The Winter Solstice

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Winter Solstice Musings 2004
 - Margie McArthur, Dec 20, 2004

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   It all comes down to the Mother and her Child.

    The story is told over and over around the world in various ways, but it always comes back to the Mother and her child. Even in Christian mythos the reference is to "round yon virgin, mother and child."

    Who is this Christ Child born of the virgin mother, Mary, at the winter solstice—the time of the year’s longest night? It is Child of Promise: Light born from the Darkness, Manifestation born from the Unmanifest, Life born from the Void—the Void which is not empty, but rather, full of potentialities.  This child is the light of renewed life, who is born into the death and darkness of winter.

    And who is the Mother who gives birth to the child? She is the Mare (pronounced: mah-ray, or mah-ree), Mari, the dark and vast bitter sea of space - the Virgin Mother Void from which all things are born. The correlate on earth is the ancient sea (Latin: mare) from which all life came forth - life-forms as numerous as the stars in the sky or the grains of salt in the that same primordial sea.

     Tonight is Mother Night, so called in the old Germanic Traditions where the Goddess Holda was honored. This is the night we celebrate HER - First Mother, the Great Mother of all manifest life. This is the time of her confinement, the time when she labors to give birth to the Light, the light which will enable life. From the watery womb of darkness is born the fiery spark of light.

     On this night we reconnect with the eternal truth of beginnings - of light emerging from darkness, of life being birthed into being. And on this Solstice Eve night we honor First Mother, as we remember how she gave birth to light, and thus to the universe, and all that is.

     Just before dawn tomorrow (local time) comes the moment of solstice - of the sun standing still - the three day pause before movement seemingly begins again on Christmas Day, when the Child of Light and Promise has fully emerged and life starts anew. We celebrate the fact that now is Horus is born from Isis, Adonis from Myrrha, Mithras from Anahita the Immaculate One, and Jesus from the Virgin Mary.

     In a way, each of us is this Child of Light, the Child of Promise - Jesus, Adonis, Mithras, Horus. Each of us is light born from our precious Dark Mother. The spark of life and light of mind and intelligence are our heritage - within each of us to use as we will - because we are all sparks from that first Divine Flame and therefore, we, too, are Divinity as it manifests on this plane of matter/mother, our Mother Earth.

     When the Christmas carol says, Veiled in flesh the godhead see, hail the incarnate deity, it is really speaking not just of the Christ child but of us all - the divine concealed in a robe of substance; spirit contracted down from its expanded and rarified state into a more dense, material one. Every winter solstice brings us a fresh realization of this truth, and a fresh opportunity to reconnect with our own divine source and self.

   It came upon a midnight clear...... This time of the year relates to midnight because it is truly the darkest hour of the year. Darkness precedes and gives birth to the light.

   How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given…... The wondrous gift of life birthed from First Mother begins in the silent darkness.

    We hear the Christmas Angels, the great glad tidings tell…... But as light emerges so does sound. And the voice of the Divine speaks in the form of angels - the Beings traditionally said to be messengers of the Divine - as they proclaim this sacred, auspicious beginning - the holy birth.

    The Mother Mary is the ma-re, the matrix, the bitter sea (known in the Qabala as Binah) from which all creation (matter) arises. Mary births the light.... Maria (the dark and bitter sea), births the Christos (the anointed one), who is Light Incarnate - spirit in substance.

    I realize that this might sound like it’s all past tense. As if it may have happened years ago and is now complete. But please realize that it is an ongoing process, because creation is an ongoing process that expresses itself continuously through the cycles of conception, gestation, birth, growth, decay, death, and rebirth. And the Cycle of the Seasons reminds us of this, expressing this eternal truth, over and over as the earth makes its yearly journey around the sun.

    The solstice-born Child of Light is the reborn sun that will increase and grow throughout the waxing part of the year. But this Child, whose birth is commemorated in story and song, also represents the Light - born of the Galactic Mother - as shone through the lens of the current Astrological Age, which is the sign of the zodiac in which the sun rises on the morning of the spring equinox.

    Thus, for the last 2000 years, the Holy Solstice Child has been the Piscean "Fisher of Men."

     We have heard over and over that we are living in the time of the changing of the Age from the sign of Pisces to that of Aquarius. These Ages are like months of the Great Year - the 26,000 year cycle of the precession of the equinoxes, so we are going from the 'month' of Pisces into the 'month' of Aquarius. Each of these months has different energies and themes, and these are then played out and made manifest in the ongoing creation and evolution of our planetary lifestream.  

     The time of transition between Ages is traditionally one of confusion and chaos, as old beliefs, ways of being, patterns, and structures break down from their own dead weight to make way for the "new" that is coming through. And yet, hints and whispers of the new are often heard and felt too, although these are still in embryonic form.  These transition times can be very schizophrenic, as we struggle through them, wondering which 'reality' is the real one!

And this is where we are right now, at this point in time. We are at a point very similar to that of Midwinter Solstice: already part way through the cycle of breakdown and dissolution. We are at a point where the darkness is deepest, the dissolution most severe, and the wintery, cold, watery Tide of Cleansing is sweeping things away, often in a quite terrifying way. And yet, we are also at the point where the new energies, and hints of the new patterns can be sensed, can be felt...just enough to give us the hope to hang on.

     We are truly living through hard times; time when one age is dissolving and the next one is not yet fully formed. But we must live in faith that it will be formed, that we will survive, and we must contribute our good will and efforts to its formation and eventual healthy birth.

     But getting through that dark time!  We are helped in this task by the fact that each year as the winter solstice comes around it brings us increasing infusions of the energies of the age to come, if we can but feel their tantalizing hints in the surrounding darkness. 

     This coming Change of the Ages is also marked in the Mayan calendar, whose end date of December 21, 2012 is rapidly approaching. The Mayan lore says the world ends on that day, meaning that one world (or Age) ends and the next begins. But really, this 'end of the world' day is more than just one 24 hour day. This end date is affixed to a celestial event that takes several years to complete, so this energy of 'transition' (so similar to that of the human birth process, as every mother knows) will be with us for several years to come.

     The celestial event to which I refer is the fact that the winter solstice sunrise of Dec 21, 2012, will be exactly aligned with the dark rift of the Milky Way. This rift points directly into the galactic center, and is linked in many cosmologies with the Great Mother Goddess who births the cosmos. Poetically speaking, the visual imagery suggests the dark rift to be the birth canal of the Great Mother, from which energies from the galactic center - her womb - periodically emerge, bearing the embryonic energies and new patterns of the era which is to come.

     This alignment also conjuncts the Mayan stellar configuration of the Sacred Tree, which is the spot where the ecliptic crosses the Milky Way, So one might say that the Sacred Tree of Life will be reborn or regenerated by the new energies birthed by the Great Mother. What responsibility, yet what joy, to be living during these intense times!

     And with this we are brought back again to the darkness that is Mother Night, as we await with joy, this Winter Solstice Eve, the birth of the Divine Child of Light - within our planetary cycle, and within our own hearts, minds, and souls. 

     So, indeed, the wondrous gift is given - the Divine Light reborn of the Dark Mother.

     Yes, it all does all come down to the Mother and her Child....


Blessings of the dark winter sky and the bright winter stars to you,
Blessings of winter's peace and silence to you,
Blessings of winter's cleansing rains and crystalline snows to you,
And peace - deep peace - to you and yours.


(c) 2004, Margie McArthur
Yes, we'll notice