I did a student observation of the sky for my uni work, focusing on Summer Solstice at Glastonbury Tor. I saw the sunset on the 21st and sunrise on the 22nd. Here is what I discovered through my research, and some of my photos.
Summer solstice is on Thursday, 21 June 2018, 11:07 in Glastonbury.
In terms of daylight, this day is 8 hours, 41 minutes longer than on December (Winter) Solstice. Earliest sunrise is on 17 June. Latest sunset is on 25 June.
Solstices in Culture
Over the centuries, the June solstice has inspired countless festivals, midsummer celebrations and religious holidays.
One of the world's oldest evidence of the summer solstice's importance in culture is Stonehenge in England, a megalithic structure which clearly marks the moment of the June solstice.
In the Southern Hemisphere, where the June solstice is known as the shortest day of the year, it marks the first day of astronomical winter, but the middle of winter in meteorological terms.
Celebrations all day in Glastonbury – dawn at the Tor, midday at the Chalice Well Gardens, and sunset at the Tor
Daylength 21st: 16:34:20 – 0.02 seconds longer than the 20th
Daylength 22nd: 16:34:17 – 0.03 seconds shorter than 21st = longest day!
“Solstice” (Latin: “solstitium”) means sun-stopping. The point on the horizon where the sun appears to rise and set, stops and reverses direction after this day. On the solstice, the sun does not rise precisely in the east, but rises to the north of east and sets to the north of west, meaning it's visible in the sky for a longer period of time.
Time after sunset & before sunrise is ‘Civil Twilight’
21st: 04:08 to 04:55 and 21:29 to 22:16
As the Earth's atmosphere scatters and reflects much of the Sun's rays, coloring the sky bright yellow and orange, artificial lighting is generally not required in clear weather conditions to carry out most outdoor activities. Only the brightest stars and planets, like Venus and Jupiter, can be seen with the naked eye.
In clear weather conditions, the horizon is faintly visible during this twilight phase. Many of the brighter stars can also be seen, making it possible to use the position of the stars in relation to the horizon to navigate at sea. This is why it is called nautical twilight.
Nautical twilight 21st: after civil twilight 22.16 to 23:28
Nautical twilight 22nd: before civil twilight 02:56 to 4.08
To the naked eye, and especially in areas with light pollution, it may be difficult to distinguish astronomical twilight from night time. Most stars and other celestial objects can be seen during this phase.
However, astronomers may be unable to observe some of the fainter stars and galaxies as long as the Sun is less than 18 degrees below the horizon – hence the name of this twilight phase.
Astronomical twilight 21st-22nd: 23:29 to 02:56
Today does not get darker than astronomical twilight (after which is night)
Twilight Around the Poles
At high latitudes and around the summer solstice, the Sun does not move lower than 18° below the horizon, so twilight can last from sunset to sunrise. The area experiencing all-night astronomical twilight around the summer solstice lies between about 48°33′ and 54°33′ North and South. In the northern hemisphere, this roughly correlates with the area between locations just south of the US-Canadian border and Canadian cities like Edmonton, Alberta. In Europe, it covers much of Germany – and the UK apparently!
The sun sits still for three days from today.
A time for stillness, reflection, and silence.
The Starlings say it best.
Blessings on this winter Solstice...
On the 7th October a whole community of people from Glastonbury and beyond
got together to celebrate the successes of Frack Free Movements,
and to raise money to support them in solidarity.
3 bands: Bex (formly of Ten Ton Tongue), an incredible guitarist that had all the children up dancing; Invisible Gem, a folk trio with an epic violinist; and Seize the Day, who formed during the '90s road protests and are still going strong, singing about all things real!
This little video will show how much Seize the Day rocked the night away... to an incredible crowd with an electric energy...
''I will never rest, until all oppression is ended...''
Our Friends of the Earth group were wonderful. selling Frack Off pants, vegan Frack-Jacks, cards that open with a 'BANG' to show how the Earth reacts to fracking, and t-shirts designed by our very own Carla, who began the Glastonbury Friends of the Earth group back in February.
We had a representative from Frack Free Somerset there, and reps from the Avalon Community Energy group, a local energy co-op. We ran a very successful raffle, and had a speaker who had come from Preston New Road, the anti-fracking protector site, to deliver a very special message. Our charismatic compere, Ronny, got the crowd going with his Australian personality: he was part of the frack free Lock-The-Gate movement at Bentley, which the movie The Bentley Effect was created about.
In total we raised a whopping £1285.82 for the protectors at Preston New Road anti-fracking site in Lancashire. And through the raffle and sales we raised £337 for the Glastonbury Friends of the Earth group, to allow us to continue raising awareness of the dangers of fracking and what we can do about it.
The main thing when it comes to fighting the fracking industry
is to remember what we are fighting FOR...
our safe water, our clean air, our health, our environment
and our COMMUNITY.
The fundraiser reminded me how much of a wonderful community we have in Glastonbury,
the energy of change was truly upon us on Saturday night: long may that continue.
Thank you for standing up and dancing with us!
I created a video about nature and humanity seen in
the architecture and art of Wells Cathedral.
I work in a very beautiful place, please enjoy these images.
Bastille Day is a national holiday in France, celebrating this day in 1789.
The day that the population rose up, beginning the French Revolution,
overthrowing corrupt King Louis XVII and his wife Marie Antoinette,
and storming the Bastille Prison to free it's prisoners...
Vive Le France!!
Here is a video I created about one of my favourite countries on Earth, and all it's beauty...
Happy Bastille Day!
I have the best of blessings that my parents live in a beautiful part of the world, Brittany in France. Here are some of the reasons we love it so much...
I had such a fantastic day yesterday at the Seedy Sunday Seed Swap in Glastonbury. I was part of the organisation of the event, mostly doing the social media, and volunteered all day .
It was a great success and everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy it and it's plant-y mayhem!
We had many stalls, selling eco-friendly products, crafts and plants. Promotions tables included Friends of the Earth, Wildlife Trust Somerset and composting champions. We had foraged soup and plenty of homemade cakes to keep us going.
We heard talks from Carol Stone about How to Save your Seeds, Charles Dowding on No-Dig Gardening, and Steph Hafferty on Potions from the Garden. And a movie showing by Paul Stamets on how mushrooms will save the planet!
Outside we had mushroom log inoculation, willow basket weaving and fence making, activities with the Forest School, and a musical bike (the speaker powered by peddle!) There were also onion bhajis being cooked by biochar.
And of course, the Seed Swap itself, which was very successful. I myself got some seeds, so now its time to get planting!
Enjoy the photos...
I went to a fantastic talk at the Avalon Rooms in Glastonbury, by archaeologist Peter Knight.
He has written many books including work on West Kennet Long Barrow near Avebury,
and on Symbolism taken from paganism by Christianity.
But tonight he gave a talk to promote his book Dartmoor Mindscapes, talking about
Dartmoor, Southern England's last wilderness.
Peter has explored Dartmoor on foot in many weathers, saying that he can walk the same route many times, but every time is unique, every time there is something new. And he has found many new, previously undocumented features.
One thing he noticed is that many of the ancient stone circles and rows point to one of the many Dartmoor tors. There are alignments all over the place! And he noticed that the ancient sites were usually placed in the exact spot where the most tors could be seen. 50 metres away one or other of the tors may drop out of sight behind a rolling hill.
Visiting these various tors, Peter noticed and photographed many intriguing rock features, such as faces of giants, dragons, pixies, and old women. He describes how people long ago, when they lived here, may have seen these features and taken for granted that these were actually giants, dragons and so on. The landscape literally gave people their myths and legends.
One thing he emphasised was that it matters not whether people did actually see things the way we do now (metaphorically not literally: the rocks have maybe weathered a few inches, but the shape would have been exactly the same in Neolithic times), what matters is how we experience the landscape now. There is nothing to say that the people then didn't feel the same magic and awe that we do now.
Peter recommends experimenting with 'how it feels to do something' in the landscape... lay under a rock in a tight space that looks as though it will fall on you; squeeze into a cave and drum your heart out; stand naked on top of a tor. Go on, dare you!
Find out more about Peter's talks, books, guided shamanic-style walks around Dartmoor, and more, visit his website: www.stoneseeker.net
Today Philip and I went to Frome, where there was a Potato day and Seed swap event at the Cheese and Grain. We were very impressed! A huge stall in the middle with many potato varieties, vegetable and flower seeds, and it was packed with people! The stalls around the outside included book, bread and flower sellers, compost champions for the Carymoor Environmental Trust, Share: the library of things in Frome (can borrow 'things' like tools, games, house stuff just like in a library), the Frome Food Assembly (local free-range, organic produce available to order online from many suppliers and collect weekly), and many other inspiring people to talk to!
We are organising our own Seedy Sunday Seed Swap on 19th March, Red Brick Building, Glastonbury 12-5pm. And we left the Frome version today feeling very inspired and excited to make it a great day!
Here's some piccies from today...
There is a little place near Totnes in Devon called Schumacher College,
and I just spent a month there beginning a masters degree in
Ecology and Spirituality.
It's difficult to put into words exactly what this month has done for me.
I think people go there expecting some big life-changing, wake-up moment, but for me it happened in little moments. One moment can lead to many, many more and if the first moment didn't exist, neither would the others.
The moment that Jenny (course participant and room-neighbour) told me to chose a room overlooking a particular tree, which led to an in-depth enquiry about human attachments to trees, which I wrote about for my assignment, and changed forever the way I think about human-nature interactions.
The moment I jumped in the River Dart and the kingfisher flew past me, and for the next week I was attracting flying things: a ladybird in the classroom, a crawly-winged bug on a leaf during a meditation, an insect during a talk in Totnes, a robin hopping around my feet in Dartington gardens.
The moment our lecturer Andy arrived, his premature twins still in hospital, and held his head up and did a fantastic job teaching us all, which led to me questioning how me doing this course would impact future generations, and me realising that my future babies were indeed alive and calling to me to create their bodies, quick!
The moment Satish Kumar (founder of the college) said ''celebrate not knowing'', and how this theme repeated throughout the course, that science tries to 'know' everything, and humanity simply can't know, the magic is in not knowing, and I feel myself relax into the knowledge that it's alright not to know, which is something I have struggled with my whole life, I always hated to admit not knowing.
The moment Stephan Harding asked us to touch trees and plants as if they can feel you back, and I started walking on the ground, and the ground started walking on me, and both my feet and the ground beneath me moved as one, forever moving forward, and I felt some sort of vertigo but a pleasant one, and I realised what an impact my every footstep makes.
The moment I felt such gratitude as Maria led me blind around the garden, placing leaves and moss in my hands, guiding me to touch a tree, and what joy there is in being given such a simple gift, and what delight there is in the anticipation before the gift is given, I felt like a child and want to share that feeling with the world.
The moment we watched the Pagan Morris Dancers, all in black with feathers in their hats, crashing their sticks together in a high-energy frenzy of movement, and we sang Wassail to the trees and put bread on the branches, and I thought to myself 'what an incredible country I am from' that these traditions still exist.
The moment of reaching the standing stone circle of Scorhill, and feeling like I belong to this land, and I am from this land, and however much travelling I may do, and however many countries I go to, there really is no place like home because I am from here, I have breathed here every moment since my conception, my blood is here, red like Dorothy's shoes.
The moment Martin Shaw, storyteller and mythologist, asked us ''where did you find yourself in the story I just told?'' and it was in the dance between the father and the fox, when generations of fathers and daughters danced together, stretching out behind them, and I realised how powerful a real story can be, how it can capture ones soul, lift it up and crash it down, how a story is a being in itself, with all the emotions and intricacies of you and I.
The moments my mind was blown through incredible lectures,
like that of Rupert Sheldrake and many others.
The moment I first tasted the incredible food that is served every day.
The moment I went to see my power animal, the turtle Leo,
and we went on a shamanic adventure together.
The moments in the woods, in the library, in the Old Postern building, in Totnes town.
The moments with the wonderful people on the course and facilitating it, the Swiss, the Belgian, the Spaniard, the Brazilians, the Hong Kongese, the Brits, the German and the South African.
And I know that throughout my life I will keep finding little moments that link back to these first moments at Schumacher.
Many ideas, beliefs, emotions and thoughts have taken root in me over the past month.
You may call Schumacher an academic college, a spiritual institution,
a beautiful place to live and study,
but what is it really?
In essence: it's a place for the future to take root.