Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter Solstice

by Kate Richards

By now, the majority of my readers and fellow authors are aware that I am a card-carrying pagan. Well, we don’t have cards, although I am a lifetime member of Witch School. But mainly, this means that my winter holiday is the Solstice.

Winter Solstice is a non-commercial holiday that requires no shopping. It is an island of quiet reflection in the pre-Christmas craziness that most of us get caught up in, despite the fact that it’s not our day. I usually make a special dinner and try to find the peace that’s there, before the nights begin to shorten again, daytime longer, as we swing toward the new life of spring and warmth of summer.

The plants and hibernating animals still have a long time to go before they emerge into the sunlight, but I always feel as though once the Solstice is past, I can feel the quickening of the earth, the restlessness as it waits for the sun to come again.

I like to imagine the hopefulness of the ancient peoples, when Solstice was their celebration, before Christianity moved their newbie holiday right next to it. Candles, or whatever tiny light sources they had, aglow, huge logs from the immense trees burning in the giant hearths of the central halls…golden foods to celebrate the sun’s rebirth…and the fire always kept alight all that night, the longest night of the year. Would the sun return? A lunar eclipse as we are having this year would have made it even more frightening.

I love Christmas, and Santa and the happiness of all the kids…but Solstice has a special charm for me and I wish you all a peaceful winter’s night, safety in the darkness and a return to the light in good health and happiness. Bright Blessings on your families and all whom you love, and may you always have everything you need and enough of what you want to find joy in your days. On this longest night, hold your dear ones close and tell them how much you love them and why. The sun will return, tomorrow.

I will be giving away a Bath & Body gift card to one lucky commenter! Please remember to leave your email address with your comments so I can contact you!

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  1. Blessed Be! Hoping to step outside and watch the moon tonight. I do love this time and feel as if this is truly the middle of winter, not the first day. Our days lengthen from this day forward...

    Been too long since I worked a circle for the Solstice...

  2. I wontbe watching the moon tonightbut maybe next time tho i love when the days getshorter and the nights get longer ad santa and eleves andgiving I loveee all of it the smiles on childrens faces the smells


  3. There's something to be said about the peaceful moments of a long winter's night. Quite a beautiful scene, I'd say, Kate. What a terrific post.

  4. I cherish my loved ones every day. I lost my stepfather the first week of September and there's hardly a day that goes by that I don't miss him. I hope this holiday season finds you and your family happy and well.

    seriousreader at live dot com

  5. Hi Kate. Thank you for talking about the Solstice. I don't know alot about the traditions that surround it but I would love to learn more. Thank you for sharing with us and I hope you can see the eclipse... it is overcast here :)

    Happy Holidays,

  6. What a lovely sentiment, Kate. Peaceful moments ar often too few and far between. I wish you a joyous and peaceful soltice and send my love and joy your way. Thanks for sharing this.

  7. Thanks for the blessings, Kate.
    And there is something very special about the solstice, that feeling that things are about to turn around and we're heading for Spring and new life.
    Lovely post!

  8. I think Kate and the other pagans at Decadent Publishing should do a joint blog about the traditions and history of paganism, etc. Lots of interested people out there! We have a wonderful daily blog, Daily Dose of Decadence (decadentpublishing.blogspot.com) that would be the perfect venue. Sorry for the plug, I'm the blog maven around here, but I think it's a fun idea before the next big pagan holiday! GREEEAT blog, as usual, Ms Kate! Roosters

  9. Happy winter soltice Kate. Wish I could have seen the lunar eclipse last night. Too cloudy here.

  10. I wish I could have seen the eclipse...we're having a week long rain storm, though... I hope everyone has a wonderful day wherever you are and stay warm and cozy! I'll be around all day if anyone wants to chat.

  11. It's snowing heavy here, but the lunar eclipse was awesome. I was very happy to watch it online as it started snowing last night. :(


  12. Oh you saw the eclipse AND got snow? That's magic...to me snow is magic always because I live in Los Angeles.

    Maureen I didn't realize you did workings, Val may be right, I think there's a group of us...we'll have to see what happens at RT! Positive energy is always a good thing!

  13. Well meet!
    What a beautiful explanation.
    In my heart, the matriarchal and patriarchal faiths marry and complete each other. Females draw their power from the moon, males from the sun. Both are needed for creation.
    I plan to celebrate solstice with friends. May your night be special.
    Blessed be!

  14. Brightest Blessings Leanne, sounds like you will have a wonderful Solstice celebration!

  15. Hi Kate! Thanks for sharing about Winter Solstice. I love it, and I'll tell you why. For me, I need the sun - it's warmth, it's glow, it's rejuvenating powers. So when I lived back in the northeast, it was always a hard winter, no matter what...until I realized that the Winter Solstice is the shortest day! I began looking forward to it with joy because I knew each subsequent day would be a few seconds longer. :) Now, out here in AZ, it's still a wondrous day, but I'm not freezing while acknowledging it! lol

  16. I have lots of relatives in Arizona, mostly Phoenix. I love going in summer and soaking in lots of sun. The locals think I'm crazy lol

  17. How about a pagan anthology?

    *running away now!

    Yeah, we were totally cloudbound. Ironically, I woke up around 3am to the full moon brilliantly lighting up my bedroom... Sigh.

  18. I'll be out there looking at the moon , ain't tonight the lunar eclpise as weell. I hope so cause I'm dragging the kids out to look :)


  19. I thought it was last night and there were too many clouds. I will check it out tonight.
    debby236 at att dot net

  20. I love seeing a different view of the holidays. Seeing how other cultures celebrate inspires me to adopt some of these other customs. The different phases of the moon are beautiful and I love laying in bed at night looking out my window at the moon, so peaceful and relaxing.

    joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

  21. LOL! No cards, eh, Kate!? We managed to miss the eclipse last night, but will try to take a peek at the beautiful moon tonight!

    f dot chen at comcast dot net

  22. I got to see a little bit of it. I was so tired and I had to go to bed, but I saw a portion of it!! I love peaceful moments, don't seem to be enough of them at times:)


  23. A pagan author antho? LOL. I'm not sure we're well behaved enough to do a whole antho. But if called up on I will serve...someday.

  24. Thank you for sharing Kate! Wishing you a wonderful Holiday and a prosperous New Year!


  25. What a beautiful and touching post! Wishing you all the same.

  26. Oh, and then I went and forgot my email addy up above lol....kammie2u at ameritech dot net

  27. Thanks everyone I'm really enjoying all your comments and good wishes!

  28. There were too many clouds to see an eclipse here.

    kissinoak at frontier dot com

  29. I love a quiet and still winter's night! Life is too loud and hectic! It's nice to enjoy the clean white snow and silence for a change! Enjoy!

  30. Beautiful words. Thanks for the thoughtful insight! Sheila Painter
    Sheila P 52 @ yahoo.com

  31. sorry late, new comp stopped working, no access.

    I had a quiet winter night last night, enjoyed a fire, wished we had gotten some fresh snow.

    thank you,

    dlsmilad (at) yahoo (dot) com