Many celebrate the winter solstice as the start of a new year and most of us will be glad to do that as 2020 has been, to put it mildly, a bizarre year.
The winter solstice is the shortest day and longest night of the year and as we go deeper into winter, we welcome the coming back of the sun as each day lengthens a little bit.
In olden times the year was divided into two-spring and summer, autumn and winter and this was supervised by the mother Goddess that is nature. Now this division was from solstice to solstice the reason for this is that at the winter solstice we are welcoming back the sun, the sun which brings fertility and life is represented by the oak tree and the holly tree but in alternate seasons. At the summer solstice the holly tree takes over, begins its reign through the summer months but as the summer and the sunshine wane and autumn comes with the harvest so the sun weakens for wintertime. As the winter solstice approaches it is time for the oak tree to take over the rule of the sun as it brings the world out of the winter blues and into the spring time.
Other symbolism for this is the unicorn and the lion which can be seen in many places such as heraldic arms, coins and statues in governmental buildings.
I have made a video that explains the solstice symbolism, how not only the lion and the unicorn are related to it but also the divine right of kings as well as ancient myths and legends that are associated to this special day of the year.
And of course, since this is a Hermes issue on Art, I must mention some. A theme that goes symbolically with the seasons and the solstices is that of the lion and the unicorn and we have the artwork of the lion & the unicorn displayed in the tapestries known as the ‘Lady and the Unicorn’. There is a lot of mystery about these tapestries; who made them? Why were they designed? Who commissioned them? What is the meaning to them? All of these questions I look into in the short film.
So as the winter solstice rolls around, we can take this time to celebrate the change into a new year. This year’s winter solstice is also special because there will be an astral alignment that has not been seen for a long, long time; Saturn and Jupiter will be the closest that they have ever been to each other and if you are lucky enough to have clear skies on winter solstice night, you can see them coming together, they will look like one bright shiny star as they pass each other.
Solstice blessings to one and all.