The Winter Solstice
So here we are, on the eve of the December 2012 Solstice (Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, Summer Solstice in the Southern).
This date has become the focus for growing hysteria about apocalyptic change. We do indeed live in times of rapid transformation (relative to previous centuries in our collective knowledge), but there is no basis for the current frenzy.
Here’s a succinct set of answers to Dec 21 2012 notions
And for further clarification, here is a very useful NASA page, answering the most prevalent erroneous notions about polar shifts, the Mayan calendar, asteroids etc etc with patient clarity.
But instead of getting caught up in all that malarkey, let’s tune into the magic of the Solstice itself.
Since ancient time, the Solstices and Equinoxes have been considered benchmarks in the annual round and structures were created to welcome the Sun on these days.
Stonehenge in England, and Newgrange in Ireland, for example, were aligned to capture the Sun’s first rays on the Summer and Winter Solstices respectively.
The exact moment of the Solstice this year is at 11:15 am GMT, 6:15 am Eastern, 3:15 am Pacific, 22:15 pm in Australia, all on December 21.
It is the shortest day and longest night of the year, (reverse this for the Southern Hemisphere).
The solstice actually lasts for three days, as the Sun appears to stand still (the actual meaning of the word solstice is standstill) in terms of where it rises and sets on the horizon.
So we’re entering that window now, and in the Northern Hemisphere, this is the quietest, most peaceful, most inward time of the year.
But just as all sinks down and in, so the spark, the seed, the tiny flame of life springs back once more and the earth turns slowly back towards the light.
Thus rituals found cross-culturally for this time include sacred babies, birth myths, and symbols of light, fire and illumination.