Maui is Polynesia’s “Everyman” - the culture hero
reflecting his people’s collective intelligence back to them.

Like close-to-nature-folks all over the world,
Maui saw that our Sun’s light
becomes our Earth’s life, thanks to the green ones.



He saw something else critical to our survival:
the sun always sets in the west,
but it doesn’t always set in the exact same spot.

(Dec.21) (Mar.21) (Jun.21)

The point of sunset slides northward from about
Dec. 21 to about June 21 and then stands still for a few days.
This standstill is our northern hemisphere’s summer solstice.
(Our word “solstice” means “sun standing still.”)

After this solstice
the sunset point reverses direction
and begins sliding southward...

(Dec.21) (Sep.21) (Jun.21)

...until it stands still for a few days around Dec. 21.

This standstill is our northern hemisphere’s winter solstice.

After this solstice the point of sunset reverses direction
and begins sliding northward....


The same seasonal sliding happens with the sunrise point.


Why does our Sun slide back and forth every year?

Actually, its sliding is an illusion fabricated by
the fact that we’re viewing the sky from a moving planet.

We’re passengers on a planet that’s tilted at a 23.5 degree angle
to the path of our yearly orbit around the Sun.

As we orbit, we travel through January, February, March, etc.




Thanks to our tilt, our hemisphere is pointed toward our Sun
during part of our yearly orbit.

This is what Earth’s passengers call summer.



During the opposite part of Earth’s yearly orbit, our hemisphere is
pointed away from the sun. This is what Earth’s passengers call winter.




Our Mother Earth has an old Latin name: Terra.
So, anything that’s on Earth is terrestrial,
and anything beyond her is extra-terrestrial.

Of course, the extra-terrestrial is what Terra is
spinning us through every 24 hours
and what she’s orbiting us through each year!



If Terra were not tilted in her yearly dance around the Sun...



every day of our lives would last exactly 12 hours.
We’d have no long, lazy days of summer,
nor any long, cozy nights of winter.

Temperatures would always be the same as in spring/fall,
but there’d be none of spring’s fever, nor fall’s mellowing.

So, we can be grateful for Terra’s tilt...

It’s the seasoning in the stew of terrestrial life!


Click here to continue the story of
Maui snaring the sun