The return of the Sun is here, well almost, tomorrow night is the Winter Solstice. Our ancestral spiritual families, tribes, clans and covens recognised and celebrated this solar event for thousands of years. It was even crowned and celebrated as the original Christmas day until the 4th century AD. This astronomical phenomenon brings us the shortest period of daylight and the longest night of the year, then the axial tilt of the earth alters and the and this reversal of the Suns path was seen as birth or rebirth of the Sun and from then on towards summer solstice (21st June) each day we are blessed with more minutes of sunlight.
Ancient cultures around the Earth from the Hopi of Arizona, to the Peruvian Inkas, to the Celtic/Pagan tribes and clans of Europe observed/celebrated this festival. It was immensely popular in past times, certainly many would have seen it as a great enthusiastic milestone, with part of a dangerously cold winter already passed, as the Sun regains its strength again.
The layouts of Neolithic and Bronze Age archaeological sites, such as Stonehenge in England and Newgrange in Ireland were built with more acknolegment to the winter solstice rather than the summer solstice. With their main stones pointed out in alignment to the midwinter Sun. To our European ancestors this solstice time was commonly known as Yule or Yuletide. The name Yule derives from the word yoole, which developed from the Old English term geo-l in the 8th Century AD. Yule was always known as the twelve day holiday, beginning on Mothers Night (December 21st) and ending twelve days later (January 1st). It's the origin for the 12 days of Christmas. The 21st December also rekindles the enduring legend of the battle between the oak king and the holly king. These two mighty rulers fight for supremacy as the wheel of the year turns. The Winter Solstice sees the oak king conquer the holly king and oak reigns until Summer Solstice. In some ancient european traditions, the oak king and the holly king are seen as dual aspects of the horned god Cernunnos. Each of these twin aspects rules for half the year, battles for the favour of the Goddess, and then retires to nurse his wounds for the next six months, until it's time for him to reign once more. For other folk with a spiritual outlook, Yule is the time when the Sun God Lugh is reborn in human form to rejoin his beloved wife Eriu. Eriu is described as a hag, who transformed into a powerful goddess by the marriage. She was known in Ireland as the sovereignty of Ireland.
It still is a beautiful mystical festive time, a time of sharing, caring and feeling jolly and merry. Feel the deeper energy if possible and let it flow into the coming year. Wake up before dawn around the Solstice, go outdoors to the back garden or the local park or countryside and open the heart, feel deep this enchanting time, greet and thank the nature, and greet and thank the sunrise any way you wish. the wonderful Sun, re-born again flooding back into our lives, lengthening and warming our days.
The precise time for this years Solstice event (The Suns Return) is Friday 21st December 22.23 GMT & 23:23 CET.
Be kind and all the very best to you all this Festive Time. 'Solstice' meaning : From the Latin term 'Solstitium', containing the Latin 'sol' Sun & 'sistere' - to make stand.