So the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
If you live on a planet that circles a sun, your time is governed by the patters of light and darkness, summer and winter, warmth and cold. And, of course, life and death. Once our forebears learned to farm, they planted and harvested at the equinoxes, but it was the solstices that caught their attention. The extremes. They watched their days shrink from the bright abundance of high summer to the bleak, dark cold of winter, and they invented rituals to make sure the light would come back again: to bring the new day, the new year, the rebirth of life.
The rebirth rituals have become traditions we still celebrate, whether or not we remember where they came from. Some of them are so old that only their monuments remain. On the morning of the winter solstice at the great earthwork Newgrange, in County Meath, Ireland, the day’s first beam of sunlight shines in through a passage that Neolithic people built there five thousand years ago to catch it, and for seventeen minutes, a dark room deep within is filled with the sunshine of the shortest day.
how do I remember to go where light is fading?
inquiry for today~ prepare for solstice….a ritual….a meandering….a remembering of feet under heart and heart under sky…….
Where the magic of the winter solstice is on full display and the world is momentarily at peace. This year we gather under the starry night with the remnants of the full cold moon waning to celebrate the season. This night is the longest night of the year and from this point forward the days will slowly get longer. Throughout time, humans have honored the Winter Solstice and the birth/renewal cycle of life. Yule celebrations can be documented as far back as the 4th Century, but everyone who studies ancient history would agree that it likely started long before then. Yule can occur between December 20th and December 23rd, depending on the year. Yule 2019 falls on Saturday, December 21st.