Today is September 22nd – the Autumnal Equinox. Today, sunset and sunrise are 12 hours apart, so we have equal day and night. Summer is now officially over, more’s the pity, since it wasn’t much of a summer to begin with – at least here in the UK. Unless you really enjoy rain.
Like probably a lot of people, when I thought ‘equinox’, I thought ‘druids’. You know, those chaps in the white robes who built Stonehenge. Or so they say. (Flanders and Swann did a fantastic monologue on Stonehenge which you can listen to here, along with a couple of their other monologues.)
Only, if you do a little bit of digging you find
a) We don’t actually know what the druids believed because they seem to have made a point of not writing anything down.
b) We don’t know what Stonehenge was for, but it probably wasn’t some fantastic multi-functional solar computer.
c) Solar worship as a main focus of a religion isn’t as common as you think (or as common as I thought, anyway).
Stonehenge seems to have been mostly used at midwinter – possibly the midwinter solstice – which makes a certain sort of sense since we do have evidence of the midwinter solstice being extremely important to ancient European cultures.