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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Winter Solstice by CFT

Sun., Dec. 21, 2008, 7:04 AM EST (12:04 UT), marked the solstice—the beginning of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and summer in the Southern Hemisphere. I didn't get all this information from my own research, I compiled it from a couple of useful websites: The Farmer's Almanac and Info Please.
The winter solstice marks the shortest day and the end of the longest night of the year. The sun appears at its lowest point in the sky, and its noontime elevation appears to be the same for several days before and after the solstice. The origin of the word solstice, comes from Latin solstitium, from sol, “sun” and -stitium, “a stoppage.” Following the winter solstice, we welcome back the light as the days begin to grow longer and the nights shorter.

For our family, and many Native Americans, the Medicine Wheel (not perfect, but pretty good Medicine Wheel explanation) teaches us that the beginning of winter marks time spent in the “North.” This is the place of white buffalo, Moose and Bear. These animals prepared themselves and have a layer of fat to sustain them through the winter. They rest and take things slow, not wasting energy, and with the understanding of what winter brings. They have also been the primary source of meat during the wintertime for people. We learn from them that through experience and age we gain wisdom.
Now we take the time to rest and contemplate the lessons. North is a great place of healing. This is the time after midnight, a dream time. The time to be grounded within yourself and deep within, like a bear in a cave. We wrote the prayers and wishes we had for ourselves in wax on to candles and then burned them, releasing the prayers into the spiritual realm.

Click here for "What to tell you children about racism."

An important component of this time of year is thanking the animals and taking care of them. Here's a great book called Thanks to the Animals.

Winter Solstice ceremony in Miami