Winter Solstice 2016

Happy Winter Solstice everybody!! We are exactly in balance with our Southern Hemisphere who experience today the longest hours of daylight, while we in the Northern Hemisphere experience the shortest hours of daylight. In 6 months time, we will have swapped with our Southern Hemisphere sisters and be experiencing our mid-summer solstice.

So today is mid-winter, and what does that mean?

It means from this day onwards our hours of daylight will gradually increase, the darkest days are now behind us and we can look forward to the growing warmth of the sun as the earth circle the sun on it's tilted axis. It is a time to celebrate the journey of the nearing sun and the warming effects she has on our part of the world.

We may all feel like we are in need of a break. Of course we are! Life can feel like a hard slog, day in, day out. Which is why today marks an exceptional time of year. The journey from 21st June 2016 to now may have been a very difficult one. We have journeyed exactly one half of the way around the sun, we are tilted our furthest away from her (although the earth is currently at it's closest to the sun, the northern pole is furtherest away). The return journey, the completing of our full orbit should feel easier as the days grow warmer and sunlight increases.

The sun means life. Our planet is unique in that we have a habitable climate, too cold or too hot and life is unsustainable. Today I think about people living closest to the northern pole of our planet, who are experiencing 24 hours of complete darkness, and people living closest to the southern pole of our planet experiencing 24 hours of daylight. I'm grateful that I live in a place that is neither extreme.

It's important to take cues from the natural world, too re-remember how we need to take care of ourselves at this time of year. In the northern hemisphere the natural world is quiet, still, serene. The frost comes to kill harmful insects and bacteria, the outer most part of plants and trees are shed, so that all nourishment is kept in the roots. In this way plants and trees store and preserve their energy, ready to burst forth with life in the Spring.

We need to minimise our outgoing energy, conserve and preserve it instead. Let's hold our dear ones close, remind our friends and family that we love and appreciate them, and reach out to those people who have no family or close friends. My 6 year old daughter asked me "what is Christmas really about?" So I gave her a history of Pagan celebration of mid-winter, Catholicism, Christianity, the story of the nativity, the story of St. NIcholas. She got really confused and then asked the most pressing thing on her mind "But is Santa Claus actually real, and why is he called different things?" Which I followed with as much as I could tell her about the different names for Father Christmas in different countries, and different cultural traditions. It's an important question to ask, and answer, to hopefully prevent ourselves from going crazy at this time of year. I think hiding from media, television, advertising and marketing for a few days is a good idea!! On that note, I will bid the computer and you all a fond farewell until the new year.

Wishing that your 2017 comes with blessings, joy, peacefulness, good health and spiritual well being!!!

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