The Solstices


Summer Solstice (June) | Winter Solstice (December)


 The Summer Solstice

The Summer Solstice is the time when the Sun turns in its tracks and begins its tropical journey south, towards the equator. This, the shortest night of the year, happens on the eve of the 22nd of June (June 21).1 This major calendrical event is the focus of religious and social festivities in all cultures; Christian society marks the event with St John the Baptist's Day (June 24).
Midsummer has historically been the central point of the magical year: even today in some places, traditional hilltop bonfires are lit to revive the power of the Sun; flaming disks are thrown into the air; blazing wheels are rolled downhill; leaping and dancing around and through the fire are ritual encouragements for maximising the harvest. Magical powers are heightened and the little people are about. It is the ideal time for gathering magical herbs: pluck them before dawn, before breakfast, while the dew still wets the petals. Fern and fern-seed is gathered on Mid-Summer's eve, to harness the power of the Sun. Golden solar flowers such as St John's wort, mugwort and mistletoe, the golden bough, are worn as garlands.

Astrologically, the June Solstice marks the entry of the Sun into the Cardinal, Water Sign of Cancer. The Tropic of Cancer is the actual degree of latitude over which the Sun stops its journey north, and then turns, having gone as far north as it is going to each year. Cancer is ruled by the Moon and Mid-summer celebrates the elemental powers of fire and water, so people would light fires and bathe in the dew on the morning of Mid-summer's Day.

In 2006, the Solstice coincides with the change from Aries/Libra to Pisces/Virgo of the Moon's Nodes, a very significant 19 year cycle. The New Moon on the 25th also energises this change of cosmic speed. As promised, I have written an article on the effects associated with this cosmic switch, so to read it, please click Cosmic Phase Switch.
Even in the twenty-first century, people still love to come together and surf the cosmic wave of energy that is released at this time. Every person in the Holy Grail the Sacred Chalice, planet Earth's Light Grid participates in the distribution of the Life and in turn restores the Divine Plan on Earth. As the Life enters and flows through all individuals and their world, it makes the whole world sacred.
World Peace and Prayer Day

 The Winter Solstice

The Winter Solstice is the time when the Sun once more begins its tropical journey north. This, the longest night of the year, happens on the eve of the 22nd of December (Dec 21). A major calendrical event, it is the focus of religious and social festivities in all cultures, including the Christian celebration of Christmas. The birth of the Sun has been celebrated since time immemorial on or around the solstice, which is why the birth of Jesus is celebrated at this time (December 25). Ancient Rome recognised it in the day of the birth of the Invincible Sun, so the choice of this day for Christmas was a handy christianization of the established festival of Mithras, the Sun God.

Astrologically, the December Solstice marks the entry of the Sun into the Cardinal, Earth Sign of Capricorn. The Tropic of Capricorn is the actual degree of latitude over which the Sun stops its journey south, and then turns, having gone as far south as it is going to each year. Capricorn is ruled by Saturn, so the ancient Roman festival of the solstice was called the Saturnalia. As with our festivities today, there was much feasting! Wine, women and song were spread liberally around. Indeed, until the Christian Church became the official religion of the Roman Empire in the 4th Century, Christmas was not actually an official festival. Its pagan nature was frowned on. Things have loosened up a bit since then.

For a neat graphic and explanation of the celestial show, check out Archaeoastronomydotcom.

1 NOTE: in southern latitudes, of course, the solstices are reversed, so that the mid-winter character of Christmas in the Northern Hemisphere becomes a hot mid-summer celebration in Australia, South Africa, South America, New Zealand and other places south of the equator. Naturally enough, the mid-summer celebrations in June become mid-winter chills down south! This presents something of a problem for Christianity and for Astrology, or any other seasonal philosophy with claims to universality, a question which is partially addressed on this site in Ian Thurnwald's article on the Elemental Qualities, the building blocks of astrology. However, the tropical zodiac seems to delineate cultural forms (archetypes) within the Cosmic Mind. Our connection via the collective unconscious enables us to interpret these forms using astrology, even though the physical seasons may not actually comply with the symbolism. Click for more on The Living Signs.

 The Equinoxes mark the other points of the Cardinal Cross.

Article Source - http://www.astrologycom.com