This year marked our first Midwinter Solstice Celebration. A number of us gathered in Oxford with Rinpoche and the Mandala Mother on December 21st to eat, drink and take part in a special Yule ceremony to dispel negativity at this special turning point in our year.
For life on earth, daylight and day length are important as the sun is the ultimate source of light and warmth for beings. The solstices and equinoxes are key points in the solar calendar, magical times marking the passage from one phase of light and darkness to another. They have been celebrated since time immemorial, with monuments erected such as Stonehenge or Macchu Pichu. These foci drew in people from far and wide, serving as a way to unite and bind sprawling communities and kingdoms at regular intervals throughout the year.
At the Midwinter solstice, living in the northern hemisphere, you can notice the late dawns and early sunsets, and the low arc of the sun across the sky each day. You might notice how low the sun appears in the sky at local midday especially. Look at your midday shadow. At Midwinter, it’s your longest midday shadow of the year. In the Southern Hemisphere, it’s the exact opposite. Dawn comes early, dusk comes late. The sun is high during winter. Midwinter is your shortest midday shadow of the year.