On November 7 at 9:36 AM-PDT, the Sun hits exactly 15 degrees of Scorpio. That might not sound exactly earth-shaking, but if you were a Druid, it would be a really big deal. Actually, you might still be in bed recovering from the previous evening’s festivities – more about that point in a little while.
Most traditional cultures were very aware of the Summer and Winter Solstices. The noon-day Sun would have reached its highest or lowest point in the sky. The days would start getting longer or shorter. All that is fairly obvious even to a casual observer, so our ancestors figured it out long ago in prehistory. I suspect that knowledge of the Equinoxes came a little bit later – again, no one knows the date because it all happened such a long time ago, but noticing that night and day were of equal length and that the Sun now rose or set due east or due west seems slightly less self-evident than the “return of the light.”
Anyway, those four points – the two Solstices and the two Equinoxes – became the skeleton of the yearly calendar in every culture, not to mention the basis of the western Zodiac. They divided the year into four quarters – what we came to call the four seasons. Pretty much universally around the world, those four transition points were marked by festivals. Whether that was to please the gods and goddesses, or just because people like parties, is hard to say.
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