrives on intimacy, on really knowing another. Right now she is expressing the sign of Gemini, which she will be in four times longer than she normally expresses a sign. As just stated, Gemini is about being with people that you see as familiar, as a sister or close friend. Venus in Gemini is about friendship. She is asking us to see ourselves when we look into the eyes of another. She is asking us to see how we are alike one another, rather than how we are different. She is asking us to find ways to relate to each other, and to treat each other like the brothers and sisters that we are. She is saying in her own symbolic way the message of love, unity, and compassion that is at the heart of our many religions. She is saying: “When you look at another, see yourself.”

This image really spoke to me as I pondered Venus transiting the Sun. I see this image as the Goddess Venus, powerful, all-knowing, beautiful, and demanding much. Behind her is radiant orange disc of the Sun, and she is exactly in alignment with it. I think it was Jimi Hendrix who said “When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.” That is what Venus is saying, that is what Venus wants from us.

To Do: This Venus transit is a perfect time to look inside yourself to see the divine within you and to find a way to bring that divinity out into the world in your relationships with others. It is a time to make a choice to live a conscious life, to be the bigger person, to forgive the flaws of others, and to make peace with yourself. Tibetan Buddhism has a meditation practice called Deity Yoga that is very powerful. You can meditate on this image, or any other image, until you melt into her eyes, and then realize that you are in fact, looking at yourself. The violence, ignorance, abuse, and ecological destruction in this world can not be the way that God or the Goddess intended us to live. Venus is asking you not to hold back your love and compassionate action any longer.

Full Moon in Sagittarius

Monday June 4th at 7:12 am. EDT    It is during the time of the Full Moon, when the Sun and Moon are at opposite points in the zodiac, that we have an opportunity to find balance between them. This month the Sun is in Gemini, and the Moon is in the opposite sign of Sagittarius. With a Gemini Sun our Conscious mind seeks what is already familiar, like looking into the eyes of a sister or dear friend. Gemini energy navigates within the perimeters of the known, bound by family and history. There is great curiosity in Gemini, and it will seek out endless ways to learn everything it can within these boundaries.  Like a butterfly going flower to flower, it seeks the sweetness in life that is close to home.

by Eric Williams

With the Moon in Sagittarius our Unconscious mind is inspired by Spirit to quest into the quests of Spirit go beyond what we already know is possible and are open to finding, even seeking, ideas never before considered. Sagittarius is represented by the archer who charges forward and aims high. The Sagittarius experience is not just what lies beyond the next turn in the road, but what lies beyond the next continent. Sagittarius wants to learn about global ideas through travel to new and exotic places, and reading about the philosophy and religion of unknown people. Sagittarius is the explorer, and find the confines of home very limiting.

To do: Find the balance by setting your sight on a far horizon and take aim at something you have thought beyond your reach. Let your imagination embrace that there are possibilities that you never before considered. And do this expansion in your own backyard, neighborhood, and community. This is the  “Think Globally, Act Locally” Full Moon. Take risks, but with your own family and friends.  Share you thoughts on new, even radical ideas you have been pondering. Maybe this is the week to meet a new neighbor, join a community program, go to a yoga class, or check out a new church. Open up to the possibility that your earth walk has purpose and that the people and place you are right now are everything you need.