A Tale of Winter Solstice

A change of season always feels as if it is infused with a kind of magic.

Certainly in dear old England where seasons are vivid and where historically each came with its own guiding principles for doing life for that small portion of time.

The seasons reflected the journey of the land, with our lives (traditionally) mirroring each seasons story. In that way they depicted a rhythm for life, with winter being one for retreating and resting, just as the land does.

(Thanks Hannah Henderson for the winter pics)

Part of the magic for me lies in those nature-dictated ebbs and flows. Even in our well established disconnection from the land today, whether we take conscious note of the seasonal change around us or not- it goes on.  It transcends us.

The other slice of magic is in the mass of myth and legend that surround the transition from one season to the next alongside the astrological moments that officially define seasonal timelines. Technically, the winter solstice occurring today is the moment when the North Pole is tilted its furthest point away from the sun, giving us in the northern hemisphere the fewest sunlight hours of the year. Astronomical events like these are universally and spectacularly marked by age old traditions and celebrations- they’ve been happening for centuries, across religions and spiritual traditions. One favourite includes the tale of Goddess Frigga who during this long night of darkness worked away at her spinning wheel weaving our fates. Those Christmas wreaths we hang? They hark back to Frigga’s wheel of fate.

That’s what the winter solstice technically is.

For me, solstices and equinoxes like this one are an opportunity to have a think for a moment of where I am at, like any anniversary or unchanging marker in the calender. Increasingly, during these moments I think about the land around me too- where it is at and how I am relating with it.

With each year I hope I learn to love it better and perhaps ritually so as the seasons change. I hope I learn to understand it better too so I can coax a harvest from it and more deeply recognise my role as an inherent part of it. A lifelong journey of rewilding.

As for the present, here’s and cheers to a season of magic and to a restoration of our understanding of the magic in the wilds that surround us.

Merry Christmas.