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Winter Solstice


On the night the moon gave birth to a star
The people gathered from near, from far
And the faeries blew their silv'ry horns
For the Golden Goddess Sun was born...



"Amaterazzu" The Sun Card from Shekhinah's Tarot

It's the dark season now beloved ones, and the Winter Crone has drawn Her cloak around us.  We huddle around our fires and cuddle into our bright places, our hearths and warming comforts.  The chill of melancholy creeps into our spirits... we feel the death of the old, wonder if the birth of the new will come soon, shining away our fears and isolations.  The Crone's shadow can make us feel lonely and cold and old, and we look into each other's hearts to find the glow of love and life that keeps us going anyway.

In the yearly cycle of Women's Blood Mysteries, the holy days of Winter Solstice represent the Immortality of Goddess and Woman.  To understand any one of the eight, it helps to look at the entire year cycle and see how each is part of the flow, yet each has special themes and energies to celebrate.  Remember last Spring?  It was a season of new life and the birth of the Maiden Goddess, the uniting of Mother and Daughter.  Then the young Goddess grew into Her womanhood and had Her Bloods at Beltane or April 30th.  At Summer Solstice, directly across the wheel from Midwinter, She united with Her Divine Lover.  The blood mystery of sexual passion opened Her creativity and fertile life-forms were made manifest.  She poured forth the bounty of Her substance as Milk or Harvest at Lammas-tide or August 1st and 2nd.  The Crone's Shadow began to fall as She moved towards Autumn Eauinox and Menopause.  She retreated into the Underworld to study the deeps of Knowing and commune with Her Croneself.  At Hallowe'en she crossed over completely into Spirit and many call this holy time the Day of the Dead.  And now comes Winter Solstice, when She embraces her childspirit self, remembers that on a soul level all is Forever, and Her spiritual rebirth ensues.  With Her we are assured of life's Return, of the never ending cycle of Birth, Life, Death... and Birth again.  Grandmother Sun has retreated further and further away as She has waned and grown old... and now She will come back as a glowing Maiden Sunchild.  She is the perennial Star... the archetype of hope and blessing. 

"The Solstice is here, the Goddess is near...

"The stars so high laugh down from the sky...

The dancing light illumines the night...

The moon spills her glorious silver...

And Mother Earth brings rebirth...

And Grandmother Sun makes us One...

I often get the feeling that the heart chakra of the entire world is opening up this time of year...  like we are all getting "unscrooged" on some level.  As we come closer and closer to Spirit...further and further away from the manifest...  separations fall away, walls come down and we reach out to connect.  Reconciliation sweeps away oppositions... peace and love take over.

 "I still believe in peace and love..."  

May it last this time and encompass the entire year cycle throughout 2,004!  Not the peace of power-over forces suppressing the opposition, nor a peace of submission to unjust circumstances...  but a peace of true love,  accountability, universal empowerment, and integrity.
So Mote It Be.

Many cultures celebrate a Spiritual Birth at this time of year, but the focus is usually on a divine male Child.  How about a divine girlchild for a change?  Certainly the image of a special magical Spirit Child is universal and we all can identify on some level.  The Child is the new coming year cycle, new hope for the future, a bright light shining out in the dark, our own inner child affirmed and loved, and all earthly children.  But what a loss to our psyches when we are never offered a womanchild to celebrate at this time. 

For many years at Solstice time I have given out nativity cards with the words "It's a girl!" emblazoned.  Lately I have seen this theme come up on t shirts.  It is a radical move on the archetypal plane to sing celebration of a female spiritual birth at this time of year. Bumper stickers anyone?  Oh and then I love the bumper sticker that says "Born again and again and again."  Right On!!  LOL  Makes a great chant too.  :0)

Soo... a number of years ago I made up a story to tell at Winter Solstice.  My first inspiration came from a vision I had one winter night of the moon giving birth to a star.  Not very logical but it made perfect sense to me.  After all, when we live by the thirteen-moon tree calendar we become attuned to the idea that Time is born out of the Moon.  And so in a sense the Moon does give birth to a star- our solar year cycle.  Moon time is the Mother of Solar time in herstory as well as in our psyches. Moontime was the first time measured by women and made into calendars.

In my story called "A Winter Solstice Legend," or "The Night The Moon Gave Birth to a Star,"  the Moon Goddess feels a great longing to give birth to a "Golden Starchild who will fly to earth to tell the people of love and the nature of things."  First she sets a whispering wind out that carries the message of the Child that is to come into the ears of a Poet.  The Poet awakens with a beautiful song pouring from her heart and carries it to the people. 

My children and I used to enact this tale at Winter Solstice time.  Since I had a son and a daughter, our Moon Goddess gave birth to Twins some years; a girl and a boy.  In recent years I have focused only on the Sun Maiden, since male invocation is so widespread and female invocation is sorely needed.  Nevertheless, Winter Solstice is for everyone and so universal.  Your Year Child might be an animal or a planet or a flower...  whatever the Muse inspires.

My Moon Mother gives birth parthenogenically - without the help of a god - all on her own she goes into an ecstatic dance one night that lights up the heavens and causes the elements to "tremble with delight."  At midwinter she has swelled to bursting with her pregnancy and the people gaze in awe at the fullest roundest silver moon they have ever seen...

"Suddenly there was a great bursting of light!
And a shining star seemed to leap
Right out of the moon!!

The Starchild dances around the sky shapeshifting into animals of the seasons, then into the form of a goldenskinned humanchild with hair as black as night.  "...and golden light poured forth from Her in streams that touched and healed..."   She comes to earth and teaches everyone to celebrate Solstice for Thirteen Days. 

There's more to the story, of course, but I won't give it all away here.  :0)  I have a recording of it that might become available one of these days... I will keep you posted dear readers.  The exquisite music was composed by my son Frey when he was 7...if anyone would like to hear or learn it or melodies to any other chants you see on my website, call me up!  :0)  (831) 423-7639 (Between the hours of 2PM and 1AM CA time)

I do celebrate the Solstice for 13 Days.  So for me, it begins this year on December 22nd and ends on Jan. 3rd.  In my re-write of the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" called "The Thirteen Days of Solstice" I included suggestions for ritual observations for each of the 13 days:


On the first day of Solstice the Goddess sent to me
Some healing to set me free

On the second day of Solstice the Goddess sent to me
Gifts from my love
And some healing to set me free

On the third day of Solstice the Goddess sent to me
A helping dream
Gifts from my love
And some healing to set me free

On the fourth day of Solstice the Goddess sent to me
A branch of evergreen
A helping dream
Gifts from my love
And some healing to set me free

On the fifth day of Solstice the Goddess sent to me
Jo-o-yous So-o-ong!!
A branch of evergreen
A helping dream
Gifts from my love
And some healing to set me free

Sixth day: Greetings from my neighbors
Seventh: Magic for the year
Eighth:  Fine conversation
Ninth: Nine pearls of wisdom
Tenth: Candles for the lighting
Eleventh: Deep contemplation
Twelfth: Showers of abundance
Thirteenth:  A Grand Celebration!

(Song "The Thirteen Days of Solstice" adapted from "The Twelve Days of Christmas" by Shekhinah Mountainwater.  Please use and acknowledge  :0)

The poetic suggestions in the song can be expanded and acted upon during the thirteen days.  They don't necessarily have to follow a particular numerical order...

First Day: Healing- We can do group spiritual healings at this time with great effect.
Second day, "Gifts from my Love"  Presents of course!  What's this season without those lovely gifts of love we give to one another in joy...?
Third day: Dreaming:  We can sleep in group dreamwheels like they did in "The Kin of Ata Are Waiting For You," pair off when we awaken and tell each other our dreams... act upon them if appropriate...deepen with their significance for us, for our coming year, for the season...
Fourth Day: Evergreen- decorations of course!  Dressed up trees are the Goddess Herself... sparkles and shine...sparkles and shine
Fifth Day: Joyous Song!...  politically correct re-written carols!  "...Rise from your knees....!!!"  :0)
Sixth Day: Greetings- say hi, connect, build community, send cards maybe...bridge gaps, remember we are all connected...
Seventh Day: Magic- cast a spell for 2,004 to be a wonderful year!  This magic has special support at this season...
Eighth Day: Fine Conversation- a great time for those deep philosophical communications...also for clearing the air... opening up the connections, mending any misunderstandings that might be pending...
Nine: Nine pearls of wisdom:  Divination.  Get out the cards, runes, shells, visions...  ask for insight and news for the year.
Tenth Day: Candles for the lighting- kindle lights, fires, sparkle and shine, sparkle and shine, the light that shines out in the dark...
Eleventh Day: Deep Contemplation-  this being a natural time of hibernation,  rest and going within are important
Twelfth Day: Showers of Abundance:  Invoke abundance, share the overflow donate to folks and causes, let the abundance in...
Thirteenth Day: A Grand Celebration!  Have a pageant...act out the Winter Solstice Legend or some other delicious tale with the children...dress up!  Feast lushly!  Sing and dance! 

I have long fantasized about these celebrations, dreaming of a community that does them together.  Some years parts of them have been fulfilled.  We have enacted the Legend many times over the years in public venues... done some caroling with alternate lyrics and new Solstice carols as well...  feasted, exchanged gifts, and made merry...had a healing circle...  done magic for the coming year...looked into the tarot... talked about our dreams.  In smaller intimate Solstice circles we have shared storytelling, exchanged gifts, invoked the returning Sun Maiden.

"In the beginning was the sun
She was perfection
She created the day
And wrapped Herself in night
And the moon
The sun's reflection
Watched it all
To her delight..."


"Lady of Light
Returns to us in the night..."


When thirteen days have gone by from the moment of "sun-stand-still" we can feel the new cycle of light well established in the sky, in the earth, in our psyches.  The thirteen encompass within them the traditional patriarchal days of Xmas eve, Xmas, New Year's eve, New Year's, and many others.  These can be absorbed easily without conflict...with plenty of time for Goddess-centered observances, gift exchanges, solitary and group... and significantly, plenty of time for women (who usually slave during the holidays and get overwhelmingly exhausted) to relax, rest, savor the mystery, enjoy...

In some of my relationships I have been blessed to spread out the gifting over thirteen days.  We would give each other thirteen gifts, one to be opened each day.  No more the frenzy of one pitched day, leaving us depleted and still cleaning up.  Plenty of time between times to find the next gift...make it magical and significant.  Something that will make a difference in our loved one's life.  Not necessarily something that costs money or isn't made by hand...not necessarily even something solid. 

There is a feeling of the miraculous this time of year.  It's like the old story of Stone Soup, when the old lady tells her guest she has nothing to eat and the guest says "Bring me a stone and we'll put it to boil in a pot of water and see what happens next."  This she does, and soon a neighbor comes by who happens to have a carrot for the pot, and another has an onion and so on and so on until eventually a luscious abundant soup is cooking merrily on the fire.  The Goddess makes Something from Nothing every year... fabricates a new cycle of time, giving birth out of Her Darkness a new Light of Life and Love.  Draw close to one another, beloveds, and share the miracle.

Blessed Be!


Winter Solstice Musings by Shekhinah Mountainwater
(c) 2,003 Please use and acknowledge


(You are in SEASONAL INVOCATIONS - Thealagie Cavelet #3 - Winter Solstice)


Thealagie Cavelet #1 - Reframing the Holy Days in Female

Thealagie Cavelet #2 - Hallowe'en

Thealagie Cavelet #4 - Candlemas

Thealagie Cavelet #5 - Spring Equinox

Thealagie Cavelet #6 - Beltane