December 21, 2014 marks the Winter Solstice, which is the official beginning of winter, and the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. But there’s a light at the end of this tunnel — literally! As the temperatures fall throughout the winter, the light grows, representing new hope during a time of darkness.
Ancient solstice festivals were the last big feasts before food became scarce during the harsh winter months. This magical day was celebrated from ancient Rome to China, and by the builders of Stonehenge to the Mayans. In fact, we all remember the Winter Solstice on December 21, 2012, which was the apparent end of the Mayan calendar, causing many to believe the end of the world is coming. Obviously, we’re still here!
Many modern holiday traditions, such as Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year’s, have their roots in the Winter Solstice celebrations of yesterday. Winter festivals continue today, complete with lights, feasts, dancing and singing, and spending quality time with those we love.
Astrologically, the Winter Solstice marks the moment the Sun — the ruler of the zodiac — moves from adventurous Fire sign Sagittarius to the steady Earth sign of Capricorn. This is the dark night of the year, a day when the Sun appears to stand still. It’s a time for light and laughter, but also deep reflection.
The Sun’s move into steady Capricorn urges us to take some time to look back on 2013 before we make those New Year’s resolutions. What did we do right? What do we wish we’d done differently? Don’t fight the seriousness it brings to the festive holiday season — use it to start 2014 on the right foot! Just make sure to keep some of the Goat’s ambitious energy alive when the Sun makes its next move.