The winter solstice marks the shortest day and longest night of the year and the official beginning of winter. It is the moment the sun is shining farthest to the south, directly over the Tropic of Capricorn.
An ancient celebration of death and rebirth, the end of a cycle and new beginnings: During the dark season this auspicious event invites us to look deeply within ourselves so we may find that tiny amber of light. With love we will nourish and rekindle our soul's fire, so the flame of our lives passion and mission may shine bright and inspire all we come into contact with throughout the year. It is time to return of the light!
Photo: Winter Solstice over the megalithic stone alignments, le Quadratère, in Crucuno, Bretagne, France.
The Winter Solstice has been celebrated by pagans for thousands of years, and many of the traditions now associated with Christmas had their roots in winter solstice celebrations - including the Christmas tree, mistletoe, the Christmas wreath and Yule logs. The Druids - the priests of the ancient Celts - used evergreen trees , holly and mistletoe as symbols of everlasting life during winter solstice rituals. The pagan Scandinavian and Germanic people of northern Europe celebrated a twelve-day "midwinter" (winter solstice) holiday called Yule (also called Jul, Julblot, jólablót, midvinterblot, julofferfest). Scandinavians still call Yule "Jul". In English, the word "Yule" is often used in combination with the season "yuletide", a usage first recorded in 900. It is believed that the celebration of this day was a worship of these peculiar days, interpreted as the reawakening of nature. The Yule (Jul) particular god was Jólner, which is one of Odin's many names. The concept of Yule occurs in a tribute poem to Harold Hårfager from about AD 900, where someone said "drinking Jul". Julblot is the most solemn sacrifice feast. At the "julblotet", sacrifices were given to the gods to earn blessing on the forthcoming germinating crops. Julblotet was eventually integrated into the Christian Christmas as a remainder from this Viking era.