07 December 2011

Winter Solstice

In many cultures around the world, Winter Solstice signifies re-birth. The return of the sun god or goddess.
In my last post, I talked about the standing still of the sun, that moment of peace. But human existence, to early peoples, was reliant on the sun. It was imperative to welcome it back. Only the return of the sun would bring new crops, new cycles of life.

The standing stones at Stonehenge in Britain, are associated with death, and are aligned so that when people came up the avenue into the circle, they would be facing the setting of the sun on the winter solstice.
This would in fact have been the day that the cattle and other livestock would have been slaughtered for the winter, and also the time at which beer and wine would have finished the fermentation process.

But at the point of despair, the shortest day and longest night, comes new hope, as the earth continues on its journey around the sun, and the days begin to lengthen.

The sun, in older cultures, often symbolises strength and steadiness. Whether the days are getting shorter or longer, it has always been our experience that night will turn to day - the sun always rises. Without the sun, the moon would not be visible to us through reflected light.
But it also is at the centre, so in human terms, for those who believe in such - the soul. To contemplate the sun is to contemplate the centre of our being, and when better to do so than at Solstice ?

There is a T'lingit First Nations' saying that 'The Sun and the Moon belong to Women'. Something to meditate on in any event.

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