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STONEHENGE - The Marriage of the Sun and Moon
by Robin Heath

Ed. N.: Robin Heath is a full-time consultant astrologer in West Wales. He presents here a resume and the results of his chief book, Sun, Moon & Stonehenge. In appendix, an other text, "Exploring Preliterate Sources of Astrology". I thank him for his participation to C.U.R.A.

It is well established, because it is objectively true, that the axis of Stonehenge aligns approximately to the midsummer rising sun azimuth. In addition, also objectively true, the station stone rectangle is constructed perpendicular to the axis and has a ratio of 5:12. In Megalithic yards, this is 40:96, i.e. the units of the rectangle's ratio are expressed in 8 MY 'quanta'.

A rectangular structure may align to extreme sunrises and opposite extreme moonrise azimuths (the 'lunstices') only within half a degree of the latitude of Stonehenge. A 5:12 rectangular structure further aligns to the quarter day sunrises and sets - those days lying between the two solstices. Finally, from station 94 through stone 'B' on the axis, we find an equinoctial alignment to the rising sun. (Figure 4.3, Sun, Moon & Stonehenge, page 64)

The secret of the calendar (and eclipse prediction) is to be able to find the exact number of lunar months in the solar year. (Psst! - it's 12.368, almost 7/19ths). The over-run is 0.368 of a lunation, which is 10.875 days. It is objectively true that the two main features of Stonehenge are built to the ratio 7/19. The Aubrey circle is 104 MY in diameter (283 feet), whilst the Sarsen circle has an outer diameter of 104 feet. The fraction is 0.367.

This same fraction may be found from a rope marked with 30 equal divisions. Peg out a 5:12:13 triangle, divide the '5' side into '3' and '2'. At this 3:2 point, a constructed hypotenuse to the apex has a length of 153, which is 12.369 units. One could even use the station stone rectangle, where the divisions are eight Megalithic yards. I have called the construction the Lunation Triangle, as it appears not to have been discovered and named previously by modern culture. However, there appears to be a story containing the lunation triangle in the last chapter of St John's Gospel.

The plot now thickens. When using this triangle with units as Megalithic yards or multiples thereof, the 0.368 fractional component will automatically fall out as one foot (12") or multiples thereof. Thus it is true that the Megalithic yard splits into a foot and a Royal cubit (20.64 inches). If the Megalithic yard is understood to represent the time elapsing between 12 and 13 lunations (full moons), i.e. between 354.367 days and 383.89 days, then where the foot meets the cubit is found to be 365.2 days - the solar year, or 12.368 lunations. (Table 5.1, Sun, Moon & Stonehenge, page 85)

I have, for years, used Stonehenge to calibrate ropes whereby I can subsequently derive a soli-lunar calendar for years in advance and predict eclipses ( see later). I have termed 0.368 ( very nearly 7/19) the Silver Fraction. Of course, astronomically, 12.368 is the metonic cycle expressed as an annual figure. [Metonic cycle: In nineteen years there are exactly 235 lunations. 235/19 is 12.368. Named after a 4th century AD astronomer, it appears that the phenomenon was known about by the builders of Stonehenge, i.e. before 2500 BC]

Some Thoughts on Moving Stones

The Sarsen Stones were moved over 20 miles from the Marlborough Downs, adjacent to Avebury. The smaller bluestones came originally from Carn Menyn in the Preseli Mountains of West Wales. Some think they came by glacier, others that they were lugged to Milford Haven, then rafted. Recent Chlorine 36 analysis (Bowen, UCW Cardiff) favours human transport, and the glaciation of southern Pembrokeshire suggests it unlikely that the bluestones would have been carried towards the south-east. However, my argument is that the large altar stone at Stonehenge is made from a sparkly sandstone found adjacent to the Haven (at Cosheton) - did a glacier then transport it from sea level uphill to Salisbury Plain? It is thought very unlikely that glaciation reached to the Haven.

Whatever this debate brings in the future, it is objectively true that the sarsens were moved by human effort and, as we shall now discover, it is not actually very improtant how the bluestones got to Stonehenge but why they assumed such importance.

The original latitudes for the bluestones and the sarsens is 364/7 and 360/7' degrees respectively. The centre of the henge at Avebury is placed exactly at 360/7 degrees, i.e. at one seventh of a circle as latitude. So exact is this figure that I suggest it was no accident or coincidence. The builders had a technique to calculate latitude to seconds of a degree.

It is of note that the Sarsen circle may be precisely placed by constructing a seven sided star ( heptogram) from the Aubrey circle. The star-arms cross at 100.8 feet, the mean diameter of the Sarsen circle. (Figure 7.11, Sun, Moon & Stonehenge, page 137) Of course, we all know that the midsummer azimuth of sunrise is approximately a seventh of a circle and that Stonehenge's actual latitude is within 15 minutes of a degree of a seventh of a circle.


The large Lunation Triangle, shown incorporated into a huge cardinally aligned 5:12 rectangle, includes the location of the bluestone site, and the exact north-south and east-west lines complete a right angled triangle via Lundy and Caldey Island. In Old Welsh, Lundy is called Ynys Elen, the 'island of the elbow, or right-angle'. I suggest that this may be the reason why Stonehenge is located where it is - as the only man-made construction in this geomantic message about calendar wisdom? (Figure 5.2, Sun, Moon & Stonehenge, page 76)

Eclipse Prediction

Anyone who has ever tried to make a model of how the Sun and Moon move around the Zodiac will end up, most simply, with a circle of 28 markers around a central earth. Moving a 'Moon-marker' one position per day and a 'Sun-marker' once every 13 days, provides a calendar accurate to 98%. (Figure 3.3, Sun, Moon & Stonehenge, page 52)

Every year, for about 34 days, the full and new moons occur near the Sun's path (the ecliptic) and eclipses result. These two times, which are 173 days apart, move backwards around the calendar taking 18.6 years to complete a revolution. The precise two points where the moon crosses the apparent path of the sun through the zodiac ( the ecliptic) are called the lunar nodes.

By doubling the sun-moon calendar to 56 markers, we can obtain an accuracy of 99.8%, and meet the handy convenience that 18.6 x 3 is almost the same as 28 x 2. Now a 3:2 ratio enables eclipses to be predicted to high accuracy, as the picture shows. (Figure 3.6, Sun, Moon & Stonehenge, page 58)

For the past twelve years I have been running a model of the 'Aubrey Calendar'. It has predicted lunar and solar eclipses accurately to the day, shown instantly the position of the sun and moon against the stars, indicated lunar phase at a glance and, with a 24 hour clock placed in the centre, enabled the state of the tides to be known.

Thus it is, that my ambition to produce a 'Service Manual' for Stonehenge has borne some fruit in the twelve years I have been researching the megalithic culture. Readers who wish to understand more are invited to read one of my books:

- Sun, Moon & Stonehenge (Published by Bluestone Press, 1999, Cwm, St Dogmaels, Cardigan, Pembrokeshire, Wales, SA43 3JF. Softback, 256 pages, colour cover. RRP (UK) £12.99)
- A Key to Stonehenge (Bluestone Press, 1993, out of print)
- Stonehenge (Wooden Books, 2000)
- A Beginner's Guide to Stone Circles (Hodder & Stoughton, 1999)
- Sun, Moon & Earth (Wooden Books, 1999)

My email address is You may order signed copies of the above books here. Please be brief. I am also able to undertake lecturing and demonstration seminars, based on a large collection of working and practically based models. In the first instance please inquire via the email address above.

APPENDIX: Exploring Preliterate Sources of Astrology

All of our astrology originated from astronomical observation. Similarly, the derivation of a mythology concerning the interactions of planetary gods can only come about when the cycles of those gods are understood by a culture. For example, correlations of the orbital behaviour of Mars with events on Earth can only be integrated after Mars has been observed for a considerable length of time. Thus, the corpus of information linking Mars and what we would call "Martian events" and "Martian behavioural patterns" can be "read" from a direct and non-abstracted table of observations, which, presumably, has been compared side by side with contemporary events. From such things, astrology was almost certainly born.

In the Sumerian cultures, we can trace these former tables of planetary motion back to almost the third millennium B.C.E., along with other tables, also inscribed on clay tablets, which cover the essential mathematical functions - reciprocation, squares, square roots, cubes, and so on.[1]  Here we can discover records for hundreds of years concerning the orbital placements of the luminaries and the visible planets.[2]  This correlation and this historical record are not in doubt simply because the culture involved - from which we derive nearly all of our astrological root sources - possessed two advantages. The first was earned. The Babylonian culture wrote things down - they were literate. The second advantage was fortuitous. In addition to writing, they were lucky enough to use as a writing medium something that has withstood over 4,000 years of aging without rotting away or severely deteriorating - clay tables that have endured the passage of time very well indeed. Bark books and papyri have not.

Many Eggs and Many Baskets

Historical commentary tells us that other contemporary cultures probably were not literate at this time; therefore, no one bothers to look very hard for any vehicle that would have preserved the cultural artifacts and traditions of these cultures. Thus, it is widely believed that they never wrote anything down because they could not write. And so we go on believing that Western culture began with writing, and therefore, began with the clever lot in Mesopotamia, thence via Egypt to Greece and Rome.

This is a pretty and cozy myth, and one that is obviously wearing thin. Long before 2,000 B.C.E., there was a complete cultural flowering in Northwestern Europe that built enduring stone monuments instead of writing on clay tablets. These monuments have been shown to relate to astronomical alignments, particularly of the Sun and Moon cycles. Yet, so far, hardly anyone has taken the trouble to read what this unusual form of "writing" is telling us. Western astrologers still prefer to look eastward for their cultural parenting; the rest of the world also prefers to remain comfortable with the other cultural and biblical remnants of the Middle East. We all go on measuring time using Babylonian sexigesimal (60-based) arithmetic. We all measure angles using Babylonian degrees (which tell us that there are 360 days in the year). And we all use calendars based on a Roman design that produces irrational numbers all over the place when one attempts to divide weeks of seven days into it, twelve months into it, or four (seasons or weeks in the month, take your choice) into it.

As a form of preserving or pickling important cultural information, we forget with ready amnesia that there was an oral tradition that was ever so strong in Britain, Ireland, and along the Celtic seaboard. Clay tablets are obviously hardware (to use our contemporaneous term for such things), and more so are megalithic monuments, whilst the myths and legends of Celtic and proto-Celtic history are software. It is suggested that we can rerun the original program only through the interface of someone who understands how to load this software into the original computer. Whilst today we prefer silicon semiconductor slices to define our hardware, putting Intel Inside our software-recall machines, there is not one of us who would not recognise the importance of the software in making the machine perform. Yet how many astrologers ever break free and search for the nuggets of gold that lie within the oral traditions and stone circles of those first astronomers of Northwest Europe? Before 3,000 B.C.E., these astronomers had erected huge monuments that show they understood all the salient motions of the Moon, including the 18.62-year nodal period and the 9-minute declination wobble. What can these monuments - this colossal hardware - and these oral traditions tell us about astrology? Shall we try and run some of this ancient program?

The Myth of the Solar Hero

There are many myths that deal with the myth of the solar hero, and our psychological astrology has embraced the Sun in this context. As one positive consequence, we are now all encouraged to be heroes, whose chart placement of the Sun by sign, house, and aspect can tell us much about the kind of journey and territory our heroic quest will take. We use the twelve-sign, allegedly Sumerian, zodiac. Our houses are usually mortgaged with the Placidean Building Society, and our aspects are all based on the division of the year-circle by whole numbers. Only this latter technique may be found demonstrated within the megalithic cultures - indeed they were apparently obsessed with such things. Their geometry appears to have been more important to them than writing. So, what can we possibly glean from looking at their hero myths? Quite a lot!

The very ancient stories of the Tuatha de Danaan in Ireland tell us that the first battle of Mag Tuired was fought by their saviour-hero Lug and 32 other leaders. Alongside this, we may also read of the company of 33 men, all apparently 32 years of age, who sit at the tables in the other-world island castle in Perlesvaus. In the same vein, Nemed, another hero, reached Ireland with only one ship, having lost 33 on the way; Cuculainn slays 33 of the Labriads in the Bru battle, whilst a late account of the second battle of Mag Tuired names 33 leaders of the Fomore - 32 plus their highest king.

This material contains one clear and obvious common theme. Repeatedly, it hammers home what was an originally oral message, which told the knowing listener to look to the number 33 as something relevant to a hero, a saviour. In the analysis of the Welsh White Book of Rhydderch, we read that, "Both three and eleven were equally symbolic, the multiplicant thirty-three particularly so. It has frequently been used to imply supra-human attributes, regal authority and deification."

This is very interesting, if only because the Western world has, for nearly two millennia, chosen to base its own hero myth, and hence its belief system, on the story of Jesus. Here, our solar hero, "officially" born very appropriately at the winter solstice, dies and is resurrected at 33 years of age. Immediately, we recognise that this story has commonality with the earlier European oral traditions, and immediately we can begin to do some original research - a megalithic or preliterate Project Hindsight, if you like. So, what is a biblical account of a major hero within a major world religion doing drawing attention to the same number 33 that Irish and British heroes were resonating to over 2,000 years previously? The plot thickens!

Our first clues are an obvious solar hero myth; a repeated number, 33; and a resurrection after 33 years. There are some other suggested clues, the main one being that the major activity taking place in Western Europe when the oldest stories associated with this myth are thought to have originated was coincident with the beginning of cultural astronomy through the accurate placement of huge stone monoliths and the erection of calendar buildings. Time and again, these are shown to relate to extreme Sun and Moon risings and settings against the local horizon.

Marking the Resurrection

The practical solar year is 365 days long. I say practical because folks who haven't ever thought the matter through will often tell you there are 365 and a quarter days in the year. This is abstracted cerebral slush - one can never experience a quarter day, and years come in packets containing 365 days, except that every fourth year an extra day slips in to make it 366 days. In four years there are thus 1,461 days. It is fairly easy to observe the Sun's behaviour and thereby measure this number. Anyone who attempts this task will immediately be pitched into the correct mental space to solve our solar hero problem.

An equinoctial sunrise marker, of which many still exist on moorland and fell, will, each year, deliver the vernal equinox sunrise from a slightly different position on the horizon. The quarter "day" effect means that each year the Sun is displaced about a quarter of a (Babylonian) degree from the marker stone, which is as easy to measure as the gap between the two asterisks at the end of this sentence (* *). During three years of observation, the Sun appears to be slipping ever more away from the alignment until, at the fourth year, two remarkable and very observable things happen simultaneously: the Sun rises more closely to the marker stone when the day count - the tally - for the year is found to be 366, not 365, days.

Observation does not stop there. A good human eye can detect much more minuscule angular changes than a quarter of a degree [3]  from watching sunrises. And although we may wonder why our present history books waffle and flounder along with apocryphal stories about heliacal risings of Sirius offering the Egyptians a 360-day year, the truth about solar-year measurements done at the equinox is that one always gets 365 days, unless sustained observations are done over many years, whence, after four years, you have the 365.25 days that our present calendar is based upon.[4] 

For longer time periods, something else happens. Every once in a whole number of years, one gets the chance to obtain the year to even more precise accuracy by observing certain key years when, once again, the Sun rises precisely behind the foresight, be this a stone marker or a distant mountain peak - in other words, a perfect repeat solar cycle.

In our modern mathematical world, we can calculate in advance when these important years are going to occur. But this is only because we can look up the exact length of the solar tropical year within astronomical constant books, and because we have access to $5 calculators that multiply two numbers together. Historically, in those Babylonian clay tablets, we can find precision arithmetical tables dating back into the megalithic era we are dealing with. However, we daren't assume, on present evidence, that ancient Europeans were capable of multiplying two numbers. What we may assume, courtesy of their enduring architecture, is that they at least knew the length of the solar year to two decimal places. They could do this by marking 1461 equal lengths on a rope - the tally count of days in four years - and then folding it in half twice to get 365.25. The 1461 is a given - gleaned from simple observation and tally counting over four years.

As astrologers, we are supposed to be very interested in cycles, aren't we? When that cycle involves our Sun, one might expect us to be even more interested. So here's a long-term Sun cycle we all appear to have forgotten - after 33 years one can observe an exact repeat of the original equinoctial rising behind the marker stone. Those of you who own computers can quickly check out this "super" solar return chart for your 33rd birthday. You'll find that the houses - the horizon alignments - are all aligned much as they were for your natal chart. To a megalithic soul, this same phenomenon would have translated as an exact repeat rising (or setting) behind a marker.

Here we appear to have the solution to our original riddle. Our adopted cultural solar hero, Jesus, at age 33, rose from the dead, witnessed at "the rising of the sun" [5]  by Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus.[6]  They noticed that the large stone standing in the entrance of the tomb, which held the body of our erstwhile dead hero, had been rolled away. This is enough evidence to link the astronomical phenomenon to the scriptural account, although these latter texts also inform us that this particular resurrection took place at Easter - a festival tagged onto the much older one of the equinox, which then locates the marker, and hence the sunrise in question, as being exactly due East of the observer.

A Plagiarised Resurrection

Whatever else these over-translated, censored, and strange gospels tell us about the life of Jesus, the resurrection story does concern itself with a solar hero rising again at the same place with the sunrise, at Easter, after 33 years. There is a very large stone blocking the tomb - the entrance to the underworld - which rolls away to reveal the resurrected form and his entrance back into the visible world. Thus, this simple research would apparently seem to have solved our task about why the number 33 assumed such importance in folklore and the oral traditions, many of which probably date back to the late Stone Age. What we have also done, of course, is to stir up a potential hornet's nest, because it is now suggested that the Jesus story, whatever else it may be for Christians around the world, rides on the back of an historical and astronomical account of what have come to be called pagan practices in megalithic Europe. Ironically, those very same practices were stamped out ruthlessly by the later Christian Church.

The Need to Explore Alternative Cultural Sources

Unless we include this European megalithic dimension within our cultural paradigm, we cannot really understand the inner meaning of these scriptures, and, therefore, we must ask a vitally important question: what else are we failing to understand for the same lack of interest in such material? Similarly, as astrologers, unless we understand something of the culture of this original source of astronomical data, we are unlikely to ever understand certain cycles within our own specialism, which have now become abstracted within ephem- erides and computer programs. The direct experience of observing Sun and Moon rises and sets produces strange effects on modern western folk, effects the author has both experienced and observed over the past twelve years in himself and his clients.

So, what was your solar super-return at 33 years all about? Set it up and you will discover that the Ascendant and, therefore, the houses are also returned to the same place. That's a strong return, isn't it - ignore it at your peril! I took my Faculty of Astrological Studies examinations on my 33rd solar return, an event that altered the course of my life. You have just read one of the outcomes from these changes.

Important Solar Returns behind a Horizon Alignment

Number of Years Number of Days Time Difference from Whole Number
4 1,460.968796 45 minutes
21 7,670.086179 124 minutes
33 12,052.99257 10.7 minutes (18 seconds of a degree)
62 22,645.01634 23.53 minutes

The tropical solar year is 365.242199 days in length. (Source: Sir H. Spencer Jones, General Astronomy, London: Edward Arnold, 1922 (3rd edition 1951.) Multiply this by whole numbers (of years) and look for products where the fractional part of the result tends toward zero or one. There are several contenders, shown above.

The daily angular sunrise change along the horizon in Southern Britain at the equinox is about 0.7degrees. This is considerably more than one solar disc diameter (about 0.6 degrees).

References and Notes

[1]  See Evan Hadingham, Early Man and the Cosmos, London: Heinemann, 1983. « Text

[2]  Ibid., p. 13. « Text

[3]  Alexander Thom quotes a 40th of a degree as demonstrable resolution at megalithic sites incorporating long foresights to distant peaks. See Alexander Thom, Megalithic Sites in Britain, Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, p. 168. « Text

[4]  The astronomer, J. Norman Lockyer, wrote in The Dawn of Astronomy, (Cambridge), pp. 245-246, "Had ignorance led to the establishment of a year of 360 days, yet experience would have led to its rejection in a few years... If observations of the Sun at solstice or equinox had been alone made use of, the true length of the year would have been determined in a few years." The hoary old chestnut about the Egyptians measuring the length of the year by observing the heliacal rising of Sirius, which marked the commencement of the annual Nile flood, is also rubbish. Precession would make the synchronicity of these two events drift ever further apart, as one is a sidereal phenomenon and the other tropical or seasonal. « Text

[5]  Matthew [Ch. 28;1] says, " it began to dawn, towards the first day of the week..." This is Sunday morning. « Text

[6]  Here, the use of italics suggest that mother may be taken to mean the origin of the process. In other words, the first measurement or alignment with the stone marker is 33 years previous. « Text

To cite this page:
Robin Heath: Stonehenge (The Marriage of the Sun and Moon)
All rights reserved © 2000 Robin Heath

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