Celebrating the Solstice - the Time the Sun Stands Still

Good Morning & Happy New Year, Last night was the longest night of the year, marked by a glorious full moon, and people every where celebrated the solstice. The word solstice means ‘the time the sun stands still’, the day when the sun has reached the southern most point and pauses, just briefly, before it begins to move back in the other direction. Beginning tomorrow, the days will grow longer and the sun will gradually return. If we followed a lunar calendar, today would begin the new year.

solstice moonlight
solstice moonlight

In ancient cultures, life moved in cycles, not in linear time. Past and future were unimportant while the cycles of the moon gave life a sense of predictability. Holding this awareness allows us to remember just how closely attuned ancient people were to the natural cycles of the world they inhabited. The moon, ever changing in the night sky, marked times for planting and harvesting, and for ritual and celebration. While life slowed down during these months of darkness, allowing for reflection and introspection and preparation, the solstice has long been a time of merriment and celebration.

Every culture in the world has a celebration of light at this time of year. Evergreens, always green, symbolize life’s continuity and the lighting of candles and fires welcomes the return of the sun.

If we take a moment to remember our connection to the earth, we are reminded that even in the quiet and stillness of winter days, there is much that goes on beneath our feet and over our heads. This is a time for the land to prepare for the next season rather than a time of growth. We can hold the promise that darkness never lasts forever, that rebirth and renewal will soon lie ahead, and welcome the returning light.

In ancient cultures this was a time for reflection and gratitude, a time to thank the earth and the sky for their life sustaining gifts and a time to set intention for the year to come.

I send you warm wishes and sweet dreams. May this next year be filled with love and abundance, laughter and heartfelt emotions. May you experience life fully and know that you are cared for and appreciated.

Blessings, Nancy

(Submitted by Nancy Redding, December 22, 2010) ______________________ Nancy Redding Between Earth & Sky Shamanic Journeywork,, Shamanic Counseling Putney, Vermont