The Winter Solstice
“Meditation is not a doing, but a happening”
It is important to pay attention to the transition of the sun from one sign to the next, and to the cardinal points of the day, the month and the year. Thus, we can experience the change of energies and integrate ourselves into the rhythms of the larger system.
Meditations and Rituals | Festivals
The Cardinal Points
When we are inwardly quiet and vigilant, we can feel during the dawn, how the next day will develop. In the first two hours of the morning we receive the seed principle of the day. It shows, in accordance with the wisdom of the correspondence between microcosm and macrocosm, how the flower of time will unfold in the course of the next 24 hours. By adjusting to the subtle rhythms, we can realize the great ritual that takes place in nature and in us.
The day has the four cardinal points of morning, noon, evening and midnight. In a month there are full moon and new moon, and the two half-moons. The four cardinal points of the year are regarded as initiation points, provided we understand what is happening on Earth in terms of the solar energy:
- The winter solstice at the beginning of Capricorn, on 22 December, is called the dawn of the year.
- The summer solstice at the beginning of Cancer, on 21 June, is the dusk of the year.
- The Meridian (noon) is on 21 March at the beginning of Aries
- and the Nadir (midnight) is at the beginning of Libra, on 22 September; they are the equinoxes.
The movements of the Sun and Moon have a special importance for us. The Sun represents our consciousness or the soul, the Moon represents our mind, the personality. The Earth is also stimulated by the solar energy, particularly during the four cardinal points of the year. On these days, there is an increased influx of solar energy. The hierarchy wants us to follow these festivals of nature. We therefore should keep these four days free and align to the energies, so that we become enlightened by the energy of the Sun. We should consume only light food, avoid disturbances, and remain in a meditative attitude during this time.
Ascent to the Light
On the journey of the Sun to the south, from Cancer to Capricorn, the spirit descends into matter; the light withdraws more and more. From winter solstice, the Sun God starts to rise again; from Capricorn onward the soul ascends again to the spirit. The stories of the serpents and the eagles are related to the axis between these two signs. The serpents descend, the eagles fly upwards. In the Vedic literature, the serpents are born by the Queen of the Night, Diti, and the eagles by the Queen of the Day or of the Light, Aditi. They are both the women of the one Cosmic Person.
These are symbolic representations that enable a deeper understanding of the zodiac. The annual arc consists of two parts. From Capricorn to Cancer, it is called the Divine Arc; the path from Cancer to Capricorn is the Royal Arc. In the Spiritual Astrology, Capricorn is called the mountain and Cancer the abyss. Cancer is considered as the place for the incarnation of the soul, the entrance into life, and Capricorn as the gateway for its liberation, the exit. In many cultures, there are stories about the Sun God, who dies in order to take a new birth. They also illustrate the phenomenon of creation, which passes through birth and death in the course of the rotation of the big wheel.
The Birth of the Saviour
Since ancient times, 22 December is thus celebrated as the day on which the Saviour is born. In the ashrams in different parts of the world, the ritual of the birth of the Saviour is performed with the intention that the Lord may be born in us and lift us to the higher realms of Light. On this day high souls also descend into a body to fulfil the divine purpose.
In truth Jesus Christ was also born during the midnight hours of the winter solstice and therefore is regarded as a Saviour. In the first centuries his birth was celebrated on 22nd December but later the date was postponed for political reasons to the 25 December. Much of the story of his life is not properly and fully known. By the grace of the Masters of Wisdom, it was revealed to a certain degree, and more of it will come to light in the future.
When at midnight of winter solstice the Sun enters into the sign of Capricorn, it is in the fifth house counting from Virgo, indicating the birth of a child. Therefore, the Sun upon entering Capricorn is called the Son of the Virgin. Its reddish rays are considered by the seers as the blood of the Sun, the blood of the Saviour. These life-giving rays of the northern Sun clear the sins of the people, their physical attachment, and awaken them to a new life. They are the food of the spiritual life, which the Sun God distributes again during this annual ritual and thus helps us to orient the consciousness upwards.
For spiritual aspirants it is very good to connect with these mysteries and to celebrate the esoteric Christmas. You should meditate during the night-time hours of the winter solstice, that the Sun God awaken the souls from the slumber of the netherworld (Muladhara) and that the effect of the solar energy might raise the Kundalini. The preparation for the winter solstice can start one or three months earlier, but it should at least be two days earlier.
The Fight against the Dragon
Astrologically, another drama is enacted on the day before the winter solstice, the bringing down of Satan or Saturn. It is also presented as a fight against the dragon. Satan is nothing but our shadow. If we have light in us, then we also have the shadow of the light with us. He suggests us very logical things to get us out of the way. For example, you have done so much, you can now safely sleep instead of meditating.
If we want to submit the personality to the soul, we have to strengthen the soul, not to fight the personality but to gain its cooperation. If the soul is strengthened, it will take care of the personality. We have to win over the personality and gain its cooperation, because we cannot do anything without it. It is the executor; the soul is the guide. Without an executor even a good counsellor cannot do anything. Our good intentions remain somewhere in the sky.
The Sun in Capricorn gives us the strength to turn again to the origin. The Sun is the lord of our solar system and the representative of something higher. We unite with it, because we are a ray of it. From it we have our souls. By our very nature we are solar angels, Sons of God, Sons of the Sun that have come to the planet to acquire experience here. In this, we have forgotten our original identity and fancy ourselves as earthly beings. The original identity is I AM; THAT I AM is the Sun, I AM not different from it.
With the upward movement of the Sun, we can again easily ascend from darkness to light; it is the ascent of consciousness from matter to spirit and from ignorance to knowledge. The best way to celebrate Christmas, therefore, is to join this ascent by deciding to introduce into our daily activity a better rhythm, better desires and thoughts, words and actions.
Living with the Wisdom
The wisdom teachings recommend associating with the movement of the Sun through the inner zodiac. This science of correspondences, called Nyasa Vidya, is very important for contemplation and meditation. This science relates the twelve-petalled heart centre to Cancer, and Capricorn, the opposite sign, to the higher heart centre of the eight-petalled lotus. We can visualize it in the upper chest and associate with the mantra OM NAMO NARAYANAYA.
When we align ourselves regularly to the larger system, we live in synthesis. If we do not, the wisdom remains wisdom, and we remain what we are. To enter into the divine planes, it is important to live with the wisdom and not to lose the childlike simplicity. The soul rejoices every time we connect to the inside. Consciously focusing on the winter solstice gives us a little more joy every year.