Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Explaining Solstice

Today I got an email asking me to explain why pagans celebrate the solstice.  My fellow classmate was hoping to have me write something up for our seminary's monthly journal.  I find it hard to remember that so many people know so little about pagan practices.  Even though Winter Solstice is included as a sign of interfaith recognition, it seems that a lot of people know very little about what this holiday has meant to human beings for tens of thousands of years.  I obviously can't speak for all of them.  I can't even speak for modern day pagans.  But I reworked something else I had written previously to reflect the beliefs of my tradition and offered this up (along with the recipe in last year's blog entry).

So if you have heard me talk about pagan things and never really understood or you know something about Winter Solstice but want to know how we think about it, here you go:

The Winter Solstice marks the longest night of the year.  The earth has reached the apex of its journey into the darkness.  This silent moment is the pause, the beat in-between the out breath and the in breath of the planet.  The earth is cold and the silence that surrounds us is ancient.  In the space you inhabit at this very moment, the silence has existed longer than anything else has.  It will remain long after you leave until finally all other things have faded.  This is the power of the Winter Solstice.  As witches of the Rising Wind Tradition, we celebrate the silence and the darkness.  We celebrate our ability to survive the night.  In this dark silence, we stay up to create, bake bread, share food, play games, make music, and otherwise experience community.  When we finally reach the dawn, we head outside to celebrate, welcoming home the sun with a joyful sound.