Collage Chronicles: Honoring the Winter Solstice

SOULCOLLAGE facilitator jj lassberg

Collage Chronicles: Honoring the Winter Solstice

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The sun returns! The light returns!
The earth begins to warm once more!
The time of darkness has passed,
and a path of light begins the new day.
Welcome, welcome, the heat of the sun,
blessing us all with its rays.

12 Days of Pagan Prayers for the Yule Sabbat ►


May the Solstice bring you health, joy, happiness and renewed hope. Blessings of The Light from my hearth and home to yours.

In honor of The Winter Solstice this Collage Chronicles includes: 10 facts about the shortest day of the year, praise for the darkness, the magical history of Yule, inspirations for your SoulCollage® Cards and more.

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Collage Chronicles: Curating & Collaging the Best of the Web just for You!
Free to use images, symbolism, inspiration & more for all those SoulCollage® fans out there.

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10 Facts About the Shortest Day of the Year

ANCIENT CULTURES VIEWED THE WINTER SOLSTICE AS A TIME OF DEATH AND REBIRTH. The seeming death of the light and very real threat of starvation over the winter months would have weighed heavily on early societies, who held varied solstice celebrations and rites meant to herald the return of the Sun and hope for new life. Scandinavian and Germanic pagans lit fires and may have burned Yule logs as a symbolic means of welcoming back the light. Cattle and other animals were slaughtered around midwinter, followed by feasting on what was the last fresh meat for several months. The modern Druidic celebration Alban Arthan reveres the death of the Old Sun and birth of the New Sun.

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At the Solstice, in Praise of Darkness:

From his home in Pelham, Mass., Professor Greenstein has a good view of the western horizon. He asked me to imagine a continuous movie composed of photographs that capture the position of the setting sun (the rising sun would work equally well) throughout the year.

In this movie — with a soundtrack by Max Richter or Ludovico Einaudi, I’m thinking — the setting sun would migrate back and forth between its southernmost and northernmost positions on the horizon. The sun would accelerate toward the middle of its journey (around spring and autumn, when the lengths of the day and the night change most quickly) and slow down toward the extremes. Once the sun reached an endpoint, it would at last come to rest — as it will on Thursday — before its motion reversed. Earth orbits the sun continuously, of course. But the sun’s apparent annual motion is more like the pendulum of a great clock, one that steadily counts off the planet’s years, and ours too.

The poet Annie Finch is the author of “Winter Solstice Chant” (“the edge of winter sky/leaning over us in icy stars.”). During a phone call from her home in Portland, Me., she pointed out how neatly the solstice accounts for late December’s rich spiritual bottleneck of festivities and traditions in so much of the ancient and modern world. However we may celebrate the return of light to our skies and lives, she continued, we might also wish to pause to honor the darkness that will give way to it: “If you don’t experience the darkness fully then you are not going to appreciate the light.” A pause, of course, is just what we’ll be given on Thursday.

The Magical History Of Yule, The Pagan Winter Solstice Celebration:

Until the 16th century, the winter months were a time of famine in northern Europe. Most cattle were slaughtered so that they wouldn’t have to be fed during the winter, making the solstice a time when fresh meat was plentiful. Most celebrations of the winter solstice in Europe involved merriment and feasting. In pre-Christian Scandinavia, the Feast of Juul, or Yule, lasted for 12 days celebrating the rebirth of the sun and giving rise to the custom of burning a Yule log.

In ancient Rome, the winter solstice was celebrated at the Feast of Saturnalia, to honor Saturn, the god of agricultural bounty. Lasting about a week, Saturnalia was characterized by feasting, debauchery and gift-giving. With Emperor Constantine’s conversion to Christianity, many of these customs were later absorbed into Christmas celebrations.

One of the most famous celebrations of the winter solstice in the world today takes place in the ancient ruins of Stonehenge, England. Thousands of Druids and Pagans gather there to chant, dance and sing while waiting to see the spectacular sunrise.

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After the longest night, we sing up the dawn.

Yule Proverb

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Here are a few Free-to-Use “Winter Solstice” Images for Your SoulCollage® Cards

To save, print and use images in your SoulCollage® Cards – click on the image, right-click on the image when it pops up, and finally click to “save image as”.

Download more Copyright Free “Yule” Images for SoulCollage® Cards in this Week’s Gallery

More of the World Collaged Together to Help You Celebrate The First Day of Winter

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*Images in this week’s SoulCollage® gallery are copyright-free or public domain images. They may be used freely for any purpose – personal or commercial and in printed format. SoulCollage® is grateful to the artists and photographers who make this deep awakening process possible and in all ways SoulCollage® seeks to be respectful of their rights. These collaged cards are used only for the cardmaker’s own inner exploration. SoulCollage® cards are not sold, traded, bartered, or copied.