Sunday, May 11, 2014


It's Sunday so I'm thinking about things other than chess. Like for instance how old I'll be at 12.34 on the 5/6/78. Unfortunately I'll be turning 118 which means I won't be around or I'll be unaware that I am still around.

I seem to remember learning why the days have their particular names when I was in school, but that was a long time ago. However, Sunday is the easiest of all to remember as it's named after the Sun. So it's the ideal day of the week for us immigrants from cold northern Europe in Sunny Australia. I'm  not exactly a sun worshipper, though I appreciate a nice day as much as anyone else. I have previously suffered from heat stroke so I'm always careful especially in our summer 30+ temperatures. Saying that I have worn sun symbols as jewellery for over 15 years, so I guess I could be described as a sun worshipper.

Sun Pendant
The charm that I wore for over 10 years is in the picture above. I first saw this kind of symbol while visiting Siena Cathedral where it was sitting above the front door which I thought was pretty cool. Apparently the sun symbol represents Jesus and was added at the request of Saint Bernard, and when I first saw the charm above it was sold as a St Bernard's charm. This is all linking nicely, as I've just finished Dan Brown's latest novel which is set mostly in Florence with the main character, Robert Langdon, an expert at symbology. The action moves from Tuscany to Venice, which is somewhere I intend visiting next year. It was wonderful experiencing the history and culture of Tuscany when I was last there, but apparently, St Mark's in Venice puts all else in shade. I'll admit that I was completely blown away by Siena Cathedral, and can't wait to experience St Mark's.

Stunning interior of St Mark's, Venice (from touists360)
The sun has been a symbol of worship for a long time, and is a multi cultural symbol. Throughout history the sun has been deified in cultures as diverse as Egyptian, Chinese, Aztec, and in religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism as well as the representative symbol of Christianity. In northern Europe where I was born the sun was worshipped as long ago as the stone age (4,500-2,000 BC) evidenced by petroglyphs dated to that time. England was hugely influenced by both Nordic and Roman historical influences and, not surprisingly, the sun was worshipped in both cultures. The ancient prehistoric monument, Stonehenge, has a sunstone which apparently is an observation point for the rising sun on summer solstice. I was born only about 40 miles from Stonehenge, though I don't remember that much sun in the UK when I was there!

Last year Caroline and I travelled to USA on a roadtrip in the western states. On that trip I picked up another sun symbol, this time of native American origin.

Navajo sun symbol
I saw lots of native American jewellery during that trip, most of it being Navajo, Hopi or Zuni. The Navajo Sun God is called Tsohanoai who bears the sun across the sky each day, the sun being a creation of the Navajo Goddess, First Woman. You can read about the creation of the heavenly bodies according to Navajo culture here.

As such an important natural element in our lives, it is no wonder that so many peoples have worshipped the sun throughout the years. In fact, Caroline and I are planning another trip to the USA in a couple of years time though this time to the North and into Canada. The highlight of this trip being? Well, it will be another roadtrip and the main ports of call will be Banff in Canada, and Glacier National Park in Montana, USA. It must be an omen that I'm most attracted to driving the "Going to the Sun Road" through Glacier National Park.
Spectacular views on Going to the Sun Road (wikipedia)

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