A solstice ritual, as darkness falls on 21 December

This originally appeared in The Inquirer, Issue 8001

We gather at the winter solstice
We extinguish the old candle
There is darkness – the days of light are shorter, the night
is longer, the trees are bare, and the cold bites into us.
We have reached the low point, the midwinter point, the
longest night and the shortest day. Far away to the South,
the sun shines bright, but weak. Its dazzling light holds
little warmth.
Meditate on the stillness and the darkness that comes with
the solstice, when the sun, far to the south, is standing
The earth is at rest. The earth is recovering its strength
through sleep. Just as we do through the darkness of each
Let us not pass this moment by. Picture in our minds
the resting earth, the hibernating animals snug in their
burrows, the seeds dormant in the soil, waiting for the
wheel of the year to turn.
The dark and the bright cold brings us closer to the
mystical world. The separation between real and imaginary
is slight. The veil is thin and the angels reveal themselves
to tell the ancient stories.
This is the time of the Christ child, and of Mithras and
Dionysus and all the heroes of old who were born to the
earth on a cold mid-winter day.
A new candle is lit.
Light is returning to the dark world again.
Let us contemplate the silence before moving on and
recalling the light of the sun.

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