21 June 2013

Winter Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere

The timing of the Winter Solstice is marked when the sun reaches its furthest north position in the sky and starts to move back towards the south.  As it does, it marks one of the main turning points in the year, the others being the Equinoxes as well as the Summer Solstice (that occurs in December).  The timing for the Winter Solstice this year is today, Friday, 21 June at 2:34 pm (Adelaide time).  From this moment onwards, days start becoming longer and night times shorter.  however with the worse of the Winter weather yet to arrive, this thought is not often the first that comes to mind.

In ancient Europe the Winter Solstice (the timing of which in the Northern Hemisphere takes place in December) was seen as a time of celebration.  The Romans had a week-long celebration called Saturnalia during which all wars had to stop and courts did not try criminals.  Later this festival became Dies Natalis of Sol Invicti or the Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun celebrated on 25 December each year.

Within modern Paganism practices, the Winter Solstice is the time that marks the rebirth of the sun/son, the divine Child of the Goddess who emerges from her dark womb. In last year's blog, I wrote about welcoming back to Child of Promise,  

The following “Solstice Prayer” by Thorn Coyle reflects the anticipation of waiting for the first rays of the sun to appear over the horizion:

We wait in the dark for the light to appear,
Mother, give birth to our brother the Sun.
We wait in the dark for the light to appear,
Mother, give birth to our brother the Sun!
We wait. We watch.
Out of the cold comes the promise of newness.
We wait. We watch.
Out of the cold comes the promise of day!


The Child of Promise is the new sun, which is small and weak at this time of the year, but will grow stronger as the sacred Wheel of the Year turns.  As such, the Winter Solstice is a time for celebrating new beginnings and to focus on what you wish to bring into your life.

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