Sunday, December 21, 2014

Winter Solstice 2014

Winter Solstice ~ the shortest day and longest night of the year. Many ancient civilizations created monuments aligned with the sun rising on the Winter Solstice morn. One of the most famous is Stonehenge in the England. Also, Newgrange in Ireland and Chichen Itza in Mexico. The oldest known is the Goseck Circle in Germany, circa 4900 BCE.

The one in the picture is the temple of Karnak in Luxor, Egypt. The massive stone walls rise to look like hands holding the sun in the sky. Quite an incredible feat to create!

Winter Solstice is one of the markers of the rhythm of the seasons. Although in our modern culture, we label it the beginning of winter, its alternate name is Midwinter. Celebrations filled with rejoicing in the return of the sun marked it as a central seasonal feast.

I love Winter Solstice, Midwinter. My very being recognizes the rhythm it marks. Despite all the modern ways to mark time, I feel the shift within as readily as I see the days afterward begin to lengthen. For many years, I marked this time with a week-long retreat, my personal time of hibernation, to reset my internal clock and prepare for the coming new year.

Do you feel the shift from darkening days to the beginnings of more light? What do you do to mark the Winter Solstice? How do you honor the shifting season?

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