The Significance of the Winter Solstice
Junious Ricardo Stanton
“The solstice happens at the same instant for all of us, everywhere on Earth. In 2019, the December solstice comes on December 21 at 10:19 p.m. CST. That’s on December 22 at 4:19 Universal Time. It’s when the sun on our sky’s dome reaches its farthest southward point for the year. At this solstice, the Northern Hemisphere has its shortest day and longest night of the year.” https://earthsky.org/?p=2951
On December 22 those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere will experience the Winter Solstice, due to the earth’s rotation on its axis that day will have the shortest amount of sunlight followed by the longest amount of darkness. This is an annual astronomical occurrence. Simultaneously the Southern Hemisphere will experience the exact opposite, the shortest night and longest day light.
Our ancient ancestors were very observant; they were in awe of nature because in their worldview and reality the physical world was the result of mental and spiritual design. To them there was correspondence in the universe “as above so below, as below so above”. Celestial and earthly phenomenon were observed and given metaphysical and spiritual significance. So the shortening or lengthening of days and nights was a big deal to them. Equinoxes, the changing seasons, the annual river flooding helped them order their lifestyles, their movements, animal husbandry, planting and harvesting.
The Sun was the biggest and brightest thing in the sky. It provided warmth, light, a sense of awe and security. For the sun to appear it was standing still, or for days to actually become noticeably shorter, nights longer and vice versa was a major occurrence for them. The solstices were times of wonder, a time to commemorate and to eagerly anticipate the sun’s return, rebirth or resurrection. They likened this death and rebirth of the sun during the Winter Solstice to the changing of the seasons, harvesting vegetation, to be replanted and reborn again at a certain time in the year.
So all over the world the Winter Solstice has been acknowledged, celebrated and used as a clock not only for nature but also as a metaphor for spiritual enlightenment, regeneration and life. “People have assigned special meaning to the winter solstice for thousands of years. As a matter of fact, we know that the natural phenomenon greatly influenced people’s beliefs and actives as far back as the Neolithic period, which was roughly 10,000BC. That’s because astronomical events were used to guide certain activities, such as the sowing of the crops, creating food reserves, and even mating the animals to have them give birth to a new generation in the spring. As such, certain traditions and mythologies were born in celebration of the period. Generally, the winter solstice is associated with different gatherings, festivals, rituals, celebrations, and a permeating sense of rebirth. This makes a lot of sense considering the fact that the winter solstice is associated with the birth of several individuals considered to be divine across the world. For example, Christianity’s Jesus, Egypt’s’ Horus, and Persia’s Mithras were all born around the time of the winter solstice. In other words, the darkest time of the year seems to coincide with the birth of saviors who mostly aim to enlighten us.” https://blog.merkaela.com/spiritual-winter-solstice/
Our ancestors used the heavenly phenomenon of the solstices to teach lessons about life on earth (as above so below) and created myths whereby the soul experienced the vicissitudes of life, its ups and downs, highs and lows dying and being reborn again on its way to its zenith in the sky. They also equated the Sun to a savior born around the Winter Solstice, during that dark time but whose life mission was to bring redemption, light and enlightenment to the world.
Too often today these ancient and indigenous traditions are denigrated without us even knowing and understanding their links to our current celebrations and rituals. Our modern rituals are often based upon the solstices and the spiritual and metaphysical cosmology behind them.
This December 22, 2019 take time out to ponder the significance and inner meanings of the Winter Solstice, contemplate how it can serve as a metaphor for our own personal enlightenment. Think about how you/we are like the sun, how we experience setbacks and tribulation but just like the sun we rise out of the darkness, ascending upward even brighter than before our descent.
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