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Welcome Winter! Welcome Light!

December 21, 2016
Solstice eve sunset by Melissa Navarro

Solstice eve sunset by Melissa Navarro

Like the solstice eve sunset, life is ephemeral, swift in its passing.

In the northern hemisphere, winter solstice takes place on or about December 21, and is the moment when the sun is at its southernmost position. The sun hangs low and weak in the sky during daylight hours, and daytime shadows are the longest.

Solstice eve in Ventura photo by Bethena Nuzback

Solstice eve in Ventura photo by Bethena Nuzback

In 2016, that takes place today, December 21, and with this day, the long nights begin to get shorter, and the short days begin to get longer. It is a time to gather together, to get ready for the light, a time to resist complacency, to transition from dark to light. Events and rituals below.

solstice eve sunset by Ventura City Council member Carl Morehouse

solstice eve sunset by Ventura City Council member Carl Morehouse

Acknowledging this passage through solstice rites is one of our oldest celebrations, dating back to the dawn of modern civilization some 30,000 years ago and practiced at one time or another by almost every culture in the world. Many Native American groups held winter solstice rites, including the local Chumash. Possibly you too have seen some of their solstice rock art in the hills about Ojai and Santa Barbara. Solstices Are very important to them, and the winter solstice celebration last several days.

For ancient peoples, the winter solstice was an awesome, mysterious, and powerful phenomenon that represented the death of the old solar year and the birth of the new. Yule festivities marked this planetary turning point away from darkness and the blessed return to light.

Santa Barbara Solstice Eve 2016 sunset

Santa Barbara Solstice Eve 2016 sunset by poet and painter Linda Saccaccio

Some neo-pagans believe the dark nights of winter are when the veil between the spirit world and the living world is the thinnest. This night and this time of year is therefore an appropriate time for self-examination and meditation on hidden energies–both the energies lying dormant within the earth, and also those within ourselves. Yule traditions celebrate nature’s renewal, and help affirm our connection to the energy and power of the earth and the cosmos.

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West Los Angeles Solstice Eve Sunset by poet Frankie Drayus

Yule is a time of rebirth, of new beginnings and the setting of new goals for oneself. It is a time of putting aside regrets, resentments, and that which causes us unhappiness. Before we can rid ourselves of these feelings, we must know them intimately: the season starts in the
silent darkness of the cold winter’s night; a time when we cannot escape ourselves through pleasurable outside diversions, a time of meditation and inward thoughts; of recognizing the cold sorrows of the season of barrenness as both those within the frosted panes of our souls, as well as those raging outside the frosted window.

Solstice Eve in Oxnard photo by Sandy Burris

Solstice Eve in Oxnard photo by Sandy Burris

And it is a time for us to gather in community, to keep watch during the long dark night. In our local area, I know of two such communal gatherings tonight, on the night of the winter solstice Wednesday Dec 21: one at Art City and one at Yoga Jones. Both are free and welcome to all.

YOGA JONES 105 S Oak St, Ste 200; Ventura, California; 93001
6pm
Yoga and Meditation lead by Sabine.
7:45-8:30
Therapeutic Gong Sound Healing with Jai Jot.
Donations accepted. Tea, wine and fire following at Heartsease.
Feel free to bring your form of reverie-drums, hoops, etc.

Art City 197 Dubbers, Ventura CA 93001
630pm Potluck and jam

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Whether alone or in community find time to light a candle and meditate upon the Sun, on the hidden energies lying dormant in winter, not only in the Earth but within ourselves. Read more about winter solstice rituals here.

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VCMC Solstice eve sunset by Suzy Reinhart

It is more important now more than ever. We need the strength to resist the temptation of complacency, we need the strength to stand up and resist.

The key transition is upon us.  Let’s be ready for the light.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. December 21, 2016 5:21 pm

    Reblogged this on Art City Studios, Ventura and commented:

    Winter Solstice Gathering at Art City tonight!

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