Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Winter Solstice a New Beginning?
My sister asked a thought provoking question yesterday: "Why do we believe things are getting better after the end of the old year?" Or what is the difference between December 31st and January 1st other than one is 2010 and the other is 2011 by arbitrary agreement.
It occurred to me, while pondering this issue, that there is none, but from somewhere the belief arose and has carried down to the present day seemingly unchecked by reality. The actual magical day might just be Winters Solstice instead. Worldwide, interpretation of the event has varied from culture to culture, but most cultures have held a recognition of rebirth associated with this planetary event. And that makes a lot more sense than the new year. The winter solstice occurs exactly when the Earth's axial tilt is farthest away from the sun at its maximum of 22 1/2° 26'. And while this is for just a brief minute the influence of a planetary shift has been noticed throughout the ages.
The Christian calendars have moved a lot around to benefit their perspective on life, but the Mayans had ten days, pinned by winter solstice, which did not belong to any months of the year. So from approximately what we would now call December 21st or 22nd till the end of our year. So did the Druids. This year winter solstice is on the 21st in conjunction with the Full Cold Moon. Seems more likely that a shift in energies and attitudes can happen with this event than New Year's Day.
Or maybe this idea of a rebirth or new start is just something us humans require to let go of the bad luck or malaise of the past. We need to believe, especially in very hard times, that things can and will change. So whatever you pin your hopes on, I say go for it. I always do a ceremony at the solstice and yesterday, without thinking why, I bought four new candles. The fifth will be a white one carried over from last year's solstice. I will burn folded paper cranes, a couple springs of green from my solstice tree, and dried flower blossoms I have collected through the summer. And ask the blessings of the four winds and mother earth.