Here in Taos there are likely many gatherings of groups this evening celebrating the Solstice. I know of two. I'll be attending one that is held indoors and will take a pagan/shamanic approach. I know of another that will be outside around a fire, inspired by Mayan concepts. As with any juncture like this in the yearly cycle the day presents an opportunity for change and renewal of intention, for moving on toward our highest vision of ourselves while leaving things behind that no longer serve us.
This time of year has its own particular meaning and it's not the ending and new beginning that is its most important focus. The real "new year" of the complete yearly cycle occurs when the Sun moves into Aries in the spring--The Spring Equinox. We are still living with the intentions and the goals we set for ourselves at that time. Beginning now we start an inner process of evaluating the progress of our direction, the growth we see in ourselves since then. Where do we see ourselves a year ago by comparison? Do we like the changes we see? How might we take what we like and expand it? And so begins a conversation within ourselves for the next three months which leads to a new, revised, refined intention for the Spring Equinox. So we extend our stay in the "fruitful darkness" for now and take advantage of what this part of the cycle offers, long nights for dreaming, a good atmosphere for contemplation, for inner exploration, for absorbing, processing, learning.
I'll offer some re-phrased thoughts from Barbara Hand Clow's blog, AstroFlash: "The Winter Solstice is the most mystical and spiritual time of the year. This is a time to be brutally honest and evaluate our ideas relative to our highest values."
Since the sign Capricorn is our ambient focus now I will make a few comments about Saturn's influence in general. While Capricorn has a reputation for wanting the recognition and the material rewards of being at the top of any pyramid in sight (material or spiritual) it can also be appreciated as offering the discipline and focus to achieve any worthy goals. And so this positive aspect can be called upon at this time as our helper as we decide what to take along and what to leave behind.
In my collage art for this critical day I have tried to work within the energy I feel around Saturn and the earth element. I have often used this carved statue of a female to express the solid, grounded energy of the earth element. It is from this grounded place that higher consciousness can find its foundation, its springboard, from the core of the earth up to the cosmic sky. I use a labyrinth to suggest earth's challenging puzzle and the faith it takes to learn that all paths lead to the center, the Divine Self. The crowd of hands in the middle background comes from an ancient depiction of Kuan Yin found carved into the walls of a cave in China. They represent the field of loving compassion that is always present at the heart center, waiting to be discovered. The Buddah eyes at the top represent the Divine, the super-conscious mind, on which we can draw during meditation, contemplation or times of stillness.
I wish you a holiday season of joy and peace.