Most people think of the Winter Solstice, also known as the first day of Winter, as the shortest and darkest day of the year. This is because the Sun’s light has been decreasing since its peak six months ago at the Summer Solstice. But it is at this depth of darkness that the Sun is reborn, bringing with it an increase in light and illumination. This yearly cycle of the death and rebirth of the Sun has been celebrated for millennium, and represents the birth, death, and rebirth that marks the dance of life on earth.
The celebration of Christmas was linked to the Winter Solstice since Jesus represented the birth of the Son that promised to bring the Christ light on earth. And it was the Magi, Astrologers from Persia, who recognized the Star of Bethlehem as heralding the time, place, and importance of his birth. It may be dark and cold outside, but the Winter Solstice and Christmas point to the knowledge that the seeds of life are alive under the hard earth, ready to rise up when the days become warm again. Life, like the Sun, is never ending and always renewing. Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, is also around this same time. This year Hanukkah begins at sundown on December 20th and commemorates the re-dedication of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. Lighting the candles of the Menorah over the eight days of Hanukkah is a very special ceremony of remembering the light.
During this holy season remember your internal light, the light of the Son/Sun. Winter gives us many opportunities to remember the light within and to find a way to give it birth. Houses are illuminated with tiny lights during the dark winter nights. In our homes we build fires that bring warmth and comfort to the coldest part of the year. Every time you light a candle this winter, take a moment and remind yourself of the light within all life. This is a good reminder that no matter how dark it may look, that the light will come again.
NEW MOON December 24th
The Winter Solstice occurs when the Sun moves from the zodiac sign of Sagittarius into Capricorn. The Moon also moves into Capricorn on December 24th. When the Sun and Moon are together in the same sign, an event that occurs every month, it is known as the New Moon. The New Moon is a time of new beginnings. Since the New Moon takes place in Capricorn, a solid and practical earth sign, take some time on December 24th to think about what you want to bring forth in the area of real, practical, concrete actions. Consider what type of structure you need to create in your life to bring you success in some physical aspect of your life: exercise, job, healthy eating, cleaning your house, fixing up your home, changing your career, and so on.
NEW YEAR 2012
These questions are the perfect thing to ponder as you head into the New Year, one of my favorite rituals of new beginnings. This New Year Eve be a bit reflective and think about what the last year was like. What were your successes, challenges, accomplishments? Then on New Year’s Day, take some time to think about the upcoming year, 2012, and set some broad visions for what you want this new year to be. Then develop some concrete action steps to bring those visions to action.
In Mexico many Mayan cities are starting a year long celebration leading toward December 21st, 2012. They are seeing that date as a time of renewal, not an ending. Popular culture and the media have hijacked the end date on the Mayan calendar as a time to spread fear. But most Mayans and archeologist see that date as referring to the end of one age, and the beginning of another. Much like the end of the Age of Pisces and the beginning of the Age of Aquarius. Many Mayan priests will burn incense, chant, and offer prayers for the new era that will begin very soon. Imagine the world you want to see at this time next year. Think about what you want to be celebrating on December 21st, 2012. Keep a positive vision for the world and take practical actions to manifest that vision. Doom and gloom forecasts only create more doom and gloom. Resist the power of the dark side!! Bring the light into your heart and let the force be with you. Let this year of 2012 be the year that you step out fully and bring all your gifts, no matter how big or how small, into the world. We all need each other doing all we can in order to make this new era one of peace, justice, and unity. Just for starters, Egypt just had the largest women’s demonstration in their history as thousands of women marched through Cairo on Tuesday calling for an end to military rule. You go girls! Let’s all step up to the call like we never have before in order to bring a wise and caring feminine vision to the world so clearly in need of a new way.