Tag Archives: Winter Solstice

Beginning of Winter at Kanayama Megaliths

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There are several new posts at our Japanese counterpart of the the Kanayama Megaliths blog. On 10/23, sixty days before winter solstice, a group trekked up Higashinoyama to see the sunrise. Above is the photo, and this is the 9-meter long stone on which the observer sits.

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The group came down the mountain and went to Iwaya-Iwakage. Here is the sunlight entering the chamber at 12:50pm.

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On 10/24, this striking pattern appeared on the Sekimen-ishi.

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We remind you of the similarity of the Kanayama calendar with the Egyptian calendar. On this date, the rising sun shines into the stone room at the end of the Great Temple of Abu Simbel. Also, the sun rises from the Sphinx on the causeway to the great pyramid of Khafre.

We hope that you have enjoyed these reports of the solar calendar of the Kanayama Megaliths, still operating after 5,000 years!

 

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Iwaya-Iwakage: Sixty Days Before Winter Solstice 2018

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Sunlight entering Iwaya-Iwakage on 2018.10.23 at 13:00

 

The sixty days before winter solstice, observed at Higashinoyama in early morning, was confirmed in Iwaya-Iwakage at around 1pm on October 23, 2018. There were clouds in the sky around that time, and cheers broke out whenever the spotlight on Sekimen-ishi stone appeared. Here are photos of the large spotlight at various times when it appeared (12:56, 13:05, and 13:09). Since we are facing north, to us the spotlight appears to move from west to east. The last photo shows the light has reached the right-hand edge of the Sekimen. Branches of trees have cast some shadows on the stone.

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Why are the Vedic and Jomon Calendars Identical?

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The Hindu calendar which comes from the Vedas of 1200 BCE has six seasons called ritu.  The seasons and their dates are listed here.

Vasant     Spring         2/18 – 4/19

Grishma  Summer     4/19 – 6/21

Varsha     Monsoon     6/21 – 8/22

Sharad     Autumn       8/22 – 10/23

Hemant   Prewinter   10/23 – 12/21

Shishir     Winter        12/21 – 2/18

Six-season chartThe Jomon calendar of the Kanayama Megaliths has these six seasons.

Spring                           2/19 – 4/22

Early Summer            4/22 – 6/21

Late Summer              6/21 – 8/20

Autumn                        8/20 – 10/23

Early Winter               10/23 – 12/22

Late Winter                 12/22 – 2/19

The dates 2/19, 4/22, 8/20, and 10/23 are astronomical cross-quarter days. Compare the corresponding dates of the two calendars and we find that they differ only by 0, 1, 2, or 3 days. The summer solstice date is exactly right for India and for Japan. The winter solstice dates are 12/21 for India and 12/22 for Japan, so they do agree. The spring and autumn equinoxes are the middle date of both the Vedic and the Jomon calendars.

How the Jomon determined the seasonal dates.  You may be wondering what is the rule for the dates of 2/19, 4/22, 8/20, and 10/23 in the Jomon calendar. These are the dates when the sun’s altitude at noon is half-way between those of the winter solstice and the equinoxes for dates 10/23 and 2/19; half-way between those of the summer solstice and the equinoxes for dates 4/22 and 8/20. These dates are called yontobun in Japanese. It means dividing the zone of the sky between the highest and lowest altitudes into four parts.

How did the Vedic calendar determine the seasonal dates? Of the Hindu calendar it can be said:  Seasons follow the sun; months follow the moon; days follow both sun and moon. The seasonal dates of the Vedas roughly correspond to seasonal weather patterns, as can be seen from Monsoon as the late summer season. But why these exact dates? The calendar of the solar year is important for scheduling religious festivals. The ancient people of India were excellent astronomers who carefully studied the skies. They were familiar with the planets and the stars. So they must have had a good reason for selecting these particular dates. What was their reason?

Discussion.  From Internet articles about the Hindu religious calendar, we learned that government astronomers studied the position of the sun as it rose against the distant stars in order to determine the seasonal dates. This is not unlike the Jomon astronomers who used the position of the sun in the daytime sky to determine their seasonal dates. Once the Jomon people had set up the working megalithic observatory at Kanayama, they could simply watch the sunlight patterns to calibrate their calendar. They constantly monitored and updated their solar calendar so that it remained accurate to within one day.

While the dates of the six seasons of the Vedic and Jomon calendars agree closely, it is only a matter of time before the Vedic dates will drift slowly away, the effect of earth’s axial precession relative to the distant stars. The Jomon calendar may still be keeping good time, since it is watching the sun relative to Earth.

 

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Himukae Ceremony on Winter Solstice 2017 – Part 2

IMGP0691Winter solstice sunrise at Asadori Myoujin by Chika

Chika-san has provided additional photos from the Himukae ceremony on the morning of winter solstice. Above is the splendid view of the sunrise, looking from Asadori’s torii.

The head priest who conducted the ritual had a very old scroll in his hands, so old that it was quite in tatters. And yet, this ceremony to greet the sun has come down through the ages from prehistoric times. We are fortunate to be able to participate even today with a precious activity of the Jomon people of Hinomoto.

 

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Higashinoyama Megaliths

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Rising sun is barely visible in front of the R-stone (left) and S-stone (right foreground)

Sugisaka-san was on the hike up Higashinoyama on Winter Solstice day. He has kindly shared his photos taken of the R and S megaliths that face the rising sun on that day. He mounted his camera on a tall pole so we have some striking overhead views of the two megaliths.

 

Here we see a red-jacketed woman climbing up to the observation seat on R-stone. On the left, she assists another person.

S stone & R stone

This is a side view of S-stone which is to the right of R-stone as we face east. Both stones play their roles at other winter observation times.

 

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Himukae Ceremony on Winter Solstice 2017

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Chika-san attended the Asadori Myoujin Himukae ceremony for the revival of the sun’s power. It took place as the sun rose in the south-east on the morning of winter solstice, shining directly into the center of the altar. Below is the altar before the sunrise, and then immediately as the sunlight illuminated the sacred object within.

Above is a photo of the priest explaining the ritual. He shouted the cock-crowing “Ko-ki-ko!” three times as a greeting to the sun. The group recited “Oh!”. This is a cry of joy that the sun is returning. Chika-san said that this ritual that musters life-force is very moving. The bright lights are the flashlights people are holding while it is still dark before sunrise.

Sun stones.  Once, there were behind the hokora, a Sun Stone and five stones behind it. Now there are only three, because two of them were moved. The two men who touched the stones were subsequently afflicted with illness. That is why there are only three stones behind the Sun Stone, and no one is permitted to move the other two back. Lining up each of the three stones with the Sun Stone is the way to view sunrise at three distinct times of the year. In the photo below, the Sun Stone is indicated by a red dot, and the three alignment stones are marked with blue dots.

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Winter Solstice Sunlight at Simulator and the Split Boulder

We conclude our three-part series reporting on the Kanayama Megaliths blog about the winter solstice. In the early afternoon of the solstice, the simulator is displaying perfectly the path of the sunlight. The spot of light strikes the observation panel precisely, which glows as if lit from within.

The winter sunset is also observable near the Senkoku-ishi. There is a pair of megaliths that clearly has been naturally divided in two. First take a look at the set-up. The sun is already striking the pair.

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If you stand in back of the gap at sunset, you can gaze on this striking  sight!

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The reason that all these winter observations are possible in the mountainous terrain of the Kanayama Megaliths is that the megalith sites are intelligently located so as to take advantage of the astronomical geometry, i.e., the line to the winter solstice setting sun. Moreover, isn’t this a magnificent view of the place where the sun goes to rest in winter?

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