Blessings of the Winter Solstice be with all of you, sisters and friends.
Today we honor the Winter Solstice also called “The shortest day/longest night of the year”. For many of us who follow a nature based path, or neo-pagan path, this is one of the eight sacred holiday celebrations observed in our “Wheel of the Year“. We honor the turning of the Wheel of the Year by tuning in and aligning our energies with nature and the energies in Her eternal sacred dance of life.
The word solstice means “sun standing still”. The word comes from the Latin sol which means ‘sun’, and the word sistere which means to ‘stand still’. Which is why, personally speaking, I’ve never quite understood as it being “The shortest day/longest night” considering the sun sits still (hence the word solstice meaning “sun standing still” ) in its position for three days after the moment of the solstice. Unless of course, we consider the longest night as being the three days of shortest light. Things to make you go hmm….
In any case, for us here in the northern hemisphere, the winter solstice is when the earth is at the maximum axial or most southern tilt away from the sun where the sun will “stay still” for three days. The sun rises from this spot of stillness but it will make no movement north yet. Finally, on the third day, it makes its first waxing movement north again. The first movement north will fall on December 25th, Christmas day this year. This is when the new light will begin to linger longer. It is the Sacred re-birth of the Sun for our new solar year.
For our Christian friends, this day has metaphorical as well as literal meaning for them. The birth of the savior, the son (sun)of Mary, (Goddess) Jesus’s mother and Queen of Heaven.
For pagans and those who walk a Goddess path, there is no one set mythology and belief we hold to. But the general concept behind most myths, regardless of culture or specific tradition is that a Goddess has given birth to the Sun god again. It would appear that most of religious ideas and concepts, besides coming from an innate need to believe in something greater and bigger than ourselves also comes from revolving around the biggest star of our solar system-The Sun.
Sistere: To Stand Still
The winter solstice is a time to turn inward, to pause and reflect. It is a sacred quiet, twilight and dream time to honor the stillness within. The fairy godmother, sound priestess and mentor, Ariel Spilsbury says, to listen for inner wisdom, we must first “pool the silence.” This is Nature’s invitation for us to do so. Yes, we may feel like we need to hurry up and get the last-minute shopping finished, set food and house preparations for company in for the holiday, but Goddess in all Her infinite wisdom says take this time and, “Be still. Be Silent. Rest.”
Here are just a few ways we can do this:
- Taking 30 deep breaths and exhale. Pause. Release and let go.
- Take a 10 to 15 minute walk around the neighborhood or in your own yard and observe what is going on around you. Allow yourself to be fully present in the moment.
- Turn off the phone, the pc, the telly and curl up on the couch in a blanket, with a hot cuppa and your journal. Burn some incense, play soft music or nothing at all. “Pool the silence” and journal your thoughts,reflections and feelings about this time of year. Allow yourself 15-to 30 minutes. You deserve it.
- Nourish the body and take that nap when you need it.