Archive for the ‘sun’ Tag

Winter Solstice at Newgrange

In this era of video streaming here is a particularly brilliant (literally) application – sharing the Winter Solstice at the Newgrange passage tomb in Co. Meath, Ireland. I first went there in the early 80s when there was no visitor centre or formality and the nearby tombs of Knowth and Dowth were largely overgrown. Now it is (very deservedly) a World Heritage Site and this morning’s live broadcast via YouTube was brought to the world by Brú na Bóinne / World Heritage Ireland and Oifig na nOibreacha Poiblí / the Irish Office of Public Works (OPW). Starting as the sun rose over the horizon behind the loop of the River Boyne we were enabled through live streaming to witness the entrance of the sunlight into the passage of this neolithic tomb and watch its advance down the passage to illuminate this house of spirits and mark the rebirth of the sun after the darkest days of winter. Particularly resonant of course this year.

The live commentary by two authoritative and warm Irish experts explained that this area is an”inland island” being separated by a huge loop of the river. The whole area is rich in neolithic remains and traces. They showed some aerial photos from 2018, enabled by that other important new camera technology, drones, revealing crop marks and patterns in the countryside in drought showing the presence of huge perfectly circular constructions (a henge) on a grand scale, unknown until that driest of summers.

The ability to share in real time sights which are not otherwise accessible to the world at large is one of the fundamental benefits of streaming video.

08:48 Just before the sun emerged over the horizon
08:55 view from the ‘light box’, the aperture into the tomb
09:00 the line of fog marks the River Boyne
09:03 the light in the tomb from above on the sandy passage floor
09:05 the sunlight enters the passage into the tomb
09:06 the passage starts to be illuminated
09:07
09:12
09:16
09:16
09:17
09:20
09:31

Wishing Simple Pleasures Part 4 readers and the world at large light after the darkness and Simple Pleasures galore in 2021.

Greek Myths and their Symbolism

I’ve been doing a course the last few weeks at City Lit round the corner from Red Bull Media House HQ in Covent Garden. It’s about ‘Greek Myths and their Symbolism’ and I’ve been really enjoying the story patterns and archetypes that have been emerging from the lectures themselves plus my spin-off thoughts as I listened. Here’s one for example…

People Locked In Towers

Daedalus and Icarus were locked in a tower by King Minos

Daedalus and Icarus were locked in a tower by King Minos

The first myth we looked at was that of Daedalus, the Minotaur and the Labyrinth. The co-star of my favourite book, Ulysses by James Joyce, was named after Daedalus.

J. W. Waterhouse - I Am Half-Sick of Shadows Said The Lady of Shalott (1915) painting

J. W. Waterhouse – I Am Half-Sick of Shadows Said The Lady of Shalott (1915) who was locked in a tower by Morgana Le Fay

Based on Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s 1832 Arthurian poem The Lady of Shalott. The enchantress Morgana Le Fay was jealous of the Lady’s beauty and locked her in the tower with the curse not to be able to look out of the window or she would die. Compare Pandora who could not look inside the box and Psyche who could not look at her secret lover (Eros), invisible in the dark.

The Attic that inspired Jane Eyre's 'madwoman in the attic' Bertha

Mrs Rochester, Bertha Mason, was locked in the attic by her husband

This is the attic that inspired Jane Eyre’s ‘mad woman in the attic’ scenario. It’s in the stately home of Norton Conyers in North Yorkshire, which Charlotte Brontë visited in 1839. Brontë’s character, the mentally ill Bertha Mason, is locked in the attic for ten years by her husband Edward Rochester.

rapunzel Illustration for Household stories Brothers Grimm Jacob and Wilhelm Illustrated by Walter Crane 1920

Illustration for Household Stories by the Brothers Grimm drawn by Walter Crane (London: Macmillan, 1920)

Rapunzel was locked in a tower to keep away randy princes – in the German fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, first published in 1812 in Children’s and Household Tales. Their version is an adaptation of a story by Friedrich Schulz.

Here’s another pattern spotted…

People Falling Out of the Sky

Icarus flew too near the sun and melted the wax of his wings :: Jacob Peter Gowy's The Flight of Icarus (1635–37)

Icarus flew too near the sun and melted the wax of his wings :: Jacob Peter Gowy’s The Flight of Icarus (1635–37)

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Phaethon couldn't control the horses of the sun god, his father Helios :: The Fall of Phaethon by Sebastiano Ricci [b. 1659, Belluno - d. 1734, Venice] (1703-04) [Oil on canvas - Museo Civico, Belluno]

Phaethon couldn’t control the horses of the sun god, his father Helios :: The Fall of Phaethon by Sebastiano Ricci [b. 1659, Belluno – d. 1734, Venice] (1703-04) [Oil on canvas – Museo Civico, Belluno]

Like Icarus, Phaethon is an archetypical stroppy teenager. In Jane Austen’s England a Phaeton was a sporty sort of horse-drawn carriage. Trying to drive Helios’ powerful sun-horses before he was ready is a bit like nicking dad’s sports car – see Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Gustave Dore Paradise_Lost John Milton satan falling

Satan was cast out of the sky by God :: Gustave Doré’s illustration for Milton’s Paradise Lost

 

Free Falling The Amazing Spider-Man #8 Artist: Humberto Ramos (Aug 2019)

Free Falling The Amazing Spider-Man #8 Artist: Humberto Ramos (Aug 2019)

Spider-man regularly falls from the sky mid battle. Falling from the sky is often connected to humans overreaching, striving for the divine or angelic side of our nature.

 

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