Celebrating the Solstices

by Cayelin K Castell

Our zeitgeist whispers that the planet is alive;
that spirituality is based far more in the body and the earth than we’ve conceived in centuries;
and that to sustain ourselves,
we must live more simply, more cooperatively,
and bend our energy technologies to tap directly Sun’s power.

~Sun Stories Tales from Around the World to Illuminate the Days and Nights of Our Lives by Carolyn McVickar Edwards

Note: Zeitgeist refers the prevalent ideas of the time and place as well as the spirit of the times we are living. And…this article is still a work in progress…

The Solstices mark the time of year when the Sun is rising and setting as far south (Winter Solstice) or as far North as possible before changing direction. When the Sun rises at its southern extreme in the Northern Hemisphere we have Winter Solstice. When the Sun rises at its northern extreme we have Summer Solstice.

The Sun at the Winter Solstice reaches an ending or death, dying to the previous yearly cycle. The Winter Solstice is marked by the longest night of the year, the shortest day. This time marks the beginning when the days slowly begin to lengthen and the nights slowly grow shorter.

The Sun at Sumer Solstice is reaching a point of fullness or the mid-point of the Solar Cycle. The Summer Solstice marks the longest day and the shortest night of the year and the turning point where the days slowly begin to shorten and the nights slowly begin to lengthen.

In the bigger picture, we are also ending a Great Year that has lasted nearly 26,000 years. That means this is time when we are witness to a new beginning of an entirely new 26,000 year cycle. The ending and beginning of a Great Year occurs over many years. We propose in Shamanic Astrology that it lasts at least 144 years as the processional cycle moves one degree every 72 years and these points are on at least some part of the Galactic Cross (the intersection of the plane of the Solar System with the plane of the Galaxy) for 72 years before and 72 years after the exact alignment.

Galactic Center

In every death or ending of a cycle, there is also a birth and a new cycle begins, a new year is born. The Winter Solstice typically marks the end and beginning of the Solar Cycle and with this point now aligned on the Galactic Cross near Galactic Center it suggests we are also at the end and beginning of a “Great Year” or Galactic Year. Winter Solstice is a time in the natural rhythm of the year that helps us remember the importance of endings and dying to the old, while also experiencing new beginnings and being reborn anew.

This shows the plane of the Galaxy (the Blue Line) and the plane of the solar system (the green line) where they intersect near Galactic Center between the Archer and the Scorpion. Please ignore Jupiter as this was map was made in 2008 and Jupiter is no longer located in this area of the sky.

The Sun at the Summer Solstice represents a fruition point where the intent set at the Winter Solstice is fully illuminated. The warmth of the Sun, the abundance of the planets and the fruits of this time of year remind us of the fullness of life and the fullness of the light that gives us life here on Earth.

Attuning to the yearly cycle of the Sun, the mysteries of the pure life force it represents, the magic and power of the light and illumination the Sun provides, is one way to consciously participate with these changing times. Without the Sun we would not have life on this planet as we know it. The Sun is essential to our existence and has much to teach us about life.

The word solstice literally means ‘stand still of the Sun’ and is a time when the Sun rises and sets on the horizon in the exact same place for three days. As mentioned before the Solstices are currently aligned with the intersection of the Milky Way (the plane of the Galaxy) and the Ecliptic (the path the planets travel and plane of our Solar System) also known as the Galactic Cross. There are two Galactic Crosses. One is near the center of our Galaxy located between the constellation of the Archer and the Scorpion. The other is at the edge of our Galaxy located between the Twins and the Bull.

This means that the Sun is located on one of these crosses for three days during the Solstice or stand still of the Sun. It is interesting to contemplate the meaning of the Sun is on the Cross for three days. In Shamanic Astrology we understand that this is one of the primary factors alerting us to the current Turning of the Ages. Note the crosses in the images. The one above is the December Solstice cross. The Below is the June Solstice cross.

This is the Galactic Cross at the Galactic Edge where the Summer Solstice Sun rises between the constellation of the Twins and the Bull

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