Tuesday, December 21, 2010

December 21: Full Moon on the Solstice

Despite predictions of dire weather, this morning dawned clear, albeit blustery and with pale skies. Today, the Solstice, is the shortest day of the year, so any light will be welcome. In addition to its importance as a highly spiritual pagan holiday, this Solstice is special for reasons we can all appreciate, coinciding with a full moon and a total lunar eclipse. I heard on the radio yesterday that the last time a total lunar eclipse happened on the Winter Solstice was when Galileo was alive. Unfortunately, this lunar eclipse, a beautiful spectacle that turned the moon's bright face red, happened last night while a storm howled like a freight train around our house. But simply knowing it was happening somewhere up there above the tempest added to the wild magic of the night, even if I didn't witness it with my own eyes.

The astronomical significance of the day corresponds with an internal emotional shift, as well. Tomorrow the span of daylight will begin to lengthen again. We are turning once again into the light, and a little hope and optimism has begun to return to my heart. These past few weeks have been personally dark, and not just for the shortness of the days. A family friend barely survived a heart attack, another dear friend passed away unexpectedly, and we lost our beloved cat of sixteen years. Two friends were fired from their jobs this past weekend--who fires someone the week before Christmas? It seems like every day I hear another bit of bad news, either on the world/political front or in the life of someone I care about--an earthquake in Iran, fierce storms across most of this country, a local fisherman lost at sea.

But today we renew the solar cycle of the northern hemisphere. The light will grow, and the world will begin to seem a brighter place again. At least, I have hope that it will.

Above wind's night roar,
obscured by storm clouds and sleet:
Solstice moon, eclipsed.

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