Mythic Times: Winter Solstice / Yuletide 2011 by Steven Nelson Mythic Astrologerwww.GaiaAstrology.com
Light returns on Winter Solstice for a New Year on planet Earth.
Solstice means “still standing Sun.” Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere sets the course of the New Year on Earth. Winter Solstice is a moment in time (7:42 am EST, 12:42 pm GMT Tuesday Dec 21) and it is a 7-day period (Dec 18-24) when the Sun appears to rise and set at approximately the same points on the horizon. During this time the limb of the Sun touches the Tropic of Capricorn the lowest point in the annual cycle. Winter Solstice is to the year as the New Moon is to the lunar cycle. These cycles have similar phases so just as a new lunar cycle becomes conscious and viable when the crescent appears on the evening after New Moon so the New Year spirit or zeitgeist becomes conscious on Epiphany Jan 6.
Sunrise and Sunset are important times during the days of Solstice and megalithic structures throughout the world align with these times. Only during Winter Solstice does the rising Sun strike the deep interior wall of New Grange, a great megalithic chamber north of Dublin. Only on Winter Solstice does the rising Sun fully light the interior of Calendar One, a megalithic stone chamber in southern Vermont. In Washington DC the Winter Solstice Sun rises along Pennsylvania Avenue to illuminate the Capitol Dome. These alignments were created more for their energetic effects than astronomical symbolism.
Mithras, the Persian god of Light and guardian against evil, was born in a rocky cave at Winter Solstice. King Arthur was born in a great stone castle high on a bluff on this darkest of nights. Arthur’s Round Table of 12 Knights has become a template for the evolution of egalitarian societies, and national aggregates (e.g. the original 12 nations / stars of the European Union, 12 nations of the Russian Federation and the 12 Nations of the new South American union). King Arthur’s Round Table is the prototype of a global Round Table of Nations to be formed in the new Aquarian Age. This cosmic Round Table turns on the pivot of the north pole of the heavens and this polar center is directly connected with the Winter Solstice.
The Yuletide season is our time to dream and shape the future year. The year is seeded during the Capricorn solstice (Dec 18-24) so events of this time hold special import. The new year unfolds its theme and story through the Twelve Days of Yule/Christmas (Dec 25-Jan 6) and the reflection wave that follows (Jan 7 – 18). Dreams of this time provide guidance for the coming year.
The New Year is born in the heart of Gaia when the northern (yang) pole of the Earth is in deepest darkness, the longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere. The Yule celebration season begins with (northern) Winter Solstice and culminates on Epiphany, the 12th Day of Christmas/Yule, January 6th. These aren’t arbitrary times set by historical precedent or convention. These dates derive from the cosmic order of time and space. At each Winter Solstice a new solar cycle begins as a pulse of solar prana streams down through the magnetic field lines converging at the North Pole to unite with the heart of the Earth. The spirit of the New Year or zeitgeist is here conceived and grows through the four days of Solstice until on Christmas Day this New Light is born in the heart of Gaia. From this New Light born on Christmas Day, the Twelve Days of Yule roll out (yule means “wheel”) the New Year to Be. The 12 days of Christmas or Yuletide Dec 25 – Jan 6 represent the zodiacal year to be, this is the New Year in embryo, it is our time to dream and shape what is coming to be.
The 12 Days of Christmas / Yuletide Dec 25 – Jan 6 Yule means “wheel.” The Season of Yule is the time from Winter Solstice until Epiphany January 6th. Yuletide is more specifically the 12-day period beginning at Sunset on Christmas Day and ending at Sunset Jan 6. These 12 Days are like spokes on the wheel of the year to be. The 12 Days of Yule or Christmas are the New Year in microcosm with each day representing a zodiacal month, Aries to Pisces, in the year to come.
The 12 Days of Christmas song is an astrological key: The “partridge in a pear tree” of the 1st day of Christmas is the renaissance Phoenix in the World Tree at the start of each new cycle. This day is Aries Dec 26. The two turtle doves of the 2nd day are birds of Venus, the ruler of Taurus Dec 27. Three French hens day 3 is Gemini (tarot card the Lovers). Calling Birds day 4 is Cancer, a sign of reflection. Gold rings day 5 is Sun (gold) ruled Leo, etc.
Christ, the solar logos, is born/reborn on Christmas, the Romans’ Dies Invictis Solis, “the Day of the unconquerable Sun.” Jesus, the initiate prepared to incarnate the Christ, was born on Epiphany Jan 6, according to America’s psychic Edgar Cayce. This date is recognized and celebrated in the Eastern Orthodox religion. Epiphany is the 12th Day of Christmas, the 3 Kings Day when the Magi come bearing gifts for the new born child. This is a day to exchange gifts. Epiphany means “manifestation of divinity ” and it celebrates 3 magical manifestations: the birth of Jesus, the baptism in the river Jordan and changing water to wine at the wedding feast of Cana.
In ancient Egypt, January 6th, was celebrated as the Korion. It is the day each year when Kore (Persephone) gives birth to the Aeon, the sacred child of the new cycle. Interesting details of this celebration are described by Carl Jung in his book Aion, p 103-5. The wooden figure of a boy with crosses on hands and feet is brought up from a dark crypt and bathed in the Nile in the early morning of January 6, our Epiphany. (This wooden figure was very old by the time Jesus was born.) Immersion in the River Nile was customary this day when all the waters of the world were believed to be imbued with healing power.
Epiphany, the Feast of Fools, became so effective for lampooning and disempowering the established order of church and state that it was banned in Medieval Europe. The Twelve Days of Christmas observances were outlawed because this time was being effectively used to recreate the order of things in ways undesirable to the established rulers. Neglect of the 12 Days of Yule / Christmas resulted in entirely too much material emphasis being placed on Christmas Day.
The ideal time for physical gift giving is the 12th Day of Christmas, the Festival of the Three Kings. Epiphany means Manifestation of Divinity. Waters of the world are blessed and objects are imbued with mystical powers on this day. “Gifts presented at this time fix a magic power sublime.”
“Inner Christmas” 12 Holy Nights Dec 25 – Jan 6 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTkTBUJ-IE0 “Inner Christmas, a practice of inner renewal and development, begins on December 25 and unfolds nightly through January 6, the day of Epiphany. These are the 12 Holy Nights, a yearly time when our souls experience a unique connection with spiritual forces, the veils between heaven and earth lift and powerful inner insight and growth are possible.” ~ Lynn Jericho Inner Christmas
Winter Solstice 2010-11
6:39 pm 12/21/10 New York, NY
The order of the heavens at Winter Solstice determines what will become as the year unfolds. The Moon’s fortunate placement in Cancer following a Total Lunar Eclipse indicates a clearing of consciousness and coming to be of a new creation mediated by numerous individuals working in dyad as depicted in the Tarot key 2 of Cups (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cups02.jpg), the card for 1st decan Cancer.
The Moon focused “mystic triangle” with Pluto and Hygeia indicates a deep collective healing that will help set the whole world right. Also visible in this evening’s sky is the bright planet Jupiter close by the borderline invisible planet Uranus in 3rd decan Pisces. This last decan of the zodiac is symbolized by the 10 of Cups (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cups10.jpg), one of the most fortunate cards of Tarot. Jupiter/Uranus square Mercury and the Sun evoke world need and world hope. Jupiter/Uranus in harmonious sextile with Ceres, the goddess of abundance and revelation, reveals the way to realize the hope of the world. Jupiter/Uranus biseptile the Moon means all that stands in the way of realizing this vision can be transformed through the 2 of Cups dyad work.
One of the most striking alignments at this Winter Solstice is brilliant Venus located at the midpoint power gate of Scorpio, the sign of transformation, death and rebirth. Midpoint Scorpio is represented by the Ace of Cups (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cups01.jpg) in Tarot. Venus here represents the return of grace, beauty and love and the power to restore natural law and divine order to the world. Venus is empowered to transform all shadows through her biseptile to Neptune and septile to Pluto. She’s got big frame transcendent planetary helpers. Close by Venus in the morning sky can be seen bright blue Spica, the star of Virgo and the Empress Queen of Tarot. Virgo represents the virgin mother of Christ and Virgo symbolizes Kore or Persephone the maiden mother of the Aeon, the zeitgeist of the New Year and the new avatar to be.
Several constellations are prominent at this turn of the age and these include the hero giant Orion called Menelmacar by JRR Tolkien. “[The Star Queen] Varda set the constellation, Menelmacar, with his shining belt, that forbodes the Last Battle that shall be at the end of days. The belt would be a sword belt warning that the Valar will join the struggle.” This brings us to one of the most important alignments of our time. During this Yule season and in months to come, the Aquarian age planet Uranus closely aligns with Alnilam and Alnitak, two of the bright stars in Orion’s Belt. These stars (and their sister belt star Mintaka) stand out in the heavens because of their brightness and striking alignment on the celestial equator. They’re also special in being Super Stars over 10,000 times the luminosity of our Sun. In the medieval Yuletide tradition these stars are the Three Magi, the astrologer kings who announce the beginning of a new age. There is a mystery here to be revealed in coming months and we may find some understanding in the writings of Tolkien.
J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy and Silmarilion were written in the early fifties for this time of transition between the era of Neptune ruled Pisces and the new Age of Aquarius ruled by Uranus. Neptune transiting Aquarius in mutual reception (harmonically connected) with Uranus in Pisces, is one of the astrological factors that make 2009 – 2012 critical years in the transition between these eras. The partnering of these great transpersonal forces well symbolizes the current passage of the torch of civilization from one age to another. This transition is guided by certain constellations and stars that are active at this time. These include Orion (Menelmacar), Ursa Major (Tolkien’s Valacirca), Arcturus and Spica, the bright star of Virgo.
Tolkien’s writings hold clues for us now: “…when first Menelmacar strode up the sky and the blue fire of Helluin [Sirius] flickered in the mists above the borders of the world, in that hour the Children of the Earth awoke….” The Silmarillion, pg 45; “As Menelmacar rose, the elves burst into song, lit a fire, and said it was time for speech and merriment. Then Melkor [the dark power] was shaken by the laughter of Tulkas and fled from the earth.” Silmarillion, The Coming of the Elves.
In Tolkien’s cosmology the bright stars of Ursa Major are the Valar, the 7 great creator gods. Manwe is the greatest of the Valar. “With Manwë dwells Varda, Lady of the Stars, who knows all the regions of Ea. Too great is her beauty to be declared in the words of men or of Elves; for the light of Ilúvatar lives still in her face. In light is her power and her joy…. Of all the Great Ones who dwell in this world the Elves hold Varda most in reverence and love. Elbereth they name her, and they call upon her name out of the shadows of Middle-earth, and uplift it in song at the rising of the stars.” – The Silmarillion, Valaquenta, p 26
According to Tolkien, Varda created the stars, and placed them innumerable in the heavens. “And high in the North as a challenge to Melkor she set the crown of seven mighty stars to swing, Valacirca, the Sickle of the Valar and sign of doom [to the dark powers of the earth].” – The Silmarillion, p 48
It is the Valar Manwe who guides and powers the coming of the great wizard Gandalf or Mithrandir. Gandalf is identified with the “hermit star” Arcturus described as “a Lamp, translucent, set in Ilwe on the edge Middle-earth’s breathable air.” In Tarot, Arcturus is the Hermit standing alone on a high mount holding a lantern. Arcturus is located in the 20th Parallel North as this star casts its influence on Earth. The current eruption at this parallel of the two great volcanoes Popo in Mexico and Kilauea in Hawai’i represents an activation of this Hermit / wizard archetype. The ascendancy of the star Arcturus and the arrival of Gandalf portends the coming of the Avatar or divine consciousness for the new era.
Arcturus can easily be found in the early morning sky now: Follow the Arc of the Big Dipper’s handle to the right eastward to bright Arcturus, the star of Gandalf. Continue this arc further on to find Spica, the lucida of Virgo and the star of Arwen, the elf queen. In the Tarot, Arcturus is identified with Key 9 the Hermit and Spica is Key 3 the Empress. Spica also represents the world mother, the all provider with her abundant cornucopia. Brilliant Venus, the bright star of this Christmas season, shines just below and left of Spica. The alignment of these celestial bodies now bodes well for the world in the coming year. Witnessing their alignment augments their power to bring prosperity and peace to our lives.
Events of Winter Solstice seed what will be unfolding in the coming year. Never complete within themselves, these events represent potentialities to be realized. Their realization depends on what we do individually, in dyad and in the many magical working groups that will be forming in this very special year.