Winter solstice is the shortest and darkest day of the year. I love this annual event. There is something mystical and magical about it; and it holds a special place in my heart.
The solstice has marked a significant shift in the annual cycle since neolithic times. Astronomical events were often used to guide the sowing of crops and the monitoring of winter reserves of food. This is illustrated in the layouts of late Neolithic and Bronze Age archaeological sites, such as Stonehenge in England and Newgrange in Ireland. The primary axes of both of these monuments are aligned to the sight-line pointing to the winter solstice sunrise (Newgrange) and the winter solstice sunset (Stonehenge).
I have a created my own personal tradition to mark this time of year. Every year on the 21st of December, I wake up early. I light some candles and incense. I sit by the fire to meditate, to think and write. I gain clarity on my deepest aspirations and desires; and I plant my seeds of intention for the year ahead with my words. After a long and dark winter of germination, I imagine these intentions emerging again with the light and luminosity of the summer solstice in June.
Celebrating the changing of the seasons and the coming of the light, connects me to the cycles of our planet: orbiting the sun in this vast universe. I remember that I am made up of the same material as stars; and I have an important part to play in sharing out love and light. I just need to follow my path, led by the draw of my inner compass and truth. I know that they will not steer me wrong.