Happy Winter Solstice

See: Window to the Universe for more info.

I had a long conversation with the folks at "Reclusive Leftist" about the Winter Solstice and repeat it here today on this great Earth Holy Day. BTW, Suzie has a beautiful post on the Winter Solstice at Echidne of the Snakes.

I am Wishing everyone a Happy Sun's Birthday today. Listen to the Wreath Song here.

Here are my thoughts on the meaning of the solstice in our human lives under the philosophy "that as it is above; so it is below".

Greenconsciousness says:

Why not, as a secular nation, celebrate the Winter Solstice which is REAL (instead of religious beliefs)? Our national holiday should be the Winter Solstice not Christmas or any religious holiday although I welcome the religions to celebrate and am happy they do acknowledge this time in their own traditions.

That would teach us something about the natural world, the sun and our planet, the tilt and the orbit and why we have seasons.

Why not have the children in public schools dress up as the sun (with a flashlight or lantern a strong light)and the other children as the earth, her moon and the other planets; all enacting the orbit. A child carrying the earth globe at a tilt orbits around a child holding a flashlight or halogen light. The moon circling the earth. A reenactment of the great Dance. Perhaps outdoors the tilted earth could orbit around a campfire.

Winter Solstice is Dec 21 -the darkest day — longest night --- after which comes the coldest time of the year because the sun has been withdrawing and we are losing its’ warmth since the Summer Solstice on June 21. Now it is the farthest away from earth in its orbit and its tilt.

(This year, I feel the sun has been returning a few weeks early).

Change and return; extremes and balance. This is the true meaning of the seasons and their relation to human life.

Winter Solstice is the dark night in nature and symbolizes the dark night of the Soul. When everything dies and when it all becomes the worst worst - the darkest time, when the hours of dark are twice that of the light time - the days are the shortest in light, nights longest in dark time - when all of this peaks --that day is the Winter Solstice. Usually, Dec 21-22. Often called the first day of winter.

The meaning associated with the Winter Solstice is that the next day the light begins its return. Even though this will be the coldest time and the cruelest time every day will be a little more light until we begin to notice the light at Feb 1 at Groundhog day. This is important because the light when strong enough, will warm the earth.

On Winter Solstice DAY, the SUN is born again even though it is the darkest time. And even though we will be cold, the sun is imperceptibly beginning to warm the earth.

Not the Son but the SUN is the savior of us all. The pagans knew it and celebrated the Sun's return. All earth holidays celebrate light AND dark, their alternation, and their relationship.

Every month pagans celebrated the relationship of the sun and the moon, waxing, waning, light to dark, and we all should be aware of these cycles.

The evergreen is the symbol of this period. The evergreen is the symbol of life in seeming death because the evergreen never loses its green. It reminds us that the light and abundance will return.

Don’t kill any evergreens and bring in them in your house to die slowly. This might symbolize the Christian's dying god of pain and sacrifice (and waste).

It is not good to cut down the evergreen tree because then it is transformed into a death symbol - death without rebirth. At least put it outside afterward for animal shelter or mulch.

Best of all is to go outside to honor the evergreen with all your friends and family; hang lights on it to welcome the lights return. Hang food (for the birds and critters), lights, and decorations on a live one outside or get a live one to plant in the spring and decorate that.

It is better to have an artificial tree you made inside, cloth, (satin to brocade to flannel ) wire, ceramic, or
discarded pine boughs wreaths as a symbol in the house because it is hard to keep an evergreen alive in the house; you have to mist them alot. The best thing I saw on TV is a live tree farmer who brings the same tree every year to a family who pays 30 to 90 dollars for the treat. He keeps them alive in pots all year to be indoors for a few weeks during the holiday season. People buying the service said they hated the waste and love trees. It is in England - sort of an adopt a tree program.

All my good wishes to you — you do not have to decorate — or celebrate — but it is good and fun to do so. The quiet and meditation and soft singing and good friends and sharing your bounty is all good now. The harvest is stored and there is no more outer work to do. Maintenance is the lesson until the Spring Equinox when we begin the outer work again.

You can be in the dark night of the soul all during this season - that is natural –all the celebration is supposed to help people through this time; but it has somewhat lost its’ meaning and sometimes becomes a burden.

If you are grieving and feeling loss, try to remember that the light will return after the dark time — because you are part of nature and THE RETURN is nature’s way.
Yttik says:

I’m currently enmeshed in Candlemas. I know, I’m a couple of months early, but it’s so dark and gloomy out there, I’m having a celebration of light right now.

If I remember right, Candlemas was taken over by the feast of the purification of the virgin. I can’t recall why a virgin must be purified, but I think it had something to do with being contaminated by childbirth. I also can’t remember why giving birth to the son of God would cause you to need purification.

LOL, don’t mind me, I’m half crazy from winter already and this is the time of year the ancient roots of patriarchy really start to get on my nerves.


Greenconsciousness says: Yttik


First the darkness, then the light; first the cold and then the awakening.

The earth element NEEDS each time. When you try to avoid the dark it just craps up the light.

And Here in Your culture, the New Age, and your body and soul and subconscious; Candle Mass is also known as First Light.

Greenconsciousness says:

The Earth Holidays are celebrated on the quarter days and the cross quarter days which are half way between the quarters. The earth holidays are not Wiccan but older. All religious holidays are a spin off of them because the people would not give up marking these times which were important in their lives.

The earth holidays are about the light which is seen as the friend and how to use the dark. All together they are called the great wheel (click on the name of a holiday). The holidays are their reverse in the southern hemisphere.

The wheel, in the Northern Hemisphere:

Winter Solstice - Dec 21
First Light (groundhog day) Feb 2
Spring Equinox March 21
May Day (first flowers) May 1
Summer Solstice June 21
First Fruit - Aug 1 (First Harvest)
Autumnal Equinox Sept 21 (Full Harvest - Thanksgiving)
All Hallows Eve (Last Harvest) Oct 31

I have always believed that these are the holidays our govt should officially recognize and celebrate as a country, because we are a secular country. Religious holidays should be celebrated privately by the religions. But we, as a people, could find unity and education by recognizing where we are in relation to the earth’s orbit and our food cycle. The schools could educate about science and biology with plays and costumes where the children dress in costumes of the planets and the sun and mimic the orbits.

Or they can dress as leaf, plant and evergreen; sing and make poetry. So much beauty lost while people fight over merry Xmas vs happy holiday.

Greenconsciousness says: yttik

Thinking about you –you do know all the rituals and re enactments on the 21 are about the birth of the SUN more than the darkness. About the sun’s beginning journey of Return — how the heart decides to come back before the ego knows it - that the struggle is not without worth.

That is why all the LIGHTS everywhere — colored lights decorating the outside in honor of the suns return to encourage people to remember. So light your candles at the Winter Solstice — you don’t have to wait for First Light. Just recognize that birth is long and the light IS returning during the cold, long before it can be seen or felt.


Samanthasmom says: Greenconsciousness,

For those of us who live in the northern hemisphere, the sun is actually at its closest point to us on the winter solstice and farthest away at summer solstice, and it’s the opposite in the southern hemisphere. I would love for children to become more in tune with the motion of our planet and its position in the universe. Not only would it make them more knowledgeable, it would also foster some humility.


Greenconsciousness says: Samanthas mom

Hi I like your dog (named Samantha). At the winter solstice in the NH, the earth is tilted away from the sun. (This is correct)

I also thought the earth was at its farthest point in its oval orbit around the sun (but SMom is right and I was wrong).

This is why I wish we celebrated as a nation the natural world. For the explanations. For the melding of the group mind.


For five days we could have scientists talking about this and doing visual graphics on TV instead of the mind numbing BS as usual. When I say celebrate, Violet, I do not mean acknowledge. I mean the Big Deal.

I would like to see a reversal of the emphasis on Xmas et all and give it to the Winter Solstice complete with media obsession, explanations, celebration, song and ritual.

I would like to see Dioramas of every State’s position in relation to the Sun in the State capitals instead of the nativity scenes. No 100 year old evergreens cut down to be dragged to Wash DC, but the US president traveling to the forest to honor its’ life.

Evergreens Planted at the Spring Equinox and decorated at the Winter Solstice.
samanthasmom says: Greenconsciousness,

Samantha is my best friend. She has a seizure disorder, but for a long time we had them under control. Then they started up again but much worse than before. Just before Thanksgiving her vet added KBr to her drugs, and she’s been seizure free since. Not long enough to relax again, but we’re hopeful.

I majored in physics in college with a concentration in astronomy. The first time I got the chance to see the sky through a powerful telescope, we pointed it to the nebula in the constellation Orion. When the prof asked us what we were thinking as we gazed at the giant “star nursery”, I told him I was feeling totally insignificant. It’s a feeling I tried to replicate for my students when I taught. Humility when you’re 13 or 14 is a good thing to experience. I would have loved to have a celebration of the winter solstice in my class, but I would have had parents complaining that I was teaching witchcraft.

These days I design online curriculum courses and materials. I’m currently working on a high school level course whose working title is, “What if the Earth Could Talk?”

Samantha's mom was correct about everything she said. Gotta love those teachers!!!


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