In our Celtic landscapes, the Winter Solstice is an ancient seasonal Festival – a rite of passage that is ageless. This stunning astronomical phenomenon marks the longest night and the shortest day of the year. The Sun, at its farthest southerly point, having moved slowly since last June, ‘stops’ for approximately 3 days before it starts to slowly meander back north again. In our first language Gaeilge, Winter Solstice is ‘an Grianstad’, literally translating as ‘the Sunstop’. During this time there is a peak moment of the Solstice and in 2020 under the First Quarter Half Moon, this occurs at 10.20am GMT, though many celebrate at dawn, dusk or in the afterglow of the great ‘Christmas Star’ conjunction.
These special days are precious, the pinnacle of a darkening that calls us to rest, be still, recover and dream.