Celestial events are an excellent opportunity for synchronous global meditations and other celebrations. We particularly encourage participation in the Octal Celebrations. These happen eight times per year, at each of the Solstices (when the sun appears the farthest to the north or south from an earthly perspective), Equinoxes (when the sun crosses the equator) and Cross-Quarters (the mid-points between Equinoxes and Solstices in Earth’s orbit around the sun, when the sun crosses 16° 20′ Latitude).

Illustration of the Earth's orbit, indicating the Equinoxes and Solstices.

Novasutras celebrates the Solstices, Equinoxes, and Cross-Quarters because these are global phenomena about the interaction of our home planet and our sun. It is an experience that can be shared with all beings on Earth. Many religious and folk traditions from around the world include celebration associated with these eight times of the year (the Grand Octal or seasonal cusps). Archaeological sites are often aligned to the location of the sun at specific times on these days.

Solstice Sunrise at Machu Picchu 21 June 2014
Solstice Sunrise at Machu Picchu 21 June 2014. By François Bianco [CC2]

Novasutras online Octal Celebrations are usually scheduled to coincide with the astronomical timing of the event (starting at least 15 minutes before it and ending after it). Typically, people sign up to participate in a Zoom conference call / webinar through links on the Novasutras Events page. Michelle explains a bit about the Octal Celebration, calls the corners to open us into sacred space and time, then leads a guided meditation on agaya and ubuntu that culminates in focusing on the subsolar point at the moment of the Equinox, Solstice or Cross-Quarter. (By definition, this will be a place somewhere in the tropics, directly on the equator at the Equinoxes, on the Tropic of Cancer at the June Solstice, on the Tropic of Capricorn at the December Solstice, and in-between these latitudes on the Cross-Quarters.) We consider what that point is like, then use it as a place to focus energy for agaya and ubuntu for the world. The meditation is followed by other participatory rituals and/or reflective discussion among the participants.

At the subsolar point, shadows are only directly beneath objects.
(Overhead sun at a park on Singapore, photo by Erik S. Peterson)

Planning Celebrations and Octal Meditations

We have been basing our timings for Equinoxes, Solstices and Cross-Quarters on the wonderful almanac compiled by archaeoastronomy.com. This site is no longer active, but is viewable on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. Here are the pages for 2023, 2024, 2025, 2026, 2027 and 2028. (By 2029, we’ll have to be ready to calculate the cross-quarter times on our own, or find a new resource. If you have an interest in these kinds of astronomical calculations, let us know. Maybe we can create our own almanac page.)

Learn more about the potential of synchronous global meditations.