Monday the 21st of December marks the Winter Solstice holiday for the northern hemisphere. This is the day when the sun stands still (which is the meaning of the word solstice) at the lowest point in the sky and begins to ascend again - hence the use of phrases such as “rebirth of the sun” or “return of the light”. We’ve reached a turning point and from here, our days will begin to get longer and longer until we reach the peak of the sun’s height at the Summer Solstice in June.

For some, the Winter Solstice marks the commencement of a new journey around the wheel of the year and the celebration of Yule. Yule is a pagan holiday that coincides with the winter solstice. It is a celebration of faith. In the midst of the longest and darkest night of the year, we hold tight to hope that the sun will return. Misty Bell Stiers writes my favorite description of this holiday in her book “Witch Please”. She says that “Yule  celebrates the tenacity of a world that will not give up in the midst of darkness, a world prepared to welcome in the light.” 

Yule invites us to connect with the sacred cycles of nature. We are encouraged to slow down and rest in preparation for new growth in the coming Spring. And much like the process of winterizing our gardens, Yule provides an opportunity to look inward and do a little tidying up - to discard things which are no longer needed or that are no longer serving us.

This years solstice comes with many other special aspects. We have the much anticipated Grand Conjunction. Jupiter and Saturn have now both entered the sign of Aquarius, an event which astrologers are calling “the birth of the Age of Aquarius”. Aquarian energy is all about freedom, revolution, and rebellion in order to create a better future for society as a whole. Aquarius is solution-focused and wants to “think outside the box” when creating new ideas and new solutions to humanitarian issues. 

Fun facts: The conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn happens every 20 years and in the same part of the sky every 800 years or so. This rare alignment is what some are referring to as the “Christmas Star” because when the two planets are this close, they look like one giant star in the sky. Try and view this spectacular sight if you can! This particular conjunction being so close to us is a once in a lifetime event. Look to the horizon in the southwest sky about an hour after sunset. 

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