Initiation and the Lunar Standstill at Callanish
On the night of the summer solstice June 20, 1997, I again had the pleasure and great privilege of witnessing the Full Moon rise over the magical, sacred landscape of the Callanish Complex on the Scottish Hebridean Isle of Lewis. Along with Haleakala crater of Maui, Mt. Shasta’s upper valleys, and a certain area of Joshua Tree’s Wonderland of Rocks, Callanish has been my most powerful personal place of spiritual initiation. However, unlike the other three sites, which are wholly natural formations, Callanish was geomantically constructed in Neolithic times (circa 25000-3000 B.C.E.) to be an initiatory and ceremonial arena.
My experience is that Callanish endures as one of the most powerfully intact sites on the planet. It is also too little known or understood: having been either, overlooked because of its remote location, or under appreciated due to the lack of knowledge of lunar cycles. Unlike Callanish, the more well known and glamorous sites may, in fact, have lost their original functional power. The purpose of this article, then, is to describe the magic of the Callanish site within the context of Shamanic Astrology, while speculating on its ancient and still living significance as a place of initiation.
Why have you come?
My fascination with Callanish began with a trip to Scotland in the summer of 1984, specifically to experience the standing stones, particularly the ones off the beaten track. Each site we visited exponentially increased in power and intensity, so that by the time we arrived on the Isle of Lewis, and the standing stones of Callanish, I was sufficiently “softened up,” in a state of extreme receptivity and vulnerability. We arrived at the main site around sunset, completely unprepared for the sheer scope and scale of this ancient marvel.
Jagged and windswept on high ground with a fine view of Loch Rogue and many other areas of water near the coast, the main standing stone circle (called Callanish I) has all the necessary geographic features for a geomantic, ceremonial site. These features include a precisely perfect horizontal perspective with the appropriate “As Above, So Below” connection of land and sky. However, it is the stones themselves that make the deepest impression. There is a central ring of thirteen tall stones (some over ten feet high) surrounding a massive inner monolith. A double row of stones, creating a wide passage, leads to the center from the north and three shorter single rows radiate out from the remaining sides of the central ring. Each stone is utterly unique, varying in size, shape, and color; some even have shining crystals on their exterior. I was struck by the profound differences of this site compared to the majority of circles I had previously visited. Stonehenge, for example, is a place where each stone bears a similarity to the others.
I began my approach to the central ring of Callanish up through the stone passageway from the north. I immediately was engulfed with powerful waves of emotion erupting inside of me. Fear began to dominate as I slowly continued up the northern passage towards the central ring. Suddenly a powerful energy force struck me in the chest over my heart, and I sank helplessly to the ground. Terrified, sensing I was in way over my head, I began to think; “here I am a naïve and foolish beginner with no preparation or training for this powerful place.” Every possible fear emerged. Maybe I was being attacked. Maybe I was to be sacrificed. Maybe I was simply being driven mad. Soon, one question dominated my awareness: “Why have you come? What is your motive for being here?” I searched my heart and my mind for the answer, then spoke these words:
I honor and love this place and recognize it as a natural living temple for ceremonially celebrating the sacred connection between land and sky. I am grateful that I may recognize and love it as such! And if that isn’t right, or if that isn’t good enough, than strike me dead now!
Suddenly the energy force field lifted as quickly as it had descended and I got up, turned around, and exited the northern entrance. Still shaken, I found a place to sit and go deeper into meditation on why I had come. My answer was still the same. Finally, within an hour I decided to again enter the circle, this time encountering no difficulty.
On each of my four visits to Callanish, August 1984, June 1987, August 1993 and June 1997, I have encountered the same theme of initiation. Other related initiation themes have included issues around surrendering power, the shadow, the underworld, and the resolution of conflicts with the radical opening of the heart. Naturally, this initiatory potential relates to the mythos of this site.
On my first trip in 1984, unbeknownst to me, we had arrived on the night of the Lammas, the precise mid-point between summer solstice and fall equinox. This is an important ceremonial point in the ancient calendrics of Northern Europe. That night, at midnight, a group of Scottish pagans arrived at the circle in full ceremonial regalia. We were privileged to watch them perform their ceremony and talk with them afterwards. I heard for the first time, the stories and lore that later haunted my dreams and inspired my research. On my return journeys back to Callanish these stories played out in my experience.
When The Moon Walks On Land
The leader of this pagan group, from the “old religion”, informed me that Callanish is the place where the Moon “walks on the land” and this phenomenon occurs every 19 years, next occurring in 1987. She cryptically began to recite the words:
When the Moon walks on the land, at the calling of the cuckoo, the shining ones will return.”
These words continued to re-echo within me and I often wondered what they meant? To create the proper context, and to understand the significance of Callanish, a brief digression about Shamanic Astrology is necessary. Since 1980, I have been involved with this form of astrology, which includes the following features:
- The foundational, philosophical truth of Shamanic Astrology (and arguably of everything) is from the opening lines of the Emerald Tablets of Hermes, “As Above, So Below, As Within So Without.”*This is considered to be literal, kinesthetic, organic reality, not an intellectual or spiritual abstraction. The patterns of the constellations and the cycles of the Sun, Moon and planets ate the same as the patterns and cycles of the human psyche and the seasons of our lives. The relationship is not cause and effect.
- Shamanic Astrology is experiential and earth-centered. The skies that can be directly experienced without telescopic or cybernetic enhancement has the greatest importance and power. Therefore Shamanic Astrology is as effective in a non-technological age. This view can be termed Neo-Ptolemaic, an astrology for terrestrial humans experiencing the sky, perceivable with unaided vision without light pollution.* The modern scientific reality of the heliocentric, Copernican worldview is essentially irrelevant to this approach.
- Shamanic Astrology is ceremonial and participatory, and operates from a mythic perspective. Shamanic cultures around the world tells us that authentic shamanic ceremonies are mythic re-enactments of cosmological events.
Over time, the cultural ceremonies and mythic stories created by the various civilizations are draped onto the actual physically observed cycles of the planets and patterns of the constellations. The practitioner of Shamanic Astrology actively participates ceremonially with as many cosmological cycles as possible, which rejuvenates and reanimates the ability to source and co-create with the emerging mythos of a new epoch.
- The death and rebirth motif of shamanism inspire Shamanic Astrology in two basic ways:
- The understanding and experience of the natural rhythm and cycles of the planetary bodies are linked to the initiatory process in human beings. The universe is supportive of, and power is accessed by, human beings that consciously participate with the initiation cycles.
- Planets (especially Venus, Mercury, and Mars) disappearing below the horizon, are seen as entering the underworld, dying and later being reborn when they rise above the horizon.
- Shamanic Astrology links to modern psychology through the use of archetypes. An ancient shamanism using gods, goddesses, spirits and animal essences, expresses through a comprehensive cross cultural, full spectrum approach to archetypes.
Over the last few years, my main area of research has been the cycles of Venus and Mars. However, the shamanic and experiential power of Lunar Cycles has always greatly fascinated and interested me. Callanish provides an ideal context for further investigation of the magical initiatory cycle of the Moon. Unlike the cycles of the Sun, which are regular and entirely predictable from year to year, the lunar cycle is seemingly wild and erratic. On any given date, the Sun shows up in the same place relative to the horizon. The Moon on the other hand takes a span of 19 years to return to the exact same spot on the same date. While the celestial mechanics of the Moon are beyond the scope of this article, to fully grasp the implications of the standing stones of Callanish a few things are necessary to know.
In the book, Callanish Stones, Moon and Sacred Landscape Ron and Margaret Curtis, (published by the authors, Olcote, New Park, Callanish, Isle of Lewis, Scotland. PA869DZ) describe the Moon cycle as follows:
The sun always rises on the east horizon. The sun always sets on the west horizon. The rise and set positions mirror each other around a north-south axis.
In the long summer days, the Sunrises and sets in the northeast and sets in the northwest. This pattern repeats year in, year out.
The Moon also rises on the east horizon. The Moon sets on the west horizon The rise and set positions mirror each other about a north-south axis.
But whereas the Sun takes a year to move from the midsummer NE/NW path to the midwinter SE/SW path, and back, the Moon takes only a month to move from its long NE/NW path to its SE/SW path and back.
Furthermore, the size of the Moon’s monthly swing across the horizon gradually varies: – from a small swing (smaller than those of the Sun) nearly S/SE to S/SW – the south extreme: to a big swing – nearly N/NE to N/NW – the north extreme: then back again. This pattern of small to big to small swing repeats itself about every 18 ½ years.
The Callanish standing stone sites are located in a limited area where 2 ranges of hills relate to the rise and set of the Moon at its rate south extreme every 18 ½ years.
The farther one travels north in latitude, the greater is the extreme of the sun rise or set north or south of due east or west, at the solstices. At Callanish, the Sun rises over 50 degrees north of east at midsummer (30-40 degrees in the United States). Each solstice the Sun predictably rises in the same place.
The Moon’s orbit is inclined five degrees and eight minutes from the ecliptic (the Earth’s ecliptic is tilted 23 ½ degrees away from the Sun). Thus, over a 19 year cycle, the Moon may rise or set as much as five degrees and eight minutes beyond where the Sun is on either side of the ecliptic. The Moon has a slow cycle that oscillates to its maximum and minimum locations every 18.61 years. The great Scottish archeoastronomer Alexander Thom, coined the expression – “major standstill” and “minor standstill” to mark these stations. These terms are analogous to the commonly understood concept of the solstices relative to the Sun’s cycle that happens every year. ** The last major standstill of the Moon was in 1987. The last minor standstill occurred from 1996-1997. On June 11, 1987, I had the great fortune of being at Callanish for moonrise during the major standstill. This is where I first met and worked with Margaret and Ron Curtis, the world’s foremost experts on Callanish. Having lived in the small village of Callanish, right next to the stones since 1974, Ron and Margaret may deservingly be called “caretakers of the stones.
Over the years, Margaret has been involved in excavation, research and intuitive discoveries connected with the many standing stone sites. She has located lost stones and also an entire previously unknown stone circle buried deeply beneath the Scottish peat. When I first met Margaret and Ron in 1987 they had a cautious, reserved, objective, scientific attitude about the overall implications of Callanish. However, with each subsequent visit, it is clear that they now embrace the geomantic magical stellar mythos regarding the Moon and its connection with a Great Mother Goddess further explored in this article.
Their research indicates numerous alignments, not just from the main Callanish I site but from many of the other circles and rows of stones, a complex of over 20 distinct sites, directly connected with the lunar standstills. Interestingly, very few of these sites connect with the solar extremes. Through their research and knowledge, Margaret and Ron have assisted in unlocking the key to the mystery of “when the Moon walks on the land.”
Callanish lies near the latitude of 58 degrees north. With respect to the seemingly erratic and difficult to comprehend lunar cycle, a truly amazing thing happens at just this latitude. During the time of the major lunar standstill, at the Moon’s southernmost location in the sky (traveling through the signs of Sagittarius and Capricorn or the Constellations of Sagittarius, the archer, or Scorpius, the scorpion) the Moon rises one Moon width above the horizon then skims the horizon on a very low arc. Any farther north and the Moon is not seen to rise at all! To the observer, the Moon appears to “walk on the land” over the physical features of the horizon.
The range of hills that the Moon rises above during the major standstill, or at the southern extreme is know locally in English as the “sleeping beauty” and in Gaelic as “Cailleach na Mointeach” which literally translates as ” old woman of the moors”. Observing moonrise from the Callanish area, during the major standstill, the Moon rises from some part of her body, passes over her body and sets behind another range of hills. Then the Moon “regleams” again above the horizon before passing across the stones of Callanish I as seen from the northern entrance.
More than a dozen of the sites at the Callanish complex align with the southern standstill extreme of the Moon in relationship to horizontal hill and mountain features. On my three subsequent visits to Callanish, each group had the opportunity to check out some of these alignments. It is strongly apparent that the complex was intended to be worked by a community of people in many places at the same time. No one location has the ability to experience all the features of all the related sites.
For example, in 1987 we confirmed an amazing, magical alignment from an old story discovered by the Curtis’s regarding the “moonwalk”. The story suggests that walking a certain course at a certain speed causes the Moon to stay suspended above the body of Sleeping Beauty. Upon reaching a specific point in the walk (the top of a hill at another stone circle site) the hills shift perspective and a wonder is seen. I walked this walk in 1987. The shift in horizontal perspective at the top of the hill, causes the hill behind Sleeping Beauty’s head (referred to as her pillow) to transform in appearance to form Sleeping Beauty’s pregnant belly, precisely where the Moon sets. What we saw then, was the Full Moon set into the pregnant belly of Sleeping Beauty.
Later that same night, members of our group heard the call of the cuckoo. A short time later, we gathered in meditation at the northern entrance of Callanish. I experienced a luminous silver shining glow on all the stones, moving towards me. Again, a strong force struck me in the chest above my heart. This time, however, the effect was not fear inducing or a confrontation with the shadow. Instead, it felt like sheafs of armor were being stripped away from my heart. I thankfully surrendered in waves of tears, feeling a joyful and emotional release that produced a loving peaceful contentment that heals all wounds.
During the 1997 trip to Callanish, our group had the opportunity to experience Full Moon Rise within hours of the exact summer solstice. The Moon rose at zero degrees Capricorn, very close to Galactic Center (GC), and the intersection of the Milky Way with the ecliptic. This Full Moon was at its southernmost position making a very short low arc across the sky. Being close to the minor standstill, the other lunar extreme, the Moon rose about ten degrees higher than in 1987 when it walked on the land. Still, the path of the Moon was an impressive approximation for our imaginations and experience. This was the inspiration for us to return to Callanish in 2006 for the next major standstill, when again the Moon walks the land.
Until recently, mainstream archeology, as well as the emerging discipline of archaeoastronomy, refused to accept that the ancients knew anything about the lunar standstill cycles. The voice crying in the wilderness was that of Alexander Thom, who wrote his breakthrough book Megalithic Lunar Observatories in 1968-1969. This book was based, in part, on his field research conducted during the 68-69 major lunar standstill, the major standstill prior to 1987. This remarkable book was published after a lifetime of research and time spent with the stone circles of Scotland and Brittany.
He found an amazing collection of stone circles and stone rows throughout Scotland. Falling within the zone of 57-59 degrees latitude, Thom discovered that these sites were mainly related to the lunar cycles. The east coast of Scotland near Aberdeen has scores of so-called recumbent circles, each with a massive stone laying on its side. These stones act like an altar, where the Moon rolls across during the southern extreme of the major standstill. The massive Ring of Brodger, on the Orkney Islands, also has extensive standstill alignments. The countryside of Caithness and Sutherland countries have numerous enigmatic rows that Thom connects to a great ancient project of using standstill alignments to predict eclipses.
The work of Ron and Margaret Curtis clearly shows, that not only did the ancient Neolithic people know about the lunar standstills, but these cycles had foremost significance. Today, few archeoastronomers can seriously doubt the ancient knowledge. Dr. Kim Malville’s work at Chimney Rock in Colorado has blown the lid off prior denials relative to the debate over the knowledge of the standstill cycles held by North American Anasazi.*** This raises questions about the purpose of these sites and the implications for our current times.
I believe the ancients lived in conscious relationship with the cosmos, similar to the tenets of Shamanic Astrology. Considering the experience of As Above, So Below, other than the Sun, the cycles of the Moon are the most visible cycles to the earth-based observer, and have high priority. In the far north latitudes, the moonrise and set positions are far more extreme than when nearer the equator. The extremes of the standstill positions in relation to the horizon were, and are, very impressive indeed.
The development of ceremony to honor the sacred connection between land and sky, particularly with the Moon, is experientially linked to many things: tides, reproductive cycles of certain species, women’s menstrual cycles, and so on. The standstills of the Moon appear to have been some of the most important cultural initiation motifs in ancient times. Unquestionably, these sites in Northern Scotland have their emphasis with lunar alignments. The ceremonial experience of the Moon at the standstill in connection with the Sleeping Beauty and her pregnant belly certainly connects with the ever-growing evidence for a Mother Goddess old religion. And I feel strongly that it connects with the Callanish complex as the prototype of all later lunar ceremonial sites in that part of the world.
This does not necessarily indicate that these people were matriarchal per se. The Neolithic builders of the standing stones had a culture that was an equal balance of agricultural and hunter-gatherer lifestyles. This combination generally produces within the culture, also exemplified by the Anasazi of the Southwest, a relative balance between male and female, free from extremes. It is important to note that the Neolithic people lived in a far earlier time than the Celtic Druidic peoples who also later used the standing stones, possibly with a different emphasis.
Another feature of these ancient ceremonial sites of initiation is the 19-year cycle itself. The exact cycle of the standstills, 18.61 years, is closely related to the Saros cycle of eclipses. Every 18.5 years a similar eclipse of the same family occurs. In personal astrological work, the cycle of the nodal return (when the North Node returns to its original position) occurs every 18½ to 19 years, marking the most important cycles for karmic and spiritual forms of astrology acting as the equivalent of personal eclipse cycles.
I sense these ancient peoples had grand cultural gatherings every 19 years, where representatives of outlying tribes and nearby areas gathered at places like the Callanish complex. Possible smaller gatherings occurred during southern lunar extremes to simulate the more dramatic 19-year events. These gatherings probably involved ceremonies designed to ensure the people remained in balance with the natural rhythms and cycles of nature, and helped to strengthen the community through interchange, colloquy, and creative expression.
If the personal initiatory question of these stones, to me and to other individuals, is “Why have you come and what is your motive?” then what is the collective cultural and community expression? It might be the rediscovery and re-honoring of these 19-year cycles in a way that reinvigorates our ability as a culture to powerfully tune in to our collective purpose by forcing us to deal with important questions in a ceremonial way. This is accomplished in part through re-attuning to the mysteries of As Above, So Below, and answering these questions: What is our purpose as a people? What are our motives as we stand between the sacred connection of land and sky? How can we best honor ourselves and our Earth?
Lastly, I invite all readers to know how the sky and its celestial cycles, including the lunar cycle, work. Then, as often as possible, experience it ceremonially. This rekindles our ability to participate in the great dance As Above, So Below, restoring our ability to, as Carl Jung put it, “dream the dream onwards.”
The 2006 Lunar Standstill
It seems like only yesterday that I witnessed the Moon “walking on the Land” at Callanish, June of 1987. The events of that summer, usually remembered as the summer of the “harmonic Convergence”, fundamentally changed my life experience.Much has been learned since 1987 and more, since the minor standstill of 1997 that inspired this reprinted article from Four Corners.
The knowledge and awareness of the Galactic Alignment, which I wrote about in the late 1980’s, is showing up everywhere. Archeoastronomy and Ethnoastronomy have finally accepted that ancient and traditional people knew about and appreciated in ceremonial celebration the cosmological grand events such as the precession of the equinoxes and the Lunar Standstill. The foundations of our mythic and historical frameworks are these celestial occurrences. Very few aware people can seriously doubt that these years are the Turning of the Ages.
New Information and Insights
The physical location of the Moon at its northern and southern extreme, physically covers (or occults) the Galactic Center (GC) and the Galactic Extreme (GE -sometimes called the ‘anti-center). On June 1, 2006 the Galactic Center is located at 26 Sagittarius 56. (Its zodiacal position increases about 1degree every 72 years due to precession.) The physically observed location of the GC lies below the Ecliptic (path of the Sun), therefore the Sun never actually covers Galactic Center. The Moon also does not cover Galactic Center, except at the Major Standstill.
During the Major Lunar Standstill seasons, the “out of bounds” Moon, when traveling through late Sagittarius and early Capricorn (15 Sagittarius – 15 Capricorn), exceeds 28 degrees south declination and physically is seen to cover Galactic Center. This occurs every month for about three days.
When the Moon travels through late Gemini and early Cancer (15 Gemini – 15 Cancer), when the Northern extreme occurs the Moon is aligning with the Galactic Extreme (anti-center) now located at 26 Gemini 56.
The center of the Lunar Standstill season occurs when the Moon’s mean (true) north ascending node is located at 0 degrees Aries or the Vernal Equinox. That date was June 22, 2006.
The previous center points were:
December 2, 1987
April 19, 1969
July 26, 1950
December 28, 1931
June 6, 1913
The next one occurs on January 11, 2025.
For a period of about three years surrounding this center point, the Moon can attain its maximum declinations beyond 28 degrees North or South. This is the Standstill Season that is now featuring the Moon occulting or crossing over the Galactic Center or Galactic Extreme. Each Month, during these three year periods, the Moon spends 3 days at or near Galactic Center and 3 days at or near the Galactic Extreme.
In the North of Scotland, sites such as Callanish are physically aligned to capture the Southern extreme. Consequently, the Full Moons that are closest to Summer Solstice are the most visually powerful, although other Moon phases will also ‘walk on the land’ and align with Galactic Center. The Full or near Full Moons occuring on June 11-12, 2006 and July 8-9-10, 2006 produced the most dramatic Moon Walk experience.
Other sites, for example, Chimney Rock in Southern Colorado, are oriented towards the Northern extreme. Consequently, the most visually impressive ceremonials can be performed with the closest Full Moons to Winter Solstice, which are
December 15, 2005
January 12-13, 2006
December 4-5, 2006
January 17-18, 2007
But, remember, anywhere you are, when the Moon is in that range near 0 degrees Cancer or 0 degrees Capricorn, the standstill effect can be felt, witnessed, and ceremonialized.
For astrologers who are less interested or oriented to the profound significance of the Lunar Standstill and Galactic Alignment, many similar insights can be gained by the fact that Pluto is also in alignment with Galactic Center! Pluto reached 26 Sagittarius 45 on March 29, 2006, crosses exact Galactic Center on December 29, 2006, and remains within a degree or so until November of 2007! (Note: although it is zodiacally aligned, Pluto’s physical location is actually considerably north of the physical location of Galactic Center). The great mysteries of As Above-So Below extend into the invisible, unobservable to the naked eye, dimensions as well.
Winter Solstice 2006
A rare occurrence of a New Moon quite close to Winter Solstice was a highlight of this Lunar Standstill season. On December 20. 2006 at 6:01 am PST a New Moon occurred at 28 Sagittarius 32. The Winter Solstice followed on December 21st at 4:23 pm PST, when the Sun reached 0 Capricorn exactly at the Galactic alignment of the Solstice, the plane of the Solar System and the plane of our Milky Way galaxy. Concurrently at that time Pluto stood at 26 Sagittarius 40.
Although the Moon is not visible, any solar solstice ceremonial observance would have had the closest and most distant celestial significators (Moon and Pluto) all aligned with the Sun. All this was magnified by the Lunar Standstill effect and the Galactic alignment itself.
What Does It All Mean?
This Is The Closest Lunar Standstill Season To The Galactic Alignment
It is interesting to note that various dates have been proposed for the Galactic Alignment. Modern Astronomers have rendered it to have occurred during May of 1998. Mayan calendrics, using the Long Count, have suggested Winter Solstice 2012. Dozens of other dates have been proposed by astrologers and occultists. One thing is sure — we are in the zone and this standstill is the very closest to the Galactic Alignment.
The emerging synthesis of diverse viewpoints coming from the metaphysical, traditional, and shamanic communities suggest this to be a SPIRITUAL event with the following implications:
The Lunar Standstill occultations of the Galactic Center and the Galactic Extreme, along with Pluto’s alignment with Galactic Center suggest an ‘Underworld” hypothesis for this planetary and cosmological initiation.
Entrance into the Underworld is most often directed by physical, psychological, emotional, or spiritual events that force the surrender of our egoic personality structures. Who we have taken ourselves to be is not Who We Really Are.
No matter how many years you have been expanding and developing your consciousness or potential, no one is exempt from this requirement for a second birth or a re-birth. This is a shamanic initiation of death and rebirth on the grandest cosmological scale, and the most deeply personal.
The warning is to not swing into the extremes of polarity of grandiosity or deficiency. Some may view this as a “love and light” opportunity for transformation or detached withdrawal. Others may react from fear and see this as upcoming doom and gloom and planetary destruction.
One suggestion is to perceive and experience the melodramatic cosmological scenario as a test of spiritual maturity. This includes the opportunity for letting go and surrendering our egoic defensiveness and a light-polarized drive for perfection. Rather, as Jung frequently suggested, our quest is for wholeness, shadow and light, celestial, middle world, and underworld integrated.
One last note. At Callanish in Northern Scotland, the appearance of the GREAT SHINING ONES was intimately connected with the Lunar Standstill and with the Moon “walking on the land”. My own experience of the Great Shining Ones was the radiant healing presence of a “Christed” Love, a force that embraces and dissolves all illusions of separation, or attachments to egoic personality dramas.
Let us Joyfully Celebrate this opportunity!
Notes and References
* A phrase frequently used by astrological astrosophy, a form of stellar science, inspired by Rudolph Steiner and elucidated through the works of Willi Suker. Norman Davidson who wrote: Astronomy and the Imagination and Sky Phenomena, and Joachim Schultz who wrote Movements and Rhythms of the Stars.
** There could be said to be a standstill “season” lasting a year or so. During the year, a southern extreme Moon position occurs each month with every Moon phase having a chance to pass on the lowest arch over the horizon. The late Sagittarius or early Capricorn Full Moon, however, is the most dramatic event to witness.
*** Kim Malville investigated a complex of Anasazi kivas built every 19 years on a ridge looking toward a natural formation of rock “chimneys”. The angle is such that the sun never passed through the “chimneys”. However, during a major standstill, the Moon did. These kivas were oriented towards the “chimneys” so the winter solstice Full Moon aligned at the standstills. Since his research, from 1987 to 1988 many more lunar standstills are being recognized.