ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Reverence to the Sun:

Updated on February 7, 2011
A rising Sun greets locals through the trees in Oak Hall, Accomack County, Virginia, U.S.A. Photo by Windy Mason.
A rising Sun greets locals through the trees in Oak Hall, Accomack County, Virginia, U.S.A. Photo by Windy Mason.

There is no heavenly object which influences life on Earth more than the Sun. After all, the Earth revolves around the Sun. In the solar year, the 365 plus one days incorporated by a leap year every four years keeps our calendar in sync with the Sun.

Watching the stars and planets closely, ancient peoples looked to the skies in search of order and meaning. Holding particular prominence was the Sun, revered as much for its cyclical wanderings across the horizon providing reliable patterns of time and making nature predictable as its source of light and warmth. People divided the calendar year into four seasons based on their observations. Each season is centered on one of the four key dates which mark the Sun’s annual travels.

The Summer and Winter Solstices, which are the year’s longest and shortest days, occur on approximately June 22nd and December 22nd in the Northern Hemisphere. The Spring and Fall Equinoxes, which are the two times during the year when the Sun crosses the equator and day and night are equal in length, occur on approximately March 21st and September 23rd in the Northern Hemisphere.

Humans have paid their respects to the Sun with special rites and festivals on these days throughout history. Many peoples, including the Maya, French Churchmen, Chinese Astronomers, American Indians as well as many others, have created buildings which were specifically designed to mark these dates. Each of these structures are in themselves a sacred calendar cutting across all barriers of time and culture while manifesting their obeisance to the gods as well as the cycles of life and death and the mystical seasons of the year.

Mayan Symbol of Reverence:

El Castillo, Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico
El Castillo, Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico

The Temple of Kukulkan (El Castillo):

Boasting a series of square terraces with stairways ascending each of the four sides to the temple at the summit, sunlight pours through a north staircase on the west side of El Castillo twice a year. At both sunrise and sunset on the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes, the sunlight creates the shadow image of a serpent, an ancient Mayan symbol of rebirth and renewal.

El Castillo, “The Castle,” is a thousand year old pyramid which dominates the center of the Chichen Itza ruins in Yucatan, Mexico. “El Castillo” is the common name for this structure. A more proper name is the Temple of Kukulkan, the Mayan name for Quetzalcoatl meaning “plumed serpent.”

Chichen Itza means “at the mouth of the well of the Itza.” Itza, the name of an ethnic lineage group, is believed to have originated from the Maya “itz,” meaning “magic.” However, in Spanish, “Itza” means “Witches of Water” or “Brujas del Agua.” Combined together, many people come up with the translation “Magicians of Water.”

During its time, Chichen Itza was a major economic power in the northern Maya lowlands. Through its port site, Isla Cerritos, Chichen Itza was able to sell and attain resources from distant areas such as Central Mexico and Central America.

From one of the wells at this location, the Cenote Sagrado, there have been artifacts of gold, jade, pottery and incense recovered. According to archeological research, Chichen Itza fell somewhere around 1000 A.D. However, never becoming completely abandoned, the Cenote Sagrado continued to remain a place of pilgrimage. In 1588, Chichen Itza was a working cattle ranch.

Now federal property, the ruins of Chichen Itza were purchased by the state of Yucatan on March 29th, 2010. The site is maintained by Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History, INAH.

Symbol of Reverence in Leinster, Ireland:

Passage Tomb, Newgrange, Boyne Valley, County Meath, Ireland.
Passage Tomb, Newgrange, Boyne Valley, County Meath, Ireland.


Newgrange, a massive burial mound built by a tribe of Neolithic Irish farmers, still stands on a low ridge above the Boyne River in Leinster, Ireland. Newgrange was built more than 5,000 years ago, between the years 3100 and 2900 B.C., even before the ancient Egyptian Pyramids. The dead were laid to rest at the end of a 62 foot long stone passageway where no light permeates the majority of the year.

In this sanctuary, on a few mornings each winter while the days are at their shortest and darkest, a shaft of sunlight enters through a small opening above the tomb’s entrance, beaming down the long passageway. For only a few breathtaking moments, light fills the burial chamber, revealing a Stone Age cathedral of high-vaulted ceilings and intricately carved walls.

The dramatic illumination only occurs in the few days around the Winter Solstice when the Sun reverses its retreat from the Northern Hemisphere and the days begin to lengthen. Scholars believe the Irish farmers who created Newgrange laid out the more than 200,000 tons of stone to deliberately exploit the Sun’s position at this particular turning point in the solar year to exhibit reverence for the celestial calendar by designing this marvelous structure in precise astronomical relationship with the Sun. That being the case would mark these prehistoric architects as among the earliest humans to exhibit this reverence.

Egyptian Symbol of Reverence:

The Pyramids of Cheops and Chephren in Giza, Cairo, Egypt.
The Pyramids of Cheops and Chephren in Giza, Cairo, Egypt.

The Pyramids of Cheops and Chephren:

The Sun at the Summer Solstice sets directly between the ancient pyramids of Cheops and Chephren.

The Pyramid of Cheops is also called “The Great Pyramid of Giza” and/or “The Pyramid of Khufu.” It is the oldest and the largest and is the main part of a complex setting of buildings, including two mortuary temples in honor of Pharaoh Khufu. The Pyramid of Cheops is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World as well as the only one remaining largely intact. Believed to have been constructed as a tomb for Pharaoh Khufu, it took 20 years to build and was completed around 2560 B.C.

The Pyramid of Chephren is also called “The Pyramid of Khafre.” It is the second largest of the Ancient Egyptian Pyramids and is believed to be the tomb of Pharaoh Khafre.

There is much debate about how these pyramids were constructed. One theory is that they were built by moving huge stones from a quarry and dragging and lifting them into place. Some of the “stones” weigh in at about 10 tons!

Show Your Personal Reverence to the Sun With These Beautiful Products From Amazon:


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • VAMPGYRL420 profile imageAUTHOR

      Windy Grace Mason 

      8 years ago from Belle Haven, VA

      Thank you, Cybersupe :) It's a labor of love

    • CYBERSUPE profile image


      8 years ago from MALVERN, PENNSYLVANIA, U.S.A.

      A lot of good information and hard work is in this Fantastic Hub. Keep up the good work.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)