What's it all about?
First a little geekery:
The word Solstice is composed of two roots: Sol (Sun) and Sistere (to come to a stop, make standstill). So the Solstice is the time that the Sun Stands Still. We're all gonna die!!!!
As you know the Sun's zenith is higher in the Summer and lower in the Winter. Winter Solstice marks the lowest zenith for the Sun and, therefore, the longest night and shortest day. Sunrise also reaches it's southern maximum on Winter Solstice. Sunrise is due East on Vernal (Spring) and Autumnal Equinox. Sunrise on Summer Solstice is 23.5 degrees north of due East and on Winter Solstice it is 23.5 degrees south of due East. The Sun is basically parked (stand still) at that southern maximum for three days.
The ancients would track this in a few ways that I know of: use sundials, build a stone low enough from a specific vantage point that the Sun will only graze it on Winter Solstice, build a stone south enough from a certain vantage point that the rising Sun will only graze it on Winter Solstice, build a long tunnel (barrow) that the Sun will only align to on Winter Solstice. All of these methods are more accurate than you might think, but most of them will not differentiate Solstice from the days immediately sandwiching it. Why? Because the Sun Stands Still. It rises just about as far south on the 22nd and 23rd and stays as low in the sky as it does on the 21st.***
So what? Good question. Well, long nights kind of suck. Perhaps much more so for the ancients who were most likely less equipped to deal with cold and predators than we are today. Winter Solstice was known as the time when the "Sun dies." Then, after the Solar Stand Still, the Sun is born. It's no coincidence that this happens right around the time (Christmas Day) we're told the Son was born. Sun. Son. Interesting. Many ancient solar calendar systems use December Solstice as the last day of the year. Makes sense, right? The solar year ends when the Sun dies. The next begins when the Sun is born.
And now less geek, more magic. It's the most magical time of the year, is it not? Why, because we are told to be festive, get time off work, and have many customs of exchanging gifts with families and loved ones. Okay. Don't let me be the coal in your stocking, but the magical associations of Winter Solstice vastly predate Christmas music.
This is a time of DEATH and BIRTH! Take a look at the Sun. That's the Sun, son!!! That's the light, the rising savior, the energy! We would not be here without the Sun's godly gifts. If you don't believe the Sun's varying output can alter our psychology, astrology is most likely not for you. Get back to work. Move to Seattle . Let's not get into a scientific discussion of the Solar wind's effects on Earth's magnetic fields, which effects our personal fields (yes we have them). Let's not do that today. Let's stop talking to ourselves.
Right.... Death and Birth. What is it you wish to let go of? What is standing in the way of you bringing something beautiful into your experience. It's time to slay that demon and fill the hole with the brightest light. This magic is available to you any minute of the year, but perhaps most available at this time as the Sun dies and is reborn. Use it! Why not take a few minutes out of your holiday craziness of giving to give to yourself. Ask yourself what gift you'd truly like to receive from Universe / Spirit / God / Etc. Ask yourself what is standing in the way? Ask U/S/G/Etc. to show you how to clear that obstacle. You will be supported.
This rare time of Galactic Alignment is perhaps more charged than any other. The Winter Solstice Sunrise (the Birth of the Sun) is precisely aligned to Galactic Center for the first time in 26,000 years! It's been happening probably from around 1975 and will happen until 2020 or so. There are many models for the range of dates, but none deny that it is happening today. Right now! This means, when you look at the Sun today, you are looking straight into Galactic Center. Scientists call this a super massive black hole. Various esoteric traditions have called it companion, dark star, Black Madonna, among many other mystical terms. The Mayans called it Hunab Ku: the great Mother and Creator of us all. Regardless of what you call it, it is the CENTER, the Galactic Sun our Sol orbits. Look to the Sun today to find your local Solar Center aligned exactly to your Galactic Center. Blow kisses.
This might seem like a meaningless coincidence. It might just be. But legends, myths, and cosmologies from ancient civilizations all around the globe point to this time as one of greatest importance. Galactic Alignment has many, many descriptions. My favorite is The Sun on the Cross. A long story, that, but what I'm trying to get across is that this Death and Rebirth process available to you now is also available to all of humanity. What is it humanity must destroy to create something more beautiful?
We would all type our computers dead attempting to answer that one. So how about one word? LOVE.
In the local news, our closet Planetary partner, Venus, goes retrograde today. Seems like the Galactic Alignment magic is being asked to be applied to a specific quality called Love. A dear friend just sent me this message: "It's Venus retrograde. I hear its not a good time to hook up with new love. Is that true for love sparked before the rx even If opportunity only allows connection for the first time during?"
Good news: Venus doesn't go retrograde until just before 2:00pm PST so you've got an hour or so left to sign those contracts. Hurry!
I try not to get shaken when the pretenses of the past paradigm's Planetary police are forwarded my way.
Then I shake a little.
Why should we run and hide from retrograde cycles? I can understand why the ancients would freak out when Planets started moving backwards through the Zodiac, but it is now understood (and has been for a long ass time) that this retrograde motion is an optical illusion. It's just like the illusion we experience when cars we pass on the highway seem to be moving backwards (retrograde) for a time. Illusions within the illusion, as it were.
Venus stations Retrograde today because she is preparing to pass us on the her inner lane of the racetrack. There will indeed be observational repercussions. Venus has been beautifully bright as Evening Star of late, but she has now (from Earth's perspective) changed directions and is on a collision course with the Sun. She's heading into the Underworld Planets find themselves in when they get too close to the Sun and are blinded by its glare. Bright Venus is lost in the Underworld when she falls within 10 degrees of the Sun. This will happen on January 5th. Bye bye, Beautiful.
Venus will Conjunct the Sun (precisely between Earth and Sun) on January 11th. The last Venus/Sun Conjunction was June 5th 2012. Fellow SkyWatchers will remember that date as the very rare Venus Transit when the tiny dot of Venus could be visibly seen crossing over the Sun disc. That won't happen this time around because Venus will be well below the Sun (from our view on Earth). In fact, you will most likely no longer be occupying your current monkey suit during the next Venus Transit in 2117.
Venus will be reborn as Morning Star with her helical rising (visible Eastern ascent before Sunrise) on January 17th. Shamanic Astrology defines this helical rise as the start date for Venus' 584 day synodic cycle. This is the day Venus is reborn and because she will be in the Sign of Capricorn that day, she will spend the following 584 days honoring and embodying the Capricorn archetype. The 584 day cycle that began on June 5th, 2012 and will end on January 16th, 2014 has been a Gemini Cycle for Venus.
What does this mean for us? Venus is Goddess of Love and Beauty. Gemini is trickster, magician, eternal youth, intellectual pursuit of truth. Capricorn is wise elder, grandmother, tradition keeper. There is clearly more than one Planetary variable in the equation of Love and Beauty, but Venus carries the most significance in that math.
LOVE is transitioning from a state of eternal youth trickster magic to one of wise elder tradition keeper. To some, that sounds horrible, but it's not how I read this transition anyway. I believe this Venus Retrograde syntonization to Galactically Aligned Winter Solstice is bringing highest magic to rewrite the traditions of Love. I believe Gemini Venus is about to educate Capricorn Venus. I believe the energy is being seeded for us to release some of the dogma and rules of the Love traditions society suggests. Okay, programs. I believe it's time to destroy old dogma to make room for traditions of light and bliss. Is this not the taste of Love's kiss?
Let's let go of dogma like, "It's Venus retrograde. I hear its not a good time to hook up with new love." And that's an astrological metaphor for the patriarchally programmed matrimonical milieu. Less rules, more Love I say.
IT'S ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS A WONDERFUL TIME TO HOOK UP WITH A NEW LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
'But the astrologer says, if I hook up with a new love now, it surely won't last.'
So what????? Why are we so afraid of death? I mean that in every way. Yes, heartbreak sucks, but it happens because we throw all of our chips into the pot of a gamble we know nothing about. Yes, it's easy to ride the love buzz into stormy seas, but did it ever kill you? Absolutely not. Even the deepest heartache will bring amazing gifts of soul growth when we allow it to.
I propose our new Love traditions be ones of not taking things so damn seriously. Why do we need to hear wedding bells as soon as we see a face? Our need for permanence is a killer of longevity. And our fear of death keeps us from living. It's time to truly live. And to truly live we should allow ourselves to Love with no fear or expectations. We honor our partner most when we never stop loving ourselves.
It's always always always a magical time to hook up with a new love and it's the most magical time of the year, is it not?
I love you,
This year the Standstill dates are 12/20, 12/21, 12/22 because exact Solstice when the Sun reaches 00 Capricorn was around 9:00 this morning.
December Sunrise / Sunset times for Seattle, WA: