The word solstice means "standing still sun". I took this photo in Cape Cod late one year and thought I would share it with you on this winter solstice day. Many people still celebrate the solstice and maybe many more should. Mother Earth needs all the prayers and help we can give her.
Here in south Texas we have such mild winters that it's hard to even realize that we are in winter sometimes. Today, the first day of winter was 76 degrees F. But, still it is the shortest day of the year and we are aware of that. We are aware of what the plants and animals around us are doing and how they are reacting to the weather changes. We see the birds migrating through this area on a grand scale. So, we know that this time of year there are changes that are important to us all.
The Hopi Indians celebrate the winter solstice with a ceremony called Soyal. Its main purpose is to bring the sun back from its winter sleep. It also marks the beginning of another cycle of the year and is considered a time for purification. Prayer sticks are made before Soyal to bless the whole community, including animals and plants.
"Soyal is a time of renewal of life for humans and all living things, from the sand to the lily buds to the birds," said Lee Lomayestewa, research assistant for the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office. "Everything has a purpose."
No matter what your religion or heritage, everyone can agree the winter solstice is a time to rejoice.
I believe that the winter solstice and the summer solstice are both celebrations of life. I feel that we all need to stay connected to the earth and to the environment. It’s very important to honor all of life.
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