This weekend, there’s a lot of celestial activity happening: a solstice (summer in the Northern Hemisphere), a partial “ring of fire” solar ellipse, a new moon.
What you actually see or how you experience any of these (even if you do) depends on a lot of things. Literally, it depends on where you are located on Earth. But also what matters to you, your priorities. It might depend on your ability to see the sky. Or what you believe in. A lot of things.
“Solstice” is derived from Latin words sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still) because it appears that the sun stands still, then reverses directions, twice a year. But actually, it’s the Earth that’s moving. And it’s the Earth’s axis that causes us to have solstices. The moon isn’t actually “new” either. It’s the relationship between moon, Earth, and sun that make it look like the waxing and waning of the moon at different times.
Perspective, relationship, and perception - these determine our truths .
On Saturday, June 20, the solstice happens at exactly the same moment, no matter where you are on earth. The same moment for everyone. Because we are all in different places, though, each of us sees or experiences something absolutely unique.
Yet also absolutely true.
Here’s Astronomer Carl Sagan’s perspective on what’s true: “The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be counterintuitive. It may contradict deeply held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what’s true.”
And because the summer solstice always makes me think of Stonehenge and that makes me think of Spinal Tap: “No one knows who they were or what they were doing.”
Because there are all kinds of truths.