Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Winter Solstice

Every winter,
When the great sun has turned his face away,
The earth goes down into a vale of grief,
And fasts, and weeps, and shrouds herself in sables,
Leaving her wedding-garlands to decay -
Then leaps in spring to his returning kisses.

-Charles Kingsley-

For thousands of years, almost every civilization has celebrated the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. This is the time when life retreats from the earth when the Lord of Death is most apparent, but it is also a time to celebrate the new life that is born from death.  Long ago, people feared that the sunlight would not come back again. or those ancient people in their completely natural environment it marked the end of the long dark days, the freezing cold nights, the hard barren earth. Solstice means, "When the Sun stands still." They began the tradition of burning yule logs to help bring back the light.  

For people throughout the ages—from the ancient Egyptians and Celts to the Hopi—midwinter has been a significant time of ritual, reflection, and renewal.  Although three months of winter still lay ahead, each coming day will have a little bit more sunlight signaling the coming of spring. In celebrating the Solstice we celebrate the seasons of change and honor Mother Earth. Throughout  many regions of the world, peoples have marked the Winter Solstice as a yearly cycle of life. It is a turning point, a time for reflection on the past and for hope in the future. 

At Winter Solstice, the Oak King brings the opportunity to be reborn and begin new life.  Traditional celebrations usually include fire, light, and quiet contemplation. This year, my quiet celebration will contain all from my candles, light from my tree, and quiet contemplation of the year that passed and the year that is yet to come, a time of acknowledging the passing of the year, a time of reflection and looking forward.  It is a time for deep reflections; and of looking back over your past experiences, and planning changes to assure a better future.

It is the darkest day of the year, when we fold ourselves like feathered birds gazing at the inside of a candle flame, at the small sparks of humanity, the place of light.--Louise Nayer

Happy Summer Solstice to my friends in the Southern Hemisphere.  As you celebrate your 'longest' day of the year may you have love, peace, and joy.


  1. Solstice blessings to you, Mary, and your family too!

  2. Happy Yule! Happy Winter Solstice!!!

    And Merry Christmas too. ,-)

    "Did you ever wonder about the Victorian version of sugarplums dancing around every one's head in "A Visit From St. Nicholas"? Sugarplums were exotic sweetmeats, a combination of fruit and nuts, traditionally available only during the holidays."
    ~~"Mrs. Sharp's Traditions"

  3. I love this poem Mary

    Happy Holidays to you and family

  4. Hope you're settled in now. I'll be sending you and email...