December Solstice 2004

Moonrise in the bush

This Solstice occurs when the sun enters the Tropical Zodiac sign of Capricorn, which this year happens at 12.43 GMT on 21st.December.

This is the longest night of the year in the North, a time when many ceremonies were carried at to ensure that the dying Sun would be re-born.The most dramatic of these took place at stone monuments erected by neolithic peoples.
The season was traditionally known as Yule, but the celebrations which we now associate with the birth of the Sun-child and Christmas did not begin until the spot where the sun rose was observed to have moved along the horizon from the Solstice position.
This proof that the wheel of the year was still turning, the days were beginning to lengthen, and that spring and fertility would return in due course, was greeted with relief and joy.
For the word 'solstice' means 'the Sun stands still'. For several days at this time of winter or summer, the sun rises and sets at the same place, and the Wheel appears to have stopped.


The Summer Solstice was a time of thanksgiving, but also of preparation for death. The Corn king was chosen, and the Sacred Marriage took place, perhaps 'legitimising' the conception of the Sun-child by the Earth at Beltane (Symbolic pregnancies had very odd lengths!), before the sacrificial death of the Corn King and the manuring of the fields with his blood.
So in the South many of us celebrate fertility and the promise of harvest on Mid-Summer's Day.
Here in the Southern parts of Australia flowering trees are at their peak. Summer-blooming Eucalypts, and the Myrtles and Queensland Box trees are covered with foamy blossom. The Illawarra Flame Tree shows off it's brilliant fire-red flowers, while the Brachychitons are covered in lily-of-the-valley like sprays of cream and all shades of salmon pink. The Pandoreas, a native vine now widely cultivated in gardens, sport huge sprays of trumpet-shaped flowers - lilac/pink with dark crimson throats, or cream with dark brown. And the exotic Brazilian Jacaranda, it's deep violet-blue intense against blue summer skies, carpets the ground with fallen blooms.
As for fertility - early apricots, and the first figs, are already ripening, while peach, apricot, apple, plum, pear, almond, macadamia, and avocado trees are heavy with immature fruit.
In the North the first cyclone has already hit the coast, and communities brace themselves for the 3 - 4 month cyclone season, and in most parts of the comtinent, for bushfire.
Wherever you are spending this season, and however you celebrate it, may you, and all you love be blessed with peaveful and joyful hearts.
As the poet Wendall Berry said:
"Be joyful, though you have considered all the facts!"

Let's remember that the world turns..................The World Turns  - click to go to Global Meditations.......GLOBAL MEDITATIONS


More about Solar and Lunar Festivals in Southern Australia


For myths, legends, & traditions from around the world,

And get the big picture at with these amazing ASTROPICS
from Eddie Guscott in the UK.

Solar Calendar

Solstice - 21st.December 12.43GMT
Lammas/Brigit - 2nd.February

Lunar Calendar

Full Moon - 26th.December 15.07 GMT 5° Cancer 12'
Dark Moon - 10th. January 12.04 GMT 20° Capricorn 21'
Full Moon - 25th.January 10.33 GMT 5° Leo 34'

New Moon occurs when the first slender crescent is visible in the East at sunset
usually 2-3 days after Dark Moon

These times are Greenwich Mean Time
Find your local time at the

Leaves and flowers

Here is more about the cycles of the Moon
from the Permaculture Association of South Australia's 1988 Calendar

*NEW* Planting and Weather Calendar for South Australia

butterflyInspirations (recently updated)

And a final thought, from the Introduction to the Designer's Manual, on Permaculture Design Philosophy:

"A person of courage today is a person of Peace.
The courage we need is to refuse authority, and to accept only personally responsible decisions."

with love from Margaret RainbowWeb

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