Monday, December 22, 2008

Winter Solstice

I prefer a quiet celebration of Winter Solstice, rather than participating in the travesty that Christmas has become. Solstice has been written about so very movingly by my blogbud Twilight in her post. In some cities, candle-light ceremonies are held. A little parade takes place in an old market area of Toronto where witches and warlocks can be seen and a simple community joy is visible by all in attendance.

Winter Solstice appeals to me. A celebration of the harmony and order of the seasons on this planet and a welcoming of the coming longer daylight hours with a farewell to the darkness. And so very Irish too. Solstice in pre-Christian times was celebrated in Newgrange in Ireland, in a tomb built before the pyramids 5000 years ago. The location is 26 miles North of Dublin. Here the Solstice can be seen in all its glory.

The sun, rising on December 21, shines directly along the long passage into the chamber for about 17 minutes and illuminates the chamber floor. This alignment is a marvel of complex calculations. The sun enters the passage through a specially contrived opening through the roof, which is situated above the main entrance and lights up the floor of the inner chamber.

Today the first light enters about four minutes after sunrise, but calculations of the Earth’s historical rotation show that 5000 years ago first light would have entered exactly at sunrise. An incredible mathematical feat for those times. Unless there is something we don't know.

Happy Winter Solstice everyone.

“May the sun shine brightly on this, your new beginning, may it be filled with balance, harmony, grace and joy.”


  1. We had a beautiful solstice watching the winter light dancing on the waves.

    Happy solstice WWW.


  2. I would love to see a return to joy in nature rather than joy in Mattel, Toyota and Sony.

  3. The the inner chamber at Newgrange is very small and entrance for the Winter Solstice is by lottery.

    Happy Winter Solstice WWW and to all your readers!

  4. @Hull:
    How absolutely splendid for you and Bobo!!
    Well said, me too!!
    I was incredibly moved when I was there, it is a very sacred place.
    Thanks for the good wishes!

  5. Thanks for the mention, WWW. And warm Solstice greetings to you and everyone who graces your little corner of blogland. :-)

  6. Christmas and it Christian reason is lost on me and I hearken back to the days when the pine tree was worshiped and decorated for its ever greenness.

    I am a pagan at heart and feel connected to my ancient ancestors who had other matters on their mind, such as when will winter be over so that we will have abundance in nature again.

    I don't care much for witches and warlocks having made this event their event, when it clearly belonged to my ancestors as a whole. We don't have that phenomenon in the Netherlands and they would not be taken seriously.

    Many of us share the same ancestors who celebrated the solstice and we own that particular event. It is not exclusive. Nor are the huge bonfires at Easter. They are for the people and of the people.

  7. how lovely! downtown minneapolis shoots off fireworks over the mississippi river on solstice.

    very festive.

    have you been to newgrange to watch the sun move?

  8. @T:
    Thank you!
    Yes, like you I would prefer the humanist approach to this wonderful Solstice season. And all inclusive celebration. How come we lost touch with all of that? Oh yeah, the Invisible Cosmic Housekeeper's self-appointed interpreters and their money pitches.
    I've been to Newgrange but never won the lottery (it is by lottery every year) to see the Solstice itself.

  9. I have been to Newgrange as well, and another smaller one whose name eludes me this second. It was an amazing feeling. I had the goosebumps and shivers all along, not in a bad way, just my entire body was reacting to the history and story of it all.
    I would have loved to win the lottery, the chances are nearly as slim as winning the Lotto itself though. :(
    Happy Winter Solstice to you also dear WWW.

  10. I have always wanted to visit Newgrange, but never did because someone told me it is so fragile that only accredited historians and academics are allowed near the place. Good to hear one can visit it - it's on my list of things to do on our next visit to the Oul' Sod. Even without the Solstice, it must have some pretty powerful vibes.

    Happy Solstice, WWW. It's been a rare pleasure getting to know you.


    (Word veri = ougil. Sounds vaguely celtic paganish ...)

  11. Gaye:
    Did you get to see the Dolman stones when you lived in Ireland? Near the Burrin. Same kind of feeling, goosebumps all over.
    Backatcha with the good wishes in Summertime Oz.

  12. Tessa:
    And backatcha too, my dear. Kindred spirits.
    One is taken out on a bus to the site itself and there is a great museum near the site.
    Don't miss it.

  13. I visited the Burrin but I don't think I saw the Dolman stones.
    Next time. I will dig out my journal and find the name of the other one we have been to. It was two sites not far from each other, I have such bad memory with names.

  14. A lovely reminder of the beauty of seasonal changes...I am enjoying many entries in your blog and the Irish spirit that inspires them.


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