It is the Season of Solstice on planet Earth: as Earth’s tilt leans us to the furthest point either away from, or toward, Sun – our source of life and energy. Surely it is a sacred Moment, an Earth holy day. For the Southern Hemisphere it is the Summer Solstice – the time of longest hours of light. For the Northern Hemisphere it is the Winter Solstice – the time of longest hours of dark. The actual peaking Moment is 16:28 UT December 21st. All global times can be found here: archaeoastronomy.com
The Solstices – Summer and Winter – celebrate a Sacred Interchange of the manifesting dark and the manifestation of light and form: it is a moment for consideration of the communal nature of the cosmic event we live within. It is that Moment when, depending on your hemisphere, the fullness of light or dark gives birth to either the dark or light; both of which continue to wax into fullness again reciprocally, until the next Solstice Moment (June), and the Interchange occurs again. The Solstices – both Summer and Winter – celebrate an essential Cosmic mystery of sacred interchange, a reciprocity at the heart of life, the relational quality of existence … “to be is to be related” – to be is to be in deep Communion. This Place of Being is a never-ceasing interaction of the manifesting dark and the manifest light and form: the Solstices celebrate this in particular.
Winter Solstice is the sacred interchange of what is not-yet with what will be, celebrating and marking the coming into being. Summer Solstice is the sacred interchange of what is with dissolution, celebrating and marking the fulfilment and purpose of that being, and its return to the Mother. As the Southern Hemisphere turns /returns to the dark – a celebration of the Give-Away of the fullness of Being, the Northern Hemisphere turns/ returns to the light – a celebration of the Birth of all manifest form, of Being, the Promise of ongoing Creativity. They mirror each other, and are the fulfillment of each other.
The Summer peaking of light celebrates a Radiance, the shining forth of all that a being is/may be which is at the same time a dissolving of self: I find this to be a deep mystery, a kind of Zen koan. It confounds me, this Giving-Away of all that a being is – in every moment actually – in that it is both a display/full expression of the self, and a dissolving of that self at the same time. And Mother Sun does this in every moment – pouring forth 4 million tons of Herself in every second. As cosmologist Brian Swimme reflects: “The Sun is, with each second, giving itself over to become energy that we, with every meal, partake of. … its spiritual significance is supreme.” He goes on” “…each day Sun dies as Sun and is reborn as the vitality of Earth. And those solar flares are in fact the very power of the vast human enterprise. And every child … needs to learn the simple truth: She is the energy of the Sun. And we … should organize things so her face shines with the same radiant joy.” Mother Sun is a model of fulfillment and generosity, and the peaking of light at this time of year, is a moment of celebrating and graciousness for all that is and has been given. At its deepest esoteric meaning, Summer Solstice is a celebration of the Mystery of Union – Re-Union – of this form that we are with All-That-Is – in its everyday reality. The fullness of expression of this form – the small selves that we are – fulfill our purpose, and we dissolve: and we may aspire to do so in every moment and action.
The Winter peaking of dark celebrates the Origins/Womb of all which is at the same time a flaring forth of being … as happens in every moment in the quantum foam, and as the Sun’s “return” assures. Winter Solstice Moment is a remembering of the Space/Void/Night out of which All arises: and this “vacuum” is everywhere, we are immersed in it, it is within and without, this “emptiness”, or pure space. Out of it “particles simply foam into existence … being itself arises out of a field of ‘fecund emptiness’. … The ground of the universe then is an empty fullness, a fecund nothingness … The base of the universe seethes with creativity, so much so that physicists refer to the universe’s ground state as space-time foam’.” Winter Solstice is a celebration of this deep mystery of being – the emergence, the Birth of the New Young One from this full darkness: and this Creativity is present in every drop of space-time. We live in an omnicentric and sentient universe, subjects within a great Subject who is birthing in every moment, and so may we.
For some Summer Solstice Poetry: PaGaian Summer Solstice 2009 on YouTube
For some Winter Solstice Poetry: PaGaian Winter Solstice 2009 on YouTube
At my place in Australia, I will create a simple ceremony this year (as close as possible to the actual Moment) since I am in transition, but it has been traditional for Summer Solstice ceremony to be held in MoonCourt – ceremonial space for Goddess. The invitation would read:
This is the time when the light part of day is longest …
You are invited to celebrate
Light reaches Her fullness, and yet …
She turns, and the seed of Darkness is born.
This is the time of the rose, blossom and thorn
– for pouring forth the Gift of Being.
The story of Old tells that on this day
Beloved and Lover dissolve into the single Song of Ecstasy – that moves the worlds.
Self expands in the bliss of Creativity,
Sun ripens in us. We are the Bread of Life –
we celebrate Her deep Communion and Reciprocity.
PaGaian Cosmology blogs for Summer Solstice/Litha
PaGaian Cosmology blogs for Winter Solstice/Yule
Summer Solstice and Winter Solstice meditations are on the PaGaian Cosmology Meditations CDs and also available individually in digital form at that link (scroll down).
Summer Solstice and Winter Solstice preparation/celebration e-notes, images and meditations are offered: Celebrating PaGaian Cosmology On-Line .
Some Summer and Winter Solstice story may be found in Appendix F of PaGaian Cosmology, or if you have a paper version of the book there is an Index for references throughout. These Seasonal Moments in relationship to the whole Wheel of the Year may be found in Chapter 5, and ritual scripts are offered in Chapter 7 – the on-line versions are usually a bit different from the paper versions, as they have evolved.
If you are celebrating Winter Solstice – The Birthplace of the Universe may be an inspiring contemplation of our Origins, the Womb in which we are. And whichever Solstice it is that you may be celebrating, these short clips of Brian Swimme’s DVD’s may be nurturant of that spirit: Generosity of the Sun and Radiance.
 Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry, The Universe Story, p.77.
 Brian Swimme, The Hidden Heart of the Cosmos, p.40.
 Brian Swimme, The Hidden Heart of the Cosmos, p.92-93.
Livingstone, Glenys. PaGaian Cosmology: Re-inventing Earth-based Goddess Religion. NE: iUniverse, 2005.
Swimme, Brian. The Hidden Heart of the Cosmos. New York: Orbis, 1996.
Swimme, Brian and Berry, Thomas. The Universe Story. New York: HarperCollins, 1992.