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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Winter Solstice

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

As I mentioned in a recent post, the winter season prompts within me a desire to withdraw and reflect, mirroring the natural rhythm of the earth which so clearly says: let things go, it is time to hibernate.

This year I cocoon with my new baby. Though I have three other children, this new baby was the first b2ap3_thumbnail_December-2014-106.JPGchild whose development and arrival perfectly mirrored the wheel of the year. Conceived during the first month of the new year, taking root in the darkness of winter’s end, beginning to bud during the springtime and coming into full bloom during the summer. And, then, with the season’s spiral turn into fall, when many beautiful things are harvested, his birth: October 30, into my welcoming hands in the sunlight bright morning in my living room. Now, with the steady progress of winter, we curl together in a small, new world. We cocoon in the cave of our own home, the size of the world re-sized to the size of my bed, kitchen table, and rocking chair. This is the fourth trimester, the time in which the baby continues to develop his nervous system and continues to live within the context of the mother’s body. I am his habitat. His place. His home is in my arms.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Arwen Lynch
    Arwen Lynch says #
    Lovely! And what an adorable face he has.
  • Molly
    Molly says #
    Thank you!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Usually I post my own stuff here, but an old friend, and very long time Pagan who wishes to be known to the outside as Priestess Aurora Borealis Medicine Turkey, has written a wonderful poem celebrating Mid-Winter Eve and I want to share it...

The Eve of Midwinter

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    Aurora Borealis is truly a genius in her work.
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Mr. diZerega, Hilarious poem! My thanks for sharing it.
  • Sophie Goldstein
    Sophie Goldstein says #
    Couldn't have said it better myself! Sophia Goldenstone Langwitch Ilkley Moor, W. Yorkshire
Solstice Comes But Once A Year, Now It’s Here! by Carol P. Christ

Actually it comes twice, once in midsummer, the longest day of the year, and once in midwinter, the longest night.  Winter Solstice is also known as the first day of winter.

For those of us attuned to the cycles of Mother Earth, Winter Solstice is a time to celebrate the dark and the transformations that come in the dark. Many of the customs associated with Christmas and Hannukah, including candles, Yule logs, and trees decorated with lights were originally associated with Winter Solstice.  The extra pounds put on during winter feasting were insulation against the cold winter nights.

Those who fear that many of the customs of the Christmas season might be pagan are right.  As we learn again to honor our place within the cycles of birth, death, and regeneration, we return these customs to their roots in the circle of life.

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  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Wonderful post - I'm looking forward to celebrating the return of the dark at Summer Solstice!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Longest Night

I have always loved the colour of the night sky in winter.  It almost never seems entirely black; instead, it blue with refracted gloaming, even at the dark of the moon, even at midnight.  And yet, the stars are never so clear as they are in the midst of winter, as Orion charges out from the horizon to chase Taurus with Canis Major barking at his heels.  The jewel in the Great Dog’s collar, Sirius, sparkles like a radiant prism diamond as it cycles through white, red, green and blue (though of course this is only atmospheric refraction) just over the Southern Horizon; Castor and Pollux wink out of the sky’s zenity; and the Pleiades sparkle like a celestial diamond ring.  Meanwhile, in the Northern Horizon the Dragon rears his head, and the Big and Little Bears point the way.

It’s dark for a long time here above the 49th Parallel at this time of year.  The sun sets at around 3:30 pm and it doesn’t rise again until almost 8:30 in the morning.  That’s seventeen hours worth of night.  I find it challenging to deal with.  But it gives you a long time to contemplate the stars and the celestial mysteries.  Maybe that long night is part of the reason why the stars are so clear; there’s so much less sunlight leaking into the sky by the time one considers the stars in winter.  Or maybe it’s because high-pressure fronts coming down from the Arctic Circle chase the clouds away and the sky opens up to reveal the vastness of the celestial firmament.

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  • Martin
    Martin says #
    I often find the winter months trying, so I enjoy reading works like this. Thank you for taking the the time to brighten my dark

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Walk the Winter Solstice

Here’s a cool yule idea for you: get outside! Winter Solstice hikes are all the rage, and there are many to choose from; sponsored by area state parks, conservatories, and small businesses. Have your troop meet you at your destination site for the scheduled walk. Revel in the crisp winter air, and observe the magical changes Mother Nature has woven around you. I cannot stress this enough – layers, layers, layers. You can never have too many, and you can always wrap something around your waist, shoulders, or neck if you need to make a temperature adjustment. Don’t worry about hat hair. This really isn’t a time of year for the overly fashion-conscious. By partaking in this healthy ritual, you are embracing the colder season, not fighting it. Chances are good that you will also work up a deserved thirst and appetite.

If your band of merry travelers wish to continue celebrating with an after-party, invite them over to your place for hot cocoa, cider, and mulled wine. Keep it easy and informal. Have a cookie exchange, where people can bring over some of their excess baked treats to share. (There are always an excess of goodies in folks’ homes this time of year!) Be sure to supply plenty of candles on hand, so that everyone has one to light. 

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

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“Only in the deepest silence of night
the stars smile and whisper among themselves.”
–Rabindranath Tagore

(quoted in Dear Heart, Come Home page 52)

As I prepare our family's winter solstice ritual for this Sunday evening, I feel moved to share our family's tradition and ritual process. I'd love to hear from readers in the comments with their own family traditions! We have celebrated the winter solstice together as our primary family ritual for the last eleven years. There are several elements that remain constant from year to year and other elements that vary based on new ideas or projects that we decide to incorporate for that year.

The following is a brief explanation of three of our core traditions, which is then followed by a full ritual outline for this year's ceremony! Make sure to read through to the end of my ritual outline for links to even more posts with further ideas and information.

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