Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Solstice – CREDO CXXXI
The first Sunday in Advent marks the beginning of the Christian year. The four Sundays in Advent always come around the time of the Solstice on December 21, and there is a reason why. The Solstice, an astronomical feature, falls on December 21, and marks the entrance of the Sun into the earth sign of Capricorn, ruled by Saturn and which gave rise to the riotous pagan Roman celebrations called the Saturnalia. So the early Christian fathers, therefore, chose December 25th not only to supplant the Romans’ but also the birth of Mithra, founder of a rival religion. What all of them celebrate really is the event called the Solstice. And the outer materialism manifest at this time really implies something far more significant. If you think about it, it is the culmination of nine months from the first sign of Aries and it takes usually nine months for the gestation and physical appearance of a baby!
But there is an emphasis on materialism as well, and I am certain that few of us have missed the incredible, almost exclusive, emphasis today in the media on the importance of material sales, profits, and competitions for every penny. Not a word about the Solstice let alone the symbolic spiritual implications involved, So it seems important for us to remember what the Solstice really is and to regain the symbolic import given it by all cultures in the Northern Hemisphere through thousands of years.
It marks the shortest darkest day in the year! This year it will be for those on EST at 6:39 pm. This marks the moment when the Sun appears to stop and move northward (Sol-stice is Latin for Sun-still), bringing Light and the promise, through the coldest months, that we are moving towards spring, Aries! Slowly, by increments of 2 to 3 minutes each day this is the message of hope that new life will bring the greening, blooming, and fertility of the earth again. All of this in reality is caused by the motion of our Earth as it orbits yearly the Sun.
The event is recognized consciously by all the religions and is spiritually celebrated by Christians as Christ’s Mass; by the Jews, as Hanukkah; by people of color as Kwanzaa; by the Norse as Yule; by the Hindus as Diwali. Moslems, Zoroastrians, and Orientals all recognize it, as did the ancient Egyptians and Babylonians. Hope comes afresh with the return of Light.
It seems therefore, that we should and could lift our eyes from the bargains being touted everywhere, and realize the grandeur of our Solar System that, despite the never-ending wars and conflicts of humanity, continues to remind us that Light, Life, and Love are still there for us, and that there is a far deeper meaning to this recurring event. So maybe we could stop and remember that we have, like every candle, a center for Light in our hearts and like the wick, it carries the same flame of Spirit.
Thus, these four Sundays of Advent give us the time to appreciate the wonder that awaits us. Despite all our rushing around, it is comforting, unconscious or not, to know that this moment links us literally with the manifest depths of our Solar System, So Happy Solstice! It unites us all.
Posted by IonaDove