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 each reflects a distinct journey for the land and, in turn, a rhythm for our lives. Whether that be how the land is farmed or the rituals families quietly adopt for each season.

Today is the Winter Solstice and winter is, quite beautifully, a season for retreating and resting, just as the land does.

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.

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. I hope I learn to understand it better 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 if you like.

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.


Thanks to the brilliant Hannah Henderson for the winter pics. To discover some rituals for living with nature in winter, visit here