Thursday, December 21, 2006

Winter Solstice

Tonight is the Winter Solstice - 7:22 p.m. EST to be exact. Here's a little information about the Solstice:

Solstice derives from an ancient Latin word meaning "stop," or "to stand still." According to Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, it refers to one of two points when the sun is furthest from the celestial equator.
To the ancients, it appeared as if the Sun and Moon stopped in their flight across the sky—this is the longest night of the year and was a time of both anticipation and rejoicing at the Sun's rebirth out of the Goddess.

The Sun's representation as the male divinity, or celestial ruler, predates Christianity. As with other rituals and celebrations, the Church felt that by assimilating this holiday into the Christian beliefs, it would help convert those who still followed the Olde Way.

The Winter Solstice marks a crucial part of the natural cycle. In a real sense, the sun begins anew its journey toward longer days, times of new growth and renewal of the world once again. In a spiritual sense, it is a reminder that in order for a new path to begin, the old one must end and that spring will come again.
This is the night to begin burning your Yule log if you're lucky enough to have a fireplace:

The term Yule stems from the Anglo-Saxon "yula" or "wheel" of the year. In ancient pagan ritual, the Yule Log was lit on the eve of Winter Solstice and burned for twelve hours. Later, the Log was replaced by the Yule Tree, but instead of being burned, it was adorned with burning candles.
Or, just remember the day as you turn on your Christmas tree lights tonight!

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