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winter solstice, longest night, southern hemisphere, moon rising over the coast

Winter solstice – 2016

It is a beautiful time of year. I am excited. It is the winter solstice! The air is cold and crisp outside, and it is nice to be cosy inside. We are having the sort of nights that would be lovely around a bonfire looking up at the stars, and the good news is, it is the longest night of the year tonight. We should celebrate! After this point, the nights start to get shorter, and the days get longer as the sun moves closer to the southern hemisphere again. Hooray!

It is a time for great celebration, and festivities. The winter solstice falls on the 22nd of December in the northern hemisphere, around the time that we celebrate Christmas, so there is a reason for that holiday after all! It is thought to have coincided with the worship of the Pagan Sun God. There is a great history of rituals and celebrations around that time.

The Pagan celebration of the winter solstice is called Yule, which is thought to come from the Anglo-Saxon word for ‘wheel’ to signify the turning of the seasons. It is also thought that the ritual of Santa Claus may come from stories of the first shamans, who would climb high into the upper worlds and return with gifts and wisdom.

I wish that we celebrated the winter solstice here with as much pomp and ceremony. I feel like we need to get together with our friends and families and feast and give presents. There is a lot to be thankful for!

winter solstice sunset 2016

The world is turning a corner towards new growth and new life. Warmth and light, and all the stuff that makes us feel as though we can shed our winter skins and burst into the world with vigor. It can be a lovely time of year to engage in some introspection, and to revel in the period of quiet dormancy of the world. To hibernate, to be quiet, and then to burst into life on the solstice like the ancient peoples and drink mead, which is a fermented honey drink, or mulled wine and celebrate the presence of the beautiful, glorious, returning sun.

If you are in Melbourne this weekend, there is a wonderful celebration happening in Eltham, on Saturday the 25th, to celebrate the winter solstice.
winter solstice bonfire - melbourne

Three cheers for the sun!

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