Winter Moon of the Winter Solstice
Something new seems to be happening. Not sure if I’m reading the rustling in the ether of our culture right, but it feels like the Great Wheel may have begun to reemerge. Not in a Wiccan or alt-pagan way, though that’s certainly there, but in a from the ground up way (so to speak).
A friend called me tonight to wish me a salubrious solstice. Kate wants to do a fire tonight. First Universalist has a solstice celebration as do many UU congregations. There has been, for a while now, solstice celebrations on the continent. I’m most familiar with ones in Scotland and Sweden.
These celebrations, rituals whatever we might call them are not confined to the Winter Solstice though the spreading knowledge of Christmas’s relationship to the Saturnalia, itself a winter solstice holiday, has given the Winter Solstice a cultural leg up, as has a more general appreciation for the other festivals of light around this time: Deepavali, Hanukkah, Christmas trees and home decorating–neither one of which has any obvious link with the Christian holiday.
I don’t know quite how to go about measuring the cultural penetration of solstice and equinox awareness, or the depth of its relation to individual’s religious yearnings, but my own sensibilities suggest the penetration has gone far past the surface and has, for some folks, like myself, reached the point of religious sentiment.
The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, in a somewhat ham-fisted way, changed its holiday traditions focus from a sort of Victorian dress up for Christmas to what is now called a Winter Lights celebration.
I’d be interested to know what you think, what you see from your standpoint.