On December 21st, the sun enters the zodiac sign of Capricorn which indicates the Winter Solstice. The Winter Solstice marks the beginning of Winter in the Western Hemisphere and the day of the year with the shortest daylight hours. However, the Winter Solstice also has a deeper spiritual and astrological significance as well.
The term “solstice” comes from a Latin word meaning “the sun stationary” because during this time, the sun seems to stop at its lowest point on the horizon and then begin to move in reverse. To ancient peoples, the sun’s reverse movement and the days beginning to get longer seemed as though it was being “reborn”. Early Pagans traditionally celebrated this time of year in a winter festival called Yule. This was later adapted to what we now know as Christmas. Ancient Egyptians, Celts, Mayans, and Norse peoples all had their own versions of this winter festival as well. Of course, with astrology in mind, the most relevant version is that of the ancient Romans. They celebrated this time of year in a festival called Saturnalia. This was in honor of the Roman god, Saturn, which rules the zodiac sign of Capricorn.
Saturn is one of the planets that stirs up the most fear in astrology and this is because it is our planet of karmic responsibility. Saturn is associated with hard work, structure, discipline, obstacles, and restriction. These are all characteristics we attribute to the zodiac sign of Capricorn. However, many people forget that Saturn is also the planet of karmic rewards and is therefore associated with achievements, perseverance, and legacy as well.
The karmic lessons of Saturn can be difficult but the karmic rewards are greater. In understanding this, we learn that the true lesson of Capricorn season is that out of the darkness emerges light. Ancient cultures all across the globe celebrated a time of cold darkness because they knew the sun would return with its warm light. This is a time meant to honor the darkness as a catalyst for growth and enlightenment. We also honor this time of year with reflection on the year behind us and setting goals for the one ahead of us.
One of my favorite things to do at the winter solstice is to make a list of all of what I consider to be my failures of the year and another list of what I consider to be my successes. The purpose isn’t to compare them and measure my year based on which I had more of. The purpose is to honor both my failures and successes in the way that the ancient people honored both the darkness and the light. Know that out of one comes the other and both are a necessary part of the journey.
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