While some are celebrating the (debatable) birth of a particular son named Jesus Christ at this time of the year, many are experiencing the feeling of rebirth that comes with the start of THE sun’s return journey northward after the Winter Solstice on Dec. 21, even if we have a few cold months ahead of us.
The holiday season’s origins, of course, can be traced to ancient man’s more practical Solstice observances, and to the spiritual concepts that developed and evolved with them.
Whether you consider yourself to be a “spiritual” person or not, there’s no denying the sun’s influence on all of us: it is our savior, no debate about it.
Here are some thoughts about the spirituality of the season by some theosophical writers:
“There are indeed times that are holy, which is why we call them holidays. Or is not all holy, if we give it its due attention and respect? Four times in the year — the solstices and equinoxes — are still celebrated although we may not know how they got that special regard. Their quality of sacredness must be due to something that has a particular significance for the human race. Because consciousness in human beings is closely related with that of the governors that move the spheres and bear responsibilities for the motions and qualities of the celestial beings in the solar system, the times we regard as sacred are in fact when certain celestial bodies focus their psychological, gravitational, spiritual, or psychic influences on their surroundings.”
“The mystical origin of this celebration stems from a recognition of the winter solstice as a time of spiritual rebirth, traditionally associated with the birth of Saviors. Therefore, the Christmas period has always been revered as a sacred occasion, a meaningful inner experience, writes Ingrid Van Mater in A Gleam of Light.
Writes Ingrid in another article called Birth of the Spirit: “There is something about the inner quality and warmth of feeling at this season that touches our deepest, most sacred nature, beckoning us, however briefly, to reflect on life’s intent and the spiritual impact of the year’s crowning-point. The return of the sun northward at the winter solstice has long been honored as the propitious time for the birth of saviors, for it is then that the initiant, if successful in trials undergone, is “clothed with the sun.”
Writes G. de Purucker: “There are four turning points of the year: the solstices of winter and summer, and the equinoxes of the spring and of the autumn. The cycle of the year among the ancient peoples was always considered to be a symbol of the life of man or, indeed, of the life of the universe. Birth at the Winter Solstice, the beginning of the year; adolescence – trials and their conquest – at the Spring Equinox; adulthood, full-blown strength and power, at the Summer Solstice, representing a period of initiation when the Great Renunciation is made; and then closing with the Autumnal Equinox, the period of the Great Passing. This cycle of the year likewise symbolizes the training in chelaship.”
Photo: Winter Solstice noon sunrise 2012 on the Bering Sea. (Bering Land Bridge National Preserve/Wikimedia Commons)