Re: Midsummer Madness

From: Nick Brooke (
Date: Mon 16 Feb 1998 - 14:27:19 EET

Alex writes:

> Personally, I still favour The Good Old Days, wherein Yelm and
> Lightfore majestically bestrode the zenith at Midsummer, recreating
> for one brief day the Perfect(ish!) Sky. Sorta. All this loses is
> a few pesky Summer Stars, which I never cared much for anyway. ;-)
> (They don't appear in the GRAY model, IIRC, and Elder Secrets contra-
> dicts itself and everything else so much as to be more trouble than
> it's worth, then it throws up problems like this, IMHO.)

Seconded, heartily. The "Summer Stars" aren't worth bothering with,
and having Yelm move blithely through Pole Position, twice, without
any major festivities, seems unnecessary to me.

> Despite my squeamishness about the "big and small quarters", and
> moreso about the dreaded bidirectional tilt, having in particular
> the autumnal equinox at a Cool Date was the redeeming feature of
> this model.

You can keep the Perfect Midsummer and the "big and small quarters"
(with associated Significant Dates) without succumbing to the dreaded
Northern Tilt, IMO.

Sacred Time =3D/=3D Midwinter, for a variety of reasons. First up, it
heralds the start of Spring, not the middle of Winter. Second up,
unless we junk the pleasantly-plausible "Yelm's HHD =3D Midsummer"
equation (mine, I admit), it can't work. Third up, the comparable
RW festivals (inc. Easter and Ramadan) are nearer the Spring Eq.

than the Winter Sol. (IIRC). Fourth up, Midwinter's Night becomes
a whopping great Troll celebration, so we add to the jollity of
Glorantha by distinguishing this from Sacred Time. (I was trying

to get to Seven-Up, but ran out of steam).

> If the "bendy light" theory is correct, then presumably it repro-
> duces _all_ the visual phenomena of living on a curved surface,
> not just an apparent horizon. That would imply the Sky Dome appear-
> ing differently in different places. (By definition, "correctly"
> in Yuthuppa, and "wrong" everywhere else.)

Or, "correctly" in ancient pre-bendy-light Yuthuppan records, "almost
correctly" in contemporary observations, and "wrong" anywhere else.

I'm not sure the Bendy Light theory need be taken much further than
the "horizon effect" (and its concommitant "over-the-horizon Farsee
spin-off"). I argued in the past that Celestial Light is different

enough in quality not to require any arse-banditry setting up our
stellar models.

>> Did any ancient peoples wish that the planets were more regular,
>> or wonder how they got screwed up?

I refer you to one of Greg's key astronomical texts, "Hamlet's Mill",
by Giorgio de Santillana. Another source he uses and recommends is
Norman Davidson's "Astronomy and the Imagination". Read 'em if you
want an insight into where Greg's coming from astronomically.

> _Probably_ most of the priests who think that Yelm is stationary
> have been at least pensioned off by now. But ya never know...

A salutary reminder of who we're dealing with! :-)



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