December 21st marked winter solstice and the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. Winter solstice is the day when the sun reaches its most southerly position in the sky, and today we celebrate the lengthening of days leading to summer solstice. Yesterday we experienced a magnificent astronomical event with the Great Conjunction. "On the evening of December 21st, the separation between Jupiter and Saturn reduces to one-tenth of a degree, one-fifth the width of the full moon. They have not been this close since 1623!" explained Griffith Observatory Planetarium Engineer David Nakamoto.
These astronomical events beautifully set the stage for new beginnings as we celebrate the sun balancing the darkness. Winter solstice has been celebrated around the world for centuries. In the Chinese tradition, winter solstice is tied to the idea of yin and yang. The harvest season has ended and the winter darkness is balanced with the light from the sun. At Stonehedge in England folks gather at dawn after the longest night to observe the magical occurrence of the sun rising. And in Vancouver winter solstice is honored with a festival of lanterns illuminating the dark skies on the longest night of the year as they await the birth of the new sun.
The Christmas tree is a winter solstice tradition that evolved from a European pagan ritual. Europeans would decorate their homes with fir trees and branches to add color and light in contrast to the darkness of winter. They celebrated the arrival of longer days and coming bounty. Hand written intentions for the year ahead were then hung on the tree.
Today we celebrate a new beginning as the longest night is now behind us. We are illuminated by the rejuvenating sun and reflect on what we want the coming year to bring. Leave 2020 behind and position yourself to receive all the blessings you deserve. Take time to create your intentions. What do you want to attract into your life? Be as concrete with your intentions as you can, but worry not if you are not entirely specific. Setting intentions signals your unconsciousness to begin moving in the direction of your desires.
Light a candle to honor our life giving sun that balances the darkness in our lives. Then reflect, write, and allow gratitude to embrace your soul as you set your intentions. Hang your intentions on your tree and rejoice in the new beginning that is being offered to you today.