At this time when we celebrate the end of the previous year, and the beginning of a new one, let’s take a moment to think of how this is marked out in nature…
And even if you missed out on celebrating his on December 21st (as did we) – and maybe especially then, it is still worthwhile to actively connect to these ideas in your life. Just find a moment for yourself during these obligation-filled final weeks of the year to actively connect to nature’s rhythms. Make it your act of magic to bring back the sun!
This post describes some of the symbolism connected to this date. If you want to celebrate, simply begin by tuning into the spirit of the season and feel the young newborn sun. And remember that in the otherworld, time works differently, so let this be your solstice day…
In addition to being an actual day that the winter solstice falls on, there is also the time. In 2019 it happens at 4.19 am GMT on December 22nd and 11.19pm EST on December 21st. This is the time when the sun shines directly over the tropic of Capricorn. Regardless of where you live, this moment happens at the same time all over the world. Obviously dates and times will be different depending on the time zone you live in. But the planetary movement is exact in its position. I know that some people like to be very exact in when and where they celebrate the solstices, So I hope this information is helpful to you.
As this time approaches it is good to look back on what has happened over the last 12 months and spend the actual Solstice time underlining that and Preparing to move on into the light of the new year. The sun is reborn and days will gradually get longer. We will go from having spent a lot of time indoors to gradually moving back out into the fresh air and sunshine as once again the year turns.
The apparent death of the light on this the shortest day would have had a huge impact on our ancestors, and often meant the difference between starvation and making it through a hard winter. Traditionally Yule logs were burnt to represent keeping the light alive, the tradition is still carried on today by older farming families. The best tree to use was always ash and a piece of it was kept for the following year to light the next solstice fire. The log was dressed in greenery and covered in Cider before being burnt as an offering to the Gods of hearth and home.
In more modern times some remarkable things have happened on this day over the centuries:
- The Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth on Dec 21st 1620 and were welcomed to practice their own religion in peace.
- In 1898 Pierre and Marie Curie discovered Radium, ushering in the atomic age.
- On December 21st 1968 launched, becoming the first manned moon mission.
It will be interesting to find out what other things are going to happen on this Solstice.
In The UK it is interesting to note that Stonehenge is aligned to the Sunset of the Solstice, while in Newgrange, Ireland, The tombs of Brú na Bóinne lines up with Sunrise. Why they are aligned this way is still the subject of debate and we may never know for sure.
In some countries people believe that dark spirits walk the earth on the Solstice and the people gather together in crowds to keep themselves safe. They spend the time indoors, drinking and feasting while waiting for the Sun to return, when they can safely go outside alone.
Others gather together to celebrate the rebirth of the ‘Sun King’, while his alter ego the ‘Holly King’ is laid to rest, before returning again in the summer to do battle for the land.
Many people spend their time in Winter, doing crafts, writing or painting or planning ahead for the coming year. They celebrate the ‘festive season’, visiting relatives and friends, exchanging gifts and news. They then return to their own homes, ready to take on the new year and its new demands. Those that have spent the darker times of winter preparing a ‘new venture’, can gradually bring it out into the light as the sun becomes stronger and the year advances.. It is a really good time to start something new and exciting.
Whichever method of celebration you choose to partake of remember the spirits of the land and its animals and invite them to be a part of it, for without their presence there is no real celebration as they are as important to us as we are to them.
This is a good time to put food out for the birds, to thank them for their songs in summer, an offering of milk and honey to the fey folk and to have a good look around at the land you live on. How many trees are close to you? Stripped of their leaves you can see the beauty of their natural form and shape, something we often miss in summer when it is obscured by their glorious greenery.
Just as the trees come in all shapes and sizes, so do we, but we all share the same love of the world we live on and desires to do a bit better this year than we did last year. Let’s make this the year, the year we achieve our goals, why wait any longer? The time is now and the power is yours. Blessings to all life in all forms, may your days be long and happy ones.