Winter Solstice Dawn through MoonCourt window
Traditionally Winter Solstice has been celebrated by the ancients – our Gaian ancestors in many regions – as the birth of Light, the birth of Form. The stories of many cultures tell of the Great Mother giving birth to the Divine Child at this time of year. It is this Sabbat for which the ancient pre-Celtic indigenous Europeans apparently built Newgrange (Bru na Boinne), completing the major structures there between 3200 and 3700 B.C.E. The inner chamber wall of this mound is carved with the Triple Spiral motif, and at the Winter Solstice it is illuminated for seventeen minutes by the rising sun. There is reason to suppose that this motif was/is a significant representation of these ancestral understandings of Earth-Sun relationship, of Cosmic Creativity – in some way that we can only begin to guess at, and re-member for ourselves. It apparently does celebrate a triple-faced Cosmic Dynamic, that is perceived as central to ongoing Creativity, to the Life of the World: that Winter Solstice is a celebration of Cosmogenesis – the ongoing Birth of All, enabled and characterised by a Creative Triplicity. It seems a likely interpretation of this ancient rock inscription – this code left to us by the ancestors. The annual return of the Light at this Seasonal Moment, is a microcosm of the Birth of it All – and the Dynamic that births it all.
It is my understanding that nothing is excluded from this triple-faced Dynamic – not Earth, nor Sun, nor you or me: everything is subject to it … to the “waxing, peaking and waning” dynamic, an eternal re-creation. It is the “triskele” of energy (that is the Celtic word), “the innate triplicity of the Cosmos … that runs through every part of the Universe” (Matthews p.366). The Triple Goddess metaphor may celebrate and express this innate cosmic triplicity. For more on this, see Celebrating the Triple Spiral: a PaGaian Cosmology.
In Winter Solstice ceremony in the PaGaian MoonCourt we participate with these ancient forebears in their celebration of the Triple Spiral, in our “Cosmogenesis” Dance that is part of the Invocation (I have named it the “Cosmogenesis” Dance – some may recognize it as the “Stillpoint” Dance). I understand the dance as kin to the lighting of the Triple Spiral @ Bru-na-Boinne (Newgrange) in Ireland at the Moment of Winter Solstice, as it embodies and represents the 3 layers/qualities of Cosmogenesis, the Unfolding of the Cosmos. The dance has three layers of equal significance – it may be perceived as representing the three aspects of Goddess, the Triple Spiral dynamic:
Virgin/Young One – the ever new differentiated being: this is the outer layer when we are singular
Mother – the deeply related interwoven web: this is the middle layer when we are woven together
and Crone/Old One – the eternal creative return to All-That-Is: this is the inner layer when we hold the stillpoint as One.
The three layers of the dance may be understood and felt to embody these. The Dance represents the flow and balance of these three – a balance and flow of Self, Other and All-That-Is, that is within every moment. It may be experienced like a breath, that we breathe together – as we do co-create the Cosmos: it is my understanding that this is the “job” of our ceremonial dance on this holy night. I am sure the ancients would be pleased.
Copyright: Glenys Livingstone 2013
Livingstone, Glenys. PaGaian Cosmology: Re-inventing Earth-based Goddess Religion. Lincoln NE: iUniverse, 2005.
Matthews, Caitlin. The Celtic Spirit. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2000.