Happy Winter Solstice Soul Family!
The Winter Solstice is brimming with the energy of regeneration and rebirth inherent within deep self-reflection. This year we experience the Winter Solstice, and the official transition into the winter season here in the Northern Hemisphere, on Saturday, December 21st at 8:19pm PST. It marks the Sun’s journey through the Earth’s sky back to its southernmost point on the horizon, bringing with it the longest night and shortest day, for this is also when the Sun is at its lowest daily maximum elevation in the sky (see image below).
However, the Winter Solstice also marks the beginning of a rather fascinating astronomical phenomenon—for once it reaches this southernmost point, the Sun appears to stop moving, as though suspended in time, and rises from this same southernmost point for the next 3 days. After this, the Sun moves 1° north, announcing the coming of spring, and continues to move northward on the horizon until the Summer Solstice, when it reaches its highest point.
Many ancient traditions marked the energetic significance of the Winter Solstice, of course, but this 3-day period following it was also acknowledged and honored, and in some traditions was referred to as the “death of the Sun.” And as the Sun appeared to move upward and “forward” again on the horizon line, it was referred to as the “Birth of the New Sun.” This phenomenon is the stuff of epic myths and legends, and has come to be known as Katabasis—the epic convention of the hero’s trip into the underworld. In Greek mythology, for example, Orpheus enters the Underworld in order to bring Eurydice back to the world of the living. Wikipedia elaborates:
The hero or upper-world deity journeys to the underworld or to the land of the dead and returns, often with a quest-object or a loved one, or with heightened knowledge. The ability to enter the realm of the dead while still alive, and to return, is a proof of the classical hero’s exceptional status as more than mortal. A deity who returns from the underworld demonstrates the cyclical nature of time and existence, or the defeat of death and the possibility of immortality.
Doooood! check out this New Grange at Winter Solstice simulation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CxtsbO9UWw
Goseck Circle: the oldest known solar observatory
And one such hero is celebrated here during our modern times—Yeshua, the Christ, a.k.a. Jesus of Nazareth, who has come to be known as the “Son of God.” And the Christ became so elevated, that his date of birth has been moved to coincide with the actual Sun itself. But with the occurrence of the Winter Solstice currently falling somewhere between the 21st or 22nd, the “Birth of the New Sun” would fall anywhere between the 24th, 25th or even 26th of December. And although the Christ is referred to as the “Son of God” and Christmas celebrated as his coming into the world, with a fuller understanding of celestial happenings, we can see that what this celebration actually represents is the rebirth of the Sun of our Universe, which serves as the archetype of the power of the Divine within all of us.
And perhaps this existing obscurity is a reflection that the truth of the Buddhahood or Christhood potential within every one of us has been quite lost, but like the diminishing daylight hours, I have no doubt it will return again. Thus, the journey of the Sun is representative of every individual’s journey to Self-realization (rather than the birth of one man, albeit an ascended master), for the journey to the underworld illustrates the journey into the unknown and the experience of the death of one’s ego. And this type of journey entails strength of epic proportions—divine knowledge, courage, and abilities beyond what we imagine mortal Men to possess, touching upon the qualities of gods and goddesses. But unlike the Judeo-Christian traditions where there is God on one side and you & I on another, the Eastern shamanic traditions remind us that the divine is already within you, and to realize your true Self is to realize the truth of your own divinity.
Interestingly, this rebirth that we experience here at the Winter Solstice is more akin to becoming born back into your seed state, as the winter season is a period of hibernation, incubation, and the deep essential nourishment and self-reflection possible in the cozy, all-embracing security of a womb-like space. Thus this can be a time of renewal back to your essential nature, or to “who you really are”—shedding old patterns, personalities, identities that no longer serve your growth or the growth of others. And so this is a perfect time to return under the wing of nurturing family spaces for support—and for you this may mean gathering with your blood relations or rather, perhaps it means gathering with those that inspire a feeling of family kinship.
I have heard many conversations in spiritual communities speak of the Winter Solstice as the “return of the light.” And although it is true that we experience the lengthening of days right afterward, it is important to make the distinction that the Winter Solstice is actually a celebration of darkness. I find that in a polarized culture like ours it is easy to fall into elevating one aspect of our experience and diminishing another—for instance, glorifying the light and diminishing the darkness (fixating on pleasurable events while rejecting painful ones), but when we examine the origins of this celebration we see that Yule (which begins at the Winter Solstice) began as a celebration of the divine feminine, of the goddess, the Moon, for draped within the quiet blanket of darkness the Moon can be seen, felt, and experienced more dramatically.
This reminds me of times when I am hiking or walking in the darkness with my night vision adjusted to the level of light available. You use the tree lines, stars and other celestial bodies and landmarks to help you navigate your path. However, there seems to always be an encounter with other travelers who do not share my zeal for cultivating night vision and proceed to blast my eyes with their flashlight! and in an instant my night vision is gone. I used to get so pissed… but now I realize that many people are fearful of what they cannot see and what has not been illuminated within consciousness, for we are a culture fixated on certainty and the illusion of “knowing everything” consciously, but unfortunately this brings with it the inability to connect with all that is unknown, a lack of connection with the Great Mystery. But this in itself is a reflection of our cultural disconnect, that there is an underlying lack of trust in the universe, and that we feel forsaken by the universe and alone to fend for ourselves.
But as we grow spiritually and cultivate a deeper connection to the truth that we are in fact the “Children of God,” we can step more confidently out into the darkness, into the uncomfortable spaces of the subconscious realm, explore our traumas and wounds, our triggers and disconnect, knowing that as we explore the unknown, scarier places of our being, we are forever held and never alone. And so for these next 3 days the ether supports our exploration of our darker aspects, we have the opportunity to travel to the underworld—the still point within ourselves that is pregnant with the truth of our experience—“what do you really feel?” “how do you really think about the world, others, and yourself?” “what is it that really needs to come to the light of your consciousness?” And instead of rejecting negative experiences and feelings, we can empower our higher perspective to observe these things as information to further align to the work that will really bolster our personal growth and assist in our connecting more deeply to our personal truths. And from this deep place of inner alignment, naturally we can observe our intentions forming for the “Birth of the New Sun,” which is the beginning of a new solar cycle.
Bottomline: The etheric energy is ripe for inward exploration. This is a time to move inward rather than outward. Ceremonially, this is an auspicious time for lighting a fire, cozying up with your loved ones, creating warmth and beauty in your home space. Moving inward doesn’t necessarily mean being alone, but taking time to focus on how you feel, what you need, and what’s really going on, and taking the measures necessary to nurture yourself in a real way; and by all means taking some time alone may assist you in becoming more acquainted with these things. And finally, as you journey into the more hidden aspects of yourself, know that you are forever held by the divine web, you may fall, but the loving hands of your heavenly father and earthly mother will lovingly help you back up, and you will be able to move forward stronger for having fallen, wiser for having traveled, and naturally you will have the ability to relate and to connect more authentically with those that you encounter along your way.
Blessings on your inward travels,