, Salem, MA

December 22, 2012

Swampscott solstice ceremony rescheduled due to wind


---- — SWAMPSCOTT — While the world did not end yesterday morning, it was the end for the tent meant to shelter a seaside winter solstice celebration at the Sun Circle sculpture on Preston Beach.

The 7 a.m. ceremony at the oceanfront park was meant to mark the start of winter, with the solstice yesterday taking place at 11:12 a.m., when the northern sun reached its highest point.

The ceremony also coincided with the end of a cycle of the Mayan calendar, a date doomsday theorists have said might herald the apocalypse. The date really marks the end of the 13th baktun of the Mayan calendar, an important milestone, and the start of a new 394-year cycle, according to various online reports.

Yesterday’s ceremony was canceled not by end times, but by a hard driving wind which knocked down a tent set up within the 24-foot diameter Sun Circle meant to shelter participants from the rain. Sacred Site Chairman Don Orne said the celebration has been rescheduled for 7 a.m. today, as he tried to secure poles as the tent flapped in the wind.

About 30 people had assembled for the gathering for a ceremony that celebrates “mystery, art and science,” including Orne ringing a gong, and sculptor Bruce Greenwald and astronomer Jim Keating answering questions about the sculpture and astronomical dynamics, respectively.

For more information about Beach Bluff Park, the Sun Circle, and the Clifton Improvement Association which owns and manages it, go to

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.