Thursday, February 26, 2015

Native American Skies: Lunar Standstill at Chimney Rock

During the month, the moon rises at different points across the eastern horizon.  When it reaches the farthest point north it pauses, or rises in the same spot for a couple of days, and then reverses course.  This pause is called a “Lunar Standstill”.  The same thing happens two weeks later at its farthest point south.   You may have noticed that the sun does the same thing, but it takes the sun a year to move from its farthest point north (Summer Solstice) to its farthest point south (Winter Solstice) and back again.  At each solstice, the sun pauses before reversing course and this is called a Solar Standstill. 

[refer to last week’s article: Native American Skies: Lunar Standstill]

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Native American Skies: Lunar Standstil

197px-Ecliptic_plane_3d_viewHave you noticed how fast the earth has been moving lately?  Probably not, but in fact the earth moves faster in the winter than in the summer.  The reason is because the earth moves around the sun in an elliptical orbit, not circular, so as the earth gets closer to the sun it speeds up and as it flies away from the sun it slows down.  In North America, the winter half of the year is approximately eight days shorter than the summer half.



Thursday, February 12, 2015

A Cherokee Valentine

Saturday is Valentines Day, a national holiday in the United States, but what does it mean to Native Americans?
For the Cherokee in ancient times, this time of the year was known as “Kagali”, or the “Bony
Moon”.  It has been said that the reason for the name stems from there being less food available so the people were chewing on the bones.  It was also a time for remembering the deceased, celebrated with fasting, a dance, and ritual observance led by the Uku or “Didanawiskawi” (medicine person).