Jun 20, 2012

The Solstice and the Serpent

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

Well here's something I did not know.

This morning, while scanning the news for fun Summer Solstice events, I noticed this item on the Mother Nature Network. Apparently, the famed serpent mound in Ohio is aligned to the sun on this day. How marvelous. That puts this ancient curiosity amongst sacred sites all over the world as aligned to key astronomical events. I don't know that this will ever make Ohio Bush Creek a destination on par with Stonehenge (see above) but I actually find this slightly more fascinating.

Sunrise with a snake: Twenty miles south of Bainbridge, Ohio, a mysterious mound rises from the Earth. A bird's-eye view would reveal that this mound is in fact man-made, and that it is in the shape of a giant serpent.

On the summer solstice, the sun rises directly over the head of this serpent, which was likely created by the so-called Fort Ancient culture that thrived nearby between A.D. 1000 and 1550. The Serpent Mound park is open during daylight hours, so solstice-seekers can stroll around the ancient snake and imagine the early astronomers that must have overseen its construction.

I've never seen the serpent mound. Ohio is big state and I grew up on the other end of it. But it's always tickled me pink that this vestige of ancient wisdom appears in such an unlikely place.

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To Wikipedia!

In 1987 Clark and Marjorie Hardman published their finding that the oval-to-head area of the serpent is aligned to the summer solstice sunset.[9][10] William F. Romain has suggested an array of lunar alignments based on the curves in the effigy's body. Fletcher and Cameron argued convincingly for the Serpent Mound's coils being aligned to the two solstice and two equinox events each year. If the Serpent Mound were designed to sight both solar and lunar arrays, it would be significant as the consolidation of astronomical knowledge into a single symbol. The head of the serpent is aligned to the summer solstice sunset and the coils also may point to the winter solstice sunrise and the equinox sunrise.[11]

. . .

The Serpent Mound may have been designed in accord with the pattern of stars composing the constellation Draco. The star pattern of the constellation Draco fits with fair precision to the Serpent Mound, with the ancient Pole Star, Thuban (α Draconis), at its geographical center within the first of seven coils from the head. The fact that the body of Serpent Mound follows the pattern of Draco may support various theses. Putnam's 1865 refurbishment of the earthwork could have been correctly accomplished in that a comparison of Romain's or Fletcher and Cameron's maps from the 1980s show how the margins of the Serpent align with great accuracy to a large portion of Draco. Some researchers date the earthwork to around 5,000 years ago, based on the position of Draco, through the backward motion of precessionary circle of the ecliptic when Thuban was the Pole Star. Alignment of the effigy to the Pole Star at that position also shows how true north may have been found. This was not known until 1987 because lodestone and modern compasses give incorrect readings at the site.[13]

If it is, in fact, patterned on Draco, that could make it one of heaven's all-important mirrors. Such a theory is apparently advanced in Ross Hamilton's Mystery of the Serpent Mound. Huh. Whadda you know? Where have I been?

And now it is the time Summer Solstice when we dance.

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