Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Where Dark and Light Meet: The Winter Solstice

Sometimes images say so much more than we could ever say in words.

As I write, on the morning of December 21, the winter solstice has just taken place. In addition to being the shortest day of the year – and the longest night – it marks the moment when the earth is the farthest away from the sun and the first official day of winter. Even though we know what we are in for, weather-wise, our days will be getting a little longer and lighter from here. A lovely thought, yes?

But what made this year's solstice unique, is that it coincided with a lunar eclipse. A complicated confluence of dark interrelating with light. In her blog Rabbi Jill Hammer, Tel Shemesh: Celebrating and Creating Earth-Based Traditions in Judaism (http://telshemesh.org/) she writes that the darkness "is fertile. As the vine of the year climbs upward, the month of Shevat arrives—the time when sap begins to run in the trees (usually corresponding to January or February). In Israel, flowers begin to bloom. According to Hai Gaon, a 9th century sage, in Shevat God throws three coals into the world to warm the air, the water, and the earth. Soon Tu B’Shevat, the festival of trees, will arrive to proclaim that life is running through the veins of the world, warmed by the returning sun."

If you have 3 or 4 minutes, click on this link. The footage was taken by a Floridian and posted on YouTube. I particularly liked this because it shows the moon – in brilliant reds – without any words or sound. You can create your own solstice imagery and/or conclusions. Enjoy.


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