Winter Solstice in Iowa
Winter Solstice at Stonehenge on the Salisbury Plain In England
Winter Solstice at Chaco Canyon in New Mexico (Sun Dagger solstice marker atop of Fajada Butte)
My homage to the Solstice, in bronze
Today is the shortest day of the year and probably more significant to the ancients, the longest night of the year. Imagine in ancient times the long, dark nights of winter. In bad times there wouldn't be much food stored and the fear of not knowing whether you and your family would survive the harsh winter must have been unbearable. So it's no wonder that many civilizations marked this time on their calendars and celebrated with rituals, feasts and celebrations. The solstice meant the return of the light, the rebirth of the sun. It must have been a beacon of hope during the cold, dark nights. It's funny how the tradition of celebrating rebirth during the midwinter has survived from pagan times to now. I like the thought that we are in some ways connected to those who came so long before us.
The word 'solstice' derives from the latin, sol (sun) and sistere (standing still). It should serve as a reminder to take some time to be still and enjoy the season.