Trying to find new ways of spirituality.
Winter Solstice is held on or around December 21st or 22nd.
Solstice means "standing still sun". Winter solstice is when,
because of the earth's tilt, the northern hemisphere is leaning
farthest away from the sun, and therefore,
the sun has its lowest arc in the sky.
It marks the shortest day of the year
(in the Northern Hemisphere) and is the longest night.
The sun is at its lowest and weakest, a pivot point
from which the light will grow steadily stronger and brighter.
This is the turning point of the year.
The solstice observance comes from many cultures and
has its roots in the pagan tradition long before Christianity
made its entrance in Europe. In fact Christianity borrowed
many of the symbols from these traditions and made it their own.
Among those observing the solstice were the Celts, French,
Native North and South Americans, Persians, Russians,
Swedish, Norwegans, Greeks, Orientals, Germans,
Irish, Africans, Saxons, Swiss, ancient Egyptians,
the Roman empire and those of the Baltic regions.
The Winter Solstice is often referred to as Yule,
it is the time of the year when light returns again
to the northern hemisphere as the sun begins to shift
and makes a start to move northward.
Since the sun represented the male diety in the Roman tradition,
they honoured the Birth of the Sun God on December 25th.
The birth of this "Divine King" was celebrated long before
the rise of Christianity and as the "return of the Sun God"
where He is reborn of the Goddess.
The Romans called it "Dies Natalis Invicti Solis",
the Birthday of the Unconquered Sun.
They made a big midwinter holiday at this time. Because it was so dark,
lamps were kept burning in order to ward off the spirits of darkness.
Everyone was granted free time to celebrate with friends and family
with special food, gifts and general merry making.
Many people wore jewellery and every place was decorated
with boughs of laurel and evergreens which symbolized life's continuity.
Special gifts of candles, incense, dolls, cakes and fruits
were given to friends. Processions of masked people with wild hats
danced through the streets to the delight of the population.
Both master and servents enjoyed a great feast together.
The Solstice was celebrated with several symbols from nature,
among them were the Yule Log, evergreen trees, mistletoe,
holly, the oak tree and ivy. The Yule log was
the centerpoint of the celebrations and was burned for 13 nights.
Many of the symbols represented health, prosperity,
fertility,protection and more. Candles symbolized protection
and light in the darkest part of the year.
Wreaths referred to the wheel of the year.
There are so many details to share with you
(it will be available in another web page)
about this ancient revelment but for now let us be reminded
of the "common ground" that many cultures had regarding this winter festival.
Our popular use of the colours red and green at Christmas
also come from the pagan rites of the solstice.
The green on plants symbolizes fertility, life, growth
and the feminine aspect. Red signifys drive, fertility,
and strength, and represents the virile Mars/male aspect.
Some winter plants such as holly have both green leaves
and red berries while others such as those in the evergreen family
remain green all year round.
The Celebration of the Winter Solstice is a very old tradition
which was meant to bring family and friends together
in a warm and bountiful atmosphere. The spiritual significance is
the re-birth of the Sun God, a time of renewal and faith.
Also because the light is returning, there will be new life again.
As it is the darkest time of the year, it is a good time
to meditate on the spiritual side of life and the world.
The Winter Solstice is considered a turning point.
Why not use this time to turn the world into a better place?
Since many different cultures orginally celebrated
this special winter solstice time as the high point of their spiritual calendar,
it is a good time to reflect spiritually on the similar spiritual practices
that many cultures once shared.
Let us all focus on the similarities that this ancient spiritual festival evokes
and which brings us together as a human race,
rather than on differences that modern religions have.
Let us come together as a human family based
on the similar spiritual traditions of our ancestors which was more nature based.
After all nature is what the Divine Creation is all about.
This year of 2005 the Winter Solstice is
on December 21st at exactly 18:30 Universal Time
or Greenwich Mean Time.
Let us all celebrate it together this year
in a sense of shared spirituality
since this is a time of peace, hope and love.
Blessed be all!
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Updated July 21, 2011
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