Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Winter solstice, 2017

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

The earth will pass through the point of December solstice this year on December 21, at 11:28 am eastern time for the northern hemisphere, which is 8:28 am Pacific time and 16:28 UTC.

This marks the winter solstice for the northern hemisphere (and the summer solstice for the southern hemisphere), the point where the sun on its annual journey finally turns back around and begins to travel back upwards towards the summer solstice (and for those in the southern hemisphere, where it turns downward and begins its descent towards winter solstice).

The day contains great spiritual symbolism in the ancient mythological systems that form the inheritance of virtually all the cultures on our planet, for the heavenly cycles are given spiritual significance in order to convey truths regarding the Invisible Realm, and our innate connection to it. The descent of the sun's journey into the "lower half" of the year (beginning at the fall equinox and continuing down to winter solstice and then back up to spring equinox) was used to describe the plunge of the divine and undying soul into matter during this incarnate life, and the winter solstice represents the awakening of the awareness of the divine nature and the subsequent elevation and greater integration with our Higher Self.

Many previous posts have observed that in the ancient Egyptian cycle of Osiris, Isis and Set, the god Osiris is slain by Set and imprisoned in a casket, around which a tree later grows which then becomes the pillar of a king's palace, until Isis finds her beloved after an extended search and restores him to life. The death and restoration of Osiris create a picture of the "horizontal" and "vertical" components of the year, the first representing the plunge down into matter (and the "loss" of the divine spark in the physical nature) and the second representing the restoration of the connection to the divine and the rebirth of the god.

I have also previously written that this "casting down" of the Djed column of Osiris and its later "lifting back up" appear to be displayed for us in the annual and ancient traditions of the Yule log and the Christmas tree found all across the cultures of the European continent -- with the Yule log being an enormous trunk which would be dragged into the home and lit at the winter solstice, using remnants from the previous year's Yule log, and which would then be kept burning for a specified time, thus visually and immediately presenting us with an image of the mortal and physical nature being vivified by the fire of the divine and spiritual nature, a truth which relates to the experience of each and every man and woman in this incarnate life.

The English monk and historian Bede, also known as the Venerable Bede and spelled Baeda in Old English, who lived from about AD 672 to 725, gives us a valuable insight into the origin of the term "Yule" in his text on "The Reckoning of Time." There, on page 54 of the text linked, Bede explains that the English peoples prior to the arrival of Christianity designated two months by the name "Giuli," one month being the month leading up to the day of the winter solstice and the other being the month which follows it. 

This word, "Giuli," can be seen as having a linguistic connection to the word "Yule," and Bede says that they call these months by that name because that word refers to the day that the sun turns back and begins to increase. Thus, the name "Giuli" or "Yule" refers specifically to the winter solstice, and to the turning-point of the sun on its annual cycle.

We can see that this name has linguistic connections to other ancient names connected to the sun, including Helios in ancient Greece, and all the divine names which are associated with the divine name El.

For previous posts discussing many of the profound truths associated with this great turning-point of the year, and its significance to our lives, see for example:
It is also significant that Bede tells us that in ancient times the day of the start of a new year, which followed winter solstice and was celebrated on the day corresponding to the 25th of December, was known as the "Mother's night." He writes: "That very night, which we hold so sacred, they used to call by the heathen word Modranecht, that is, 'mother's night,' because (we suspect) of the ceremonies they enacted all that night" (53). 

This tradition clearly relates to the concept of "Two Mothers" which is also found in myths and sacred stories from around the world, and which involves the concept of the "second birth" or "spiritual birth" -- the first being our birth into the physical nature of the body and the second having to do with the rediscovery of the divine nature, and the journey to reconnect and elevate our awareness of and integration with that inner connection to the Infinite. Although Bede tries to indicate that this concept is "heathen," in fact the celebration of the birth of the divine Christ on this day is clearly connected to this concept of the "second birth" and the "Two Mothers."

Wishing you peace and blessings on this significant day of solstice, 2017!