Solstice / sol-stis, sohl-/
I have always had a deep fascination with words, not quite to the point of reading the Dictionary like my late Grandfather, but more so being a 'high user' of the Dictionary App. The word solstice is derived from the Latin words sol ('sun') and sistere ('to stand still'). This is because twice a year at each Solstice the Sun appears to "stand still" – pausing, before it turns in the opposite direction. I was staggered when I discovered this, never really giving the whole shift of the sun too much thought, and now it makes so much sense why this day holds so much significance.
21st December 2020This years winter solstice is going to be very special historically, with a unique and rare event about to occur in our sky. There will be a great meeting of Jupiter and Saturn, two of the biggest worlds in our solar system. They will come so close together, (just 0.1 degree apart) that they will almost appear as one. Astronomers call this a 'Great Conjunction.' This is the closest they have been since 1623, so is definitely something worth observing. The two planets are already close to one another. If you look up to the skies now you will be able to see them. However, on the 21st December they could possibly look like and elongated star or a double planet. This will make for an incredible sight, Jupiter being brighter than any star and Saturn having a warm Golden colour.
Being a bit of a novice when it comes to the night sky I like to use the Sky View Lite App. I discovered this in France whilst star gazing in my parents tiny hamlet along with some of the other locals. By pointing your iPad or phone over the night's sky you can discover every star, planet and satellite, and the names for them. It find it astonishing how much is out there on a clear night, which puts a perspective on life.
Using the Rhythm of Nature
As the sun moves in its cycle, and we see greater shifts in the wider solar system, it could be a time to consider how this mirrors your own life. We can take the winter solstice to rest quietly in the darkness, knowing that there are beautiful changes ahead. We can use this time, which also marks the first day of winter, to nourish and nurture our mental and physical self.
This is a time when much of the plant world is also resting and gaining energy; functioning at a slower pace ready to bloom in the spring. It can be a lovely starting point to begin a new journal, record different markers in your life of change and contemplation and see how the natural rhythms of our planet effect you.
I will be putting some new plans in place, and will be looking to nature as always for inspiration.
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