THE LONG DARK OF WINTER SOLSTICE UNLOCKS THE DOOR TO DAYS OF GRADUALLY INCREASING LIGHT
Winter Solstice represents a pivotal highlight of the year, the Rebirth of Light. Fresh starts, nascent potentials and renewed ideas invigorate our consciousness.
In the months approaching Winter Solstice (on the 21st of December), we commute to and from our day jobs in gradually deepening darkness; we live in a world of diminished vigor where sedentary activities allow time for reflection and respite. We prefer to hibernate in our warm dens and reassess our motives and goals.
Night descends upon us by five o’clock in the afternoon and shrouds our dawns until seven am. We become familiar with the light of the moon and stars; our eyes adjust to seeing through the shadows, we startle at the brilliance of sunrise in our eyes as we set to work; we can become confused about Time and whether we are coming or going.
At last, on the moment when Sun enters the sign of Capricorn, Winter Solstice arrives to unlock the gates to a gradual return to the full Light of Day. It is not instantaneous, for if it were we would become blinded by the sudden illumination. The shift is subtle, from dim to bright, and our moods gradually adjust to a sense of enlightenment, new potentials, renewed vigor.
Winter Solstice has been a high holiday for folks all over the world since the dawn of time… Christmas, the Christian celebration of the birth of Christ as the “Light of the World”, was arbitrarily set to fall within the period of this revered celestial moment. The choice for December 25th was based on the idea that by making it closely associated with the traditional pagan time of celebration, people would be more easily converted into the practice of the Church. Consequently, over time, many of the traditional symbols of Solstice were co-opted into the Christian holy-day.
Evergreen trees symbolized steady growth through dark times and the promise of renewal and long life. Celebrants used fire in the form of candles, torches, lanterns and bonfires to express the idea of “Light Renewed”. Decorations applied to the greens of trees invited the spirits and immortals to partake in the celebration. The exchange of gifts between tribal leaders initially stood for the forging of ties and assured cooperation in the face of threats from enemies and unknown forces.
The Winter Solstice begins as the Sun enters the sign of Capricorn… an Earth Sign: practical, down to earth, stable and cautious energy. It is a time for reassessing our direction, re-examining our goals, and resetting our plans and schedules for the new year of renewed light. We are about to embark upon some new paths and unfamiliar terrain, even within our familiar sphere, for with the reawakened light things will appear different. We ourselves will have subtly changed. Our situation will have shifted from what we remember, and we need to be prepared to restart our journey on some deeper understandings gleaned while wandering through the dark of Winter Solstice.