One day the Sun will die, but till then – Dies Natalis Solis Invicti MMXII

Here at a latitude of 58.7057° N, the Sun is eagerly awaited every day and is sorely missed if it is obscured by clouds during our short days at this time of year.

Sol Invictus is not a matter of faith or belief. It is a daily reality.

The 21st of December was the shortest day of the year with sunrise at 0848 and sunset at 1503. But it has come and gone and the days are getting longer again. I can start my countdown to summer.

The renewal begins.

It is not difficult to imagine how worship of the Sun must have started at least 20,000 years ago and perhaps as early as 100,000 years ago. In fact it seems obvious that our understanding of periodicity and the very concept of time must have started with what we observed of the Sun. The counting of days and the inevitability of the seasons and the development of a calendar all originate with the unfailing appearance of the Sun every day. Perhaps the periodicity of the daily Sun even accounts for humans developing the very notion of counting and numbers. And it is more than mere speculation to assume that even the great expansion of humanity from Africarabia around 100,000 years ago was to no little extent guided into directions defined relative to the rising or the setting of the Sun.

One day – some 5 billion years hence – the Sun will have consumed all its hydrogen, will become a red giant and will swallow the earth. The earth will truly and inevitably die then.  Over the following one billion years or so the Sun will be consuming its helium and become a white dwarf.  And then the exhausted Sun – will cool and perhaps in 1000 billion years will be at the same temperature as that of surrounding space and will become a black dwarf  –  well and truly dead.

Long before then, perhaps in about one billion years from now, the energy output of the Sun will rise by about 10% and there will be no water left in our atmosphere. As the Sun’s energy output increases further, our rivers and lakes and oceans will all boil dry and the earth will be finally devoid of water. If humanity is still present on earth when free water disappears then it too – with all other species on earth – will die. But humanity – along with many other Earthly species – may well have moved elsewhere by then.

But for at least the next 0ne billion years we can continue to revel and bask in our invincible Sun.

In Vedic terms “Surya is the eye of Mitra, Varuna and Agni” where Surya, the Sun, is the “all-powerful life-giving force” with Mitra representing “all that happens with openness in the daylight” while Varuna lords “over the powers of the dark when Surya is not visible”. Agni (ignis in Latin) is of course fire and is the earthly manifestation of the Sun

So, in celebration of the annual renewal to come I send my greetings to all in the name of the invincible Sun.

(The picture this year is a blow-up of the banner for this blog and is of a sunrise, looking East, on a December morning in 2010).

sol invictus 2012


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