Illustration by Adam.
Illustration by Joe.
It’s the shortest day of the year. I’ve just sat in a window or two watching the sun come up, and hoping for a glimpse of a lunar eclipse that happens to coincide.
I couldn’t see either, really, as the sky is cloudy, but they happened, without me. I don’t need to be there to observe them, it’s just a thing that happens.
The solstices are big days to me.
Winter solstice formally marks the beginning of winter. I’m sure this isn’t reassuring for those who have been cold and icy for a month or so already, but there’s positivity in it.
According to folk lore from various parts, today is the day the sun is reborn.
Because the Earth tilts, our angle on the sun changes as we circle it. Obviously this means that no real change actually happens to the sun. But today’s one of the days I say ‘Fuck science, I’m here for the romance’.
So the sun has been dying since the last solstice in the middle of summer. The sun spends half a year growing and getting fat, and half a year slowly getting old and frail. Then today it dies. It stops moving south (from the perspective of the northern hemisphere) and halts. Stasis, just for a while. The actual timing of this is (this year) 23.38 UTC/GMT (thanks science).
Then it turns around and is born again.
What that means is that as of tomorrow morning. About this time, but a little earlier, the sun will rise anew.
We’ll have a new sun again. A fresh new year beginning. Everything is new.
So treat today as a turning point.
This is just a change of emphasis, as every day has the potential to be a rebirth. But today, well, today isn’t different, but it’s nice to pretend it is. To imagine that we are somehow in harmony with the stars.
Like I say, I dig the romance.
Every moment of our life we are reborn anew. We have the capacity to change and grow. To stop going one way and start going another. The past is set, but the future is blank and empty and waiting for us with open arms.
A friend and I once discussed alternative internal understandings of Karma and Reincarnation.
We both felt powerful and strengthened by the notion that every instant, our mind is killed and reborn. Our past actions have brought us to where we are now, but the only thing that shapes our future is what we choose this very moment.
Today is a day (like every other) to learn from the past and move on to something new. A year has fallen behind you since the last time the Earth was quite where it is now. Look back. Pay it the attention it deserves, then walk forward.
Into the new sunset.
Welcome to a new world. It looks like the old one, and maybe it is.
But you are new. You always are.
Feel it turn.
Unstruck is changing the rules for the festive period. Anyone who wants can send an illustration of today’s text to email@example.com We’ll post as many as we recieve. Seasonal posts still to come, but not as regularly as usual.