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VI. The Solstice
"Dwell not on the past. Use it to illustrate a point, then leave it behind. Nothing really matters except what you do now in this instant of time. From this moment onwards you can be an entirely different person, filled with love and understanding, ready with an outstretched hand, uplifted and positive in every thought and deed."
Eileen Caddy, Spiritual Writer

What wonderful words to reflect upon as we prepare for the celebrations of the upcoming holidays, the return to the light after the winter solstice and a brand new calendar year. The winter solstice is a time of letting go of the past and going forward in the renewal of the Light. No matter what holiday you celebrate, most religions continue to celebrate the yearly birth of the light in poignant symbol.

The Jesus story tells of the birth of the Son-sun and the Hanukkah story tells of the tiny bit of lamp oil that lit the temple for eight miraculous days. In the Hindu world, Diwali tells of the return from the dark forest of the celestial couple Rama and Sita as thousand of lights in every village are said to guide their way. Muslims begin Ramadan, the Fast of Renewal after the siting of the crescent moon in the ninth lunar month. Even the modern-day Kwanzaa draws its celebrants around the light of community.

Astronomically, the winter solstice marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year. The sun appears at its lowest point in the sky, and its noontime elevation appears to be the same for several days before and after the solstice. Hence the origin of the word solstice, which comes from the Latin solstitium, from sol, "sun" and -stitium, a "stoppage". Following the winter solstice, the days begin to grow longer and the nights shorter.

Thus symbolically the winter solstice marks the return of the light. It is a time to let go of the past and leave in the darkness the things, habits, people, whatever it is that no longer serves us. It is also a time of reflecting and asking for what we want to bring into the light of the lengthening days. As well as a time to reflect on who we really are and what our purpose is for being on this planet at this time. It is also a time to celebrate that once again the light returns and its cycles of birth, death, and regeneration continue.

So as the winter solstice this Thursday begins this special of all seasons, please take a moment to reflect on what you choose to leave behind in the darkness and what you choose to birth into the light of renewal and regeneration. A special ritual for the winter Solstice is to turn off the lights and sit by the light of candles and/or the Yule tree. Go to that place where you meet your higher self and ask just what it is that you want to leave in the darkness. Write down exactly what it is and then burn the paper. Go back to that place of your higher self and ask what it is that you want to birth into the light. Write down what that it and bury the paper somewhere where it will be nurtured such as a plant pot or garden.

This is a wonderful ritual for beginning the celebration of this season and for the New Year.

Happy and Joyous Solstice - May all the blessings of the Season be yours.

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