The longest night and shortest day of the year…and I reflect on what this year has brought into my life, and despite the obstacles we have all faced, I feel blessed. It has been challenging, at times, but not as difficult as other times in my life. I have friends and family that are close and far, but all dear and they help to carry the weight of these challenges with me. I am powered by the sun…my being…my household…my sleeping and waking patterns. Tomorrow the light is reborn. I celebrate this Yule time with you. Whatever one’s religion, we can all agree that the lengthening of the days that begins tomorrow is reason to celebrate. I wish for us all lengthening days and stability in our world. Blessed be.
Please, no lighted candles in the trees nor burning beseeching fires all night long, this year. It has been a way too long fire season.
Below, I repost one of my Winter Solstice posts from 2009:
“The Winter Solstice occurs exactly when the earth’s axial tilt is farthest away from the sun at its maximum of 23° 26′. Though the Winter Solstice lasts an instant in time, the term is also colloquially used like Midwinter to refer to the day on which it occurs. For most people in the high latitudes this is commonly known as the shortest day and the sun’s daily maximum position in the sky is the lowest.” (Wikipedia)
There are as many different types of celebrations of this astrological event as there are cultures and religions, past and present. It is the “official” day of winter, here in the northern hemisphere, and it is when the days begin to lengthen again.
For me, rooted in a northern clime, the significance is both the beginning of winter, and the lengthening of the days. I am a person of the sun, who rises with it, and slows my rhythms when its time with me is also slowed. Long before we had a name to go along with these most natural of nature’s patterns (seasonal affective disorder), our bodies simply increased the secretion of melatonin in the body, causing longer sleep. Now, we know that special lights, plants, and negative ions can diminish the effect of the lesser sunlight.
It is a seasonal lull that many of nature’s plants and animals observe. It is a time for us to be focused inward rather than outward. Rather than fight the natural patterns, I choose to follow them, and become quiet, solitary, and introspective. Tomorrow, that time lessens, and my outward focus will begin its return, just as the sun increases its time in our northern skies.