6:38 tonight, at least in our time zone, is officially the Winter Solstice. It is said that the beginning of Winter is the time when the veil between the spirit world and the human is at its thinnest. It is the time of the shortest day and the longest night. For those of us who honor the Solstice, it is a time of reflection, a time to look back at what we did not accomplish during our year’s journey, and a time of looking forward to the New Year, to the return of longer days. This year is especially powerful, as the Solstice occurs during a full moon, as well as on the same day as a full moon lunar eclipse. The moon is a red moon, and the Winter Solstice also occurs this year during the Geminid meteor shower. That’s a LOT of energy.
It is no secret—indeed, it is a well known fact– that Christmas is not the time of the birth of the Jesus of the Christian Bible. Cultures around the world for millennia have celebrated the return of the “sun”. The Romans celebrated Saturnalia, the Persians the birth of the Sun God, Mithra. In 274 AD, the Roman emperor Valerian declared December 25th to be the birthday of Sol Invictus, the Unconquerable Sun. Greeks celebrated Dionysus, who was born in the winter, and sacrificed in the summer during Lenaea. The Egyptians celebrated the death of Osiris during mid-winter (around January 6th on today’s calendar), as well as his resurrection in the Spring. Ancient customs to celebrate the return of the sun were practiced by cultures as diverse as those in China and East Asia (Dong Zhi), by the Incans (Inti Raymi), and by North American indigenous cultures. A brief discussion of the various ways in which the return of the sun was, and is, celebrated can be found here: http://www.religioustolerance.org/winter_solstice.htm
I don’t go all out in celebrating the time of the Winter Solstice, although I know that many people have some wonderful customs and some beautiful ceremonies. I’m pretty much alone up here, especially in how I do things within a spiritual context. So, instead, I use this time to quietly review the past year, and ask myself, “What behaviors do I need to rid myself of in order to grow?”; “What do I need to do in order to grow?” I use this time to symbolically plant the seeds of my dreams and goals, as a time to look within myself to find the crone-wisdom that will see me through the coming year, into the springtime, into the light, where those seeds can grow and flourish. It is a time of quiet, a period of darkness and reflection with the promise of the sun to come.