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
The moon spills her glorious
And Mother Earth brings
And Grandmother Sun makes us
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.
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!
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:
THE THIRTEEN DAYS OF SOLSTICE
On the first day of Solstice the
Goddess sent to me
Sixth day: Greetings from my
(Song "The Thirteen Days of Solstice"
adapted from "The Twelve Days of Christmas" by Shekhinah
Mountainwater. Please use and acknowledge
First Day: Healing- We can do
group spiritual healings at this time with great effect.
"In the beginning was the
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.
Winter Solstice Musings by
THE GODDESS YEAR
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