Page:A Voyage in Space (1913).djvu/214

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appears from the sacrificial stone as though the Sun stood on the top of the big one; and at that moment they used to make their sacrifice. We can still see to-day how impressive a sight that is, if we go to Stonehenge just at sunrise on Midsummer Day. I have not seen it myself, but I am told that hundreds of people assemble in their motorcars to see this great sight.

Of course Stonehenge was not the only place where the Sun came into religious ceremonies. In ancient Egypt they worshipped the Sungod (Ra); and the Sun was used by the priests to consecrate the King in a very striking way, if we may accept the conclusions of some writers. Knowing how it would shine on a particular day, the priests built a special passage in one of the pyramids or temples down which the Sun would only shine just that once in the year, for a moment or two; and they used that knowledge to impress the people when they were going to appoint a new King. They would take the people into the Temple when the Sun was not shining; it was all dark. (At this point the lights in the lecture-room were extinguished.) Then they arranged so as to have the King in the right position, and at the proper moment the Sun would rise and the people saw their new King in the glorious blaze of sunlight! (At this point a beam of light was thrown from a special lantern to illuminate a small boy, dressed in kingly attire, who had been placed on the lecture table in the few moments darkness; his regal bearing was deservedly applauded.)

The first reason for the Sun's importance, then,