Today is the Winter Solstice, well the astronomical solstice at least. The Sun left Sagittarius and entered Capricorn at 05:31GMT this morning and that is the exact point of the solstice.
The Winter Solstice has long been marked as a special time for many millennia. Our ancient forebears built stone monuments that tracked the passage of the Sun across the sky as the seasons changed; to them it was important to know when it would soon be time to plant the fields so that food would be plentiful once again.
The pattern of observing the Winter Solstice, and other festivals throughout the winter, and indeed throughout the rest of the year, is set in the fabric of our society, though the names of the celebrations, and the precise date of them, have changed over time, and what was once a religious celebration has become, for many in Britain, a secular celebration involving the exchange of gifts, the consumption of food and drink and time with loved ones (though this is not the case for all – let us not forget there are many who have no friends or family or home at this time of year).
There are plenty of places on the world-weird-web where you can find out about the origins of the various traditions that people observe at this time of year in the many cultures that have winter festival.
It has become my own tradition on this day that I spend time in the morning writing in my journal, reflecting on where I have come from and where I’d like to go in the coming months. Well, that’s the plan, but that rarely happens as my pen gets hijacked by my unconscious mind and lots of things flow onto the paper, many insights and things to consider and ponder, much of which I won’t share with others as it is for me.
Part of my musings I will share concern the passing of time and the meaning we put on various events to help bring order to our lives, and some kind of certainty to the future amid all the seeming chaos and randomness of our lives. I realised, that it’s important to me to understand why something is celebrated or why a particular traditional activity is done at any particular time of year.
I am finding that as I grow and develop as a person, as a spiritual being, that what I once did no longer makes sense to me; rather than beating myself up about abandoning something that once made sense, worrying that I was being too lazy or turning my back on things, I’ve realised that things do change as I change and understand more. That is, for me, an important realisation.
Of course, I feel the pressures to conform and I make sure I respect others’ beliefs and traditions and do as they would wish at this time. However, I have to feel comfortable in my own skin, in my own view of how the Universe seems to work from my point in it.
Another important realisation to come from this mornings musings is that it is most important to remain open minded about all kinds of things; even though I may have my own views, ideas, theories, experiences, observations and so on at this time, that may change as I experience more and grow and develop. Being blinkered to other possibilities, to there being no other ways may be what underlies so many of the world’s problems (and greed, never forget the power of greed …).
As I’ve said, there was much more and it made sense to me. Maybe I’ll share more once I’ve worked through and processed it all.
What this leaves me with is to wish you all the very brightest blessings of the season, the most wonderful wishes for the next cycle of the seasons, no matter how you celebrate or why you celebrate!