For those of us familiar with the Saturn Return, we know that every 28 years or so we go through a period of tumult, frustration and "growth". This period, known as the Saturn Return, is a time when we feel stuck and need change. But any change that occurs may not be what we expect. So we slog though it, learning our lessons and hoping for the best outcome. Read more about the Saturn Return phase of your life here. It is the mystery of the 28 year cycle that I find repeats itself in various forms of life pursuits and beliefs. Twenty-eight is an unusual number and yet we find it used in a variety of life events.
So along the lines of the 28 year cycle of the Saturn Return, I noticed that religious Jews have a 28 year Solar Return cycle which just occurred on Wednesday morning April 8, 2009. Once every 28 years, the Sun returns to the same position that it was in during the time of the Creation. This year in the Hebrew calendar it is the 14th day of Nisan in the year 5769. In the Common Era calendar it is April 8, 2009. It is called The Blessing of the Sun or the Birchat HaChammah. (Or Birkat Hachama) Participants in the prayer look at the Sun only once and only briefly as they recite the service. There are many great books on Birkat Hachamah that give you much more detail of the ritual and source.
The careful calculation for this 28 year cycle is that G-d created the sun, moon and the stars on Wednesday, the fourth day. A solar year is about 365 1/2 days long, or 52 weeks and 1 1/4 days. Each year since Creation, the sun rises 1 1/4 days or 30 hours later. It takes 28 years for the sun to reach the exact position in the firmament as the exact moment on the exact same day of the week. Some say that this calculation is slightly off because the earth has slightly changed its orbit and the calendars to calculate this are not matchng. Maybe that is why my blog post here is a few days off. I guess I can say I used a slightly different calculation? Ahem.
But no matter when, where, why or how we celebrate the sun, it is all in the spirituality and the celebration of the solar force and strength of the sun. At least I think so.