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- Making Prayer Flags
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Saturday, December 21, 2013
Winter Solstice: Bringing In the Light and Joy
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 grace and beauty.
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 falls on December 21 (Northern Hemisphere) or December 22 (Southern Hemisphere) and is the moment when the earth is at a point in its orbit where one hemisphere is most inclined away from the sun.
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) of 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.
We are celebrating with a Winter Solstice Celebration. I have invited my family (and my family's extended family) to our home, where I will share the fruits, nuts, and grains of harvests past and libations and toasts of good health and joy, as we welcome in the bringing of the light into all of our lives as the new cycle begins once again.
Happiest of Holy Days from the light of my heart, and my home, to yours.
With Heart and Hands: Winter Solstice
Michele M. Bilyeu
Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares a quilting journey through her life in Salem, Oregon and Douglas, Alaska. Sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting, with small format art quilts, prayer flags, and comfort quilts for a variety of charitable programs. And best of all, sharing thousands of links to Free Quilt and Quilt Block Patterns and encouraging others to join her and make and donate quilts to charitable causes. Help us change the world, one little quilt at a time!