Winter solstice is the midnight of the year. Throughout the ages, in an act that reverberates with sympathetic magic, it is the time when we all gather on the longest night of the year, in the season of deepest darkness, to celebrate the return of the light. We light beseeching fires and revel in the undying light within that is kindled anew.
The most difficult time for the mother, at the birth of her child, is the moment right before birth. And so it is with the birth of a new year. This time of greatest uncertainty is also the moment just before the celebration of new life.
The hero’s journey is one of resurrection and birth, maturing and waning, death and rebirth. Just as the year dies and is reborn, so it is with our spirit. The year teaches us this with the return of the sun after the shortest day.
Blessings and balance from Amber Lotus Publishing
Winter Solstice Poem
And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.”
“They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.”
“And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, reveling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us – listen!”
“All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
— The Shortest Day, a poem by Susan Cooper for The Christmas Revels