With solstice here we'll celebrate
This sacred time and have much cheer
We will bring warmth and we'll bring light
Unto the darkest time of year
The mistletoe will be cut down
With sickle from the sacred tree
A kiss I'll give to you my love
A pledge of friendship made to thee
For greater than the will of man
Or want of that which can be done
It falls and shines on where we stand
Beneath the great unconquered sun
from "Unconquered Sun" (Steeleye Span/Ken Nicol)
I have long held a soft spot in my heart for the Winter Solstice.* It is always close to Christmas without actually being Christmas, and it comes freighted with oodles of colorful pagan, druidical, Golden Bough-ish regalia. Even better, it is in that rare class of events that occur simultaneously for the entire world. Unlike man-made holidays and calendar-based observances such as the variously calculated New Years, which occur at different times or on different days depending upon your time zone or creed, the Winter Solstice occurs for all -- as do its cousins the Vernal and Autumnal Equinoxes and that other, less interesting Solstice -- at that moment when the entire planet occupies a precise spot on Kepler's ellipse. It is there and gone in a flash, but it is the same flash no matter where you are. Whoa. Dude.
Unfortunately, because I scheduled this post to appear at the moment of this year's Solstice, the fact that you are reading this means you have already missed it.
The solstice being no more than a memory already, lets continue to dwell on the past. Here are links to my two previous Winter Solstice posts. Not sure where I went wrong in 2003 and 2005:
- 2006: A Southwest Solstice [w/ special guest, Howe Gelb]
- 2004: Trilithon for Size [w/ special guests John Constable and J.M.W. Turner]
Special solstice greetings to Cowtown Pattie, down around the Big Bend, in honor of her decidedly ribald suggestion of last year concerning appropriate celebratory rituals.
And extra special solstice greetings to each and all, out here lost in the stars.
UPDATE : Because I originally pre-posted this, I was not able at first to link this year's contribution from that other congenital Solstice observer, David Giacalone at f/k/a. There's haiku involved, naturally. Also, a reminder that it's not too late to equip yourself for the coming year with the freely downloadable and printable 2008 Giacalone Haiga Calendar, combining David's poetry with his twin Arthur's photography.
I've got mine. Have you?
(What's that? You've got mine, too? Get your own, why don'cha?)
* The Wikipedia article on seasons tells me I should call the Winter Solstice the "December Solstice" because "it is no longer considered appropriate to use the old northern-seasonal designations for the astronomical quarter days" lest one be thought a loathsome southernhemispherophobe. (Antipodophobe?) This comes as news to me, and I am not certain I actually believe it.