Monday, December 20, 2010

Winter Solstice




From ancient times, the winter season has been seen as part of balance of nature...a time where the balance point changes between the darkness and the light.

As with the falling of the leaves, it is a time for change and a natural time for letting go of all that which seems dark within one's life. A natural time for making choices to bring in the light...both to lessen the darkness within, and to open ourselves to life's full beauty and grace.

Throughout history, in all of the world's cultures, through belief systems, festivals, traditions and practices, the changes in the cycles of birth, death and rebirth have been intrinsically and symbolically honored. From this honoring comes our holidays...our 'holy days.'

When we walk between the veils of one season and the next......or one change or one emotion and the next...or even one 'holy day' and the next..we find ourselves always balancing our emotions...balancing the dark emotions, the very ones which create power and change, or the light emotions, the ones which bring in joy and abundance.

Winter Solstice is dated by changes in the calendar but it falls on December 21 or 22 in the Northern Hemisphere and December 20 or 21 in the Southern. It is truly the exact moment when the earth is at a point in its orbit where one hemisphere is most inclined away from the sun.But has come to mean the turning point to midwinter, or the first day of winter.

Solstice is of a Latin borrowing and means 'sun stand', referring to the appearance that the sun's noontime elevation stops in its progress. It is both the shortest day...and the longest night of the year. Many cultures, the world over, perform solstice ceremonies. At their root is the ancient fear that the failing light would never return unless humans intervened with some vigil or celebration.

The Winter Solstice has always been associated with the birth of a divine king in many different cultures, long before the rise of Christianity and the blessed birth of the holy infant, Jesus.

Since the Sun is considered to represent the male divinity in many pagan traditions, this time is celebrated as the return of the sun god where he is reborn of the goddess. Other cultures have similar beliefs and associations.Many cultures celebrate or celebrated a holiday near (within a few days) the winter solstice... Yalda, Saturnalia, Christmas, Karachun, Hanukkah, Festivus, and Kwanzaa.

Christmas, like all holy or holidays, is a special time of remembrance of both the birth of the new, divining power and all of the symbols of home and family. It is a time when we can most acutely feel the greatest darkness or the brightest light...a time of giving, of receiving.....or for some a time of loss of light, and a feeling of going into the dark.

This is a deep time and a sacred space, a time and a symbol for all of us about being lost, facing those emotions and feeling the sadness, the yearning, and the grief that such loss brings into our lives.

But with that darkness, comes the sacred birth of a new light and all of the wisdom, power, and knowledge that this sacred birth created and brought into our lives for transfiguration and rebirth.

We create our gifts of abundance, we manifest blessings and peace, and we enter into a new place of well-being and joy. Celebrate with the gifts of nature, the gifts of our hands, and the many blessings and gifts from our hearts.

height
Winter Solstice /Lunar Eclipse! Dec.20 or Dec 21 depending on where you live.
NASA will be streaming the eclipse live

The last conjunction of a total (full moon) lunar eclipse and the solstice was Dec. 21, 1638.


6078 - Far, Far, Away
This little quilt has been created for the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative. It is a manifestation of the polarity that has been created in my mother and even our own lives with Alzheimer's Disease and a representation of the world she lives in...far, far, away.

Finn's New Year's Eve Quilt Challenge:
Quilt #10: Far, Far, Away

Liberated Quilting Challenge: Our AAQI Challenge Quilts January 2011 Update
Michele Bilyeu quilts for AAQI..the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative. Won't you please join us? :)

10 comments:

  1. I have most enjoyed reading your post. I'm going to be up for the eclipse tonight.

    Thank you for taking the time to write such a meanful post....I admire your ability to write.

    Smiles,
    Kelly

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  2. I missed the eclipse, when is the re-run? Merry Christmas Michele.

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  3. Loved reading your post! I set an alarm and watched the eclipse with my entire family! It will be quite memorable!

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  4. Loved reading your post!

    Jennifer

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  5. Lovely post. Wait, does that mean you have finished 10 quilts already? But you've got many days left for the end of the year. You are going to have to revamp your list!

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  6. Your posts are always inspiring and I love reading each one. I don't always get to leave a comment but I wanted you to know how much I appreciate your words!

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  7. Michele, I was inspired to write a post and paraphrase yours, I hope you don't mind. I just put it up and will delete it if you have a problem with it. I did leave you credit and the other sources, but I was compelled to paraphrase you. Nicely done,
    Jane

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  8. I really enjoyed this post. I was awake and watched the moon for a while. Thanks goodness the days will begin to be longer. I'll count the minutes daily. Winter is not my favorite under the best of circumstances so this year it's a real challenge.
    That's a lovely little piece you made. Hope all is well with you and yours.

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  9. I love the whole idea of the Solstice! It is a magic night.

    The little quilt is so beautiful, very Solstice-y. The return of the light seems promised. The colors are lovely!

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  10. That is a *fabulous* quilt.
    (Great post too, as always!)

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Michele Bilyeu blogs "With Heart and Hands" as she journeys between Douglas, Alaska and Salem, Oregon.