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"There is a moment of silence that occurs every year…a moment we have all experienced at least once in our lives, maybe more than once.  It can silence a great city like London or New York, and it can bring stillness to our hearts, whoever and wherever we may be.  That moment is like no other. It offers the promise of new beginnings, of the clean slate of new year, and it incorporates the breathless expectancy of Christmas night itself…" -- THE WINTER SOLSTICE,  John and Caitlin Matthews

Dear Friends,

Winter Solstice marks the shortest day and longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, the turning point of the Sun.  After a pause, a  "standing still,"  our days grow longer and our  hours of darkness decrease.

Whether we celebrate Christmas, Hannukah, Diwali, Kwanzaa, or Celtic Yule, billions of us across the globe celebrate the return of the light; but first we acknowledge this pause in the darkness before turning, a moment full of magic.

In Druidic traditions, Winter Solstice is thought of as a time of death and rebirth when Nature's powers and our own souls are renewed. The Old Sun dies (at dusk on the 21st of December) and the Sun of the New Year is born (at dawn on the 22nd of December), framing the longest night of the year.

Ireland's Newgrange, a prehistoric circular stone monument estimated to be over 5,000 years old, is centuries older than Stonehenge, and older than the Egyptian pyramids. It was built to receive a shaft of sunlight deep into its central chamber at dawn on Winter Solstice.  Today, the light enters about four minutes after sunrise; but calculations based on the Earth's precession 5,000 years ago show that first light would have entered exactly at sunrise -- a marvel of early astronomy.

Another Fun Fact for you:  According to NASA, "this year, bright planets Jupiter and Saturn will align perfectly on Dec. 21 to create what is commonly called the Christmas Star or the "Star of Bethlehem". Jupiter and Saturn align with one another every 20 years or so, but not nearly as close together as they will be in 2020. The planets have not aligned this closely in about 400 years, nor has their alignment been visible (occurred at night) in about 800 years."

That's a lot of light to look forward to.

 



Winter Solstice - December 21, 2020



 

Frankincense and myrrh
were never gifted to her;
only lodestones --  night and day.
Only She harks their herald…
turning time her way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once handed out on street corners, it seemed right to update the broadside* form for our electronic age's street corner - the web. Welcome to A VISION AND A VERSE, an e-Broadside. Four to six times a year, I'll showcase a featured image and poem of mine, matching them on a seasonal or timely theme.

A seasonal celebration and a sharing of my creative process, I hope you'll want to subscribe to future issues. Click here for a free subscription

Margaret McCarthy

*A broadside is a large sheet of paper printed on one side only. Historically, broadsides were posters, announcing events or proclamations, or simply advertisements. Today, broadside printing is done by many smaller printers and publishers as a fine art variant, with poems often being available as broadsides, intended to be framed and hung on the wall.
-From Wikipedia