Winter Solstice Newsletter

Happy Hanukkah, Super Saturnalia and Sunny Solstice 2012! Joyful New Mayan Super-Cycle to All of You!!

Welcome to the November 28, 2012 Gemini Full Moon/Lunar Eclipse & Sagittarius Solar Festival edition of the Satya Center Cosmic Weather Forecast. Warm greetings from your Editors, Curtis Lang and Jane Sherry.

On Wednesday November 28, we celebrate the Gemini Full Moon Eclipse and the Sagittarius Solar Festival, occurring at 9:46 am EST, or 6:46 am PST. This lunar eclipse, which will be partially visible from the West Coast of America, is bracketed by very powerful planetary alignments, including a Grand Trine in water signs, and is followed by a series of Winter Solstice Festivals around the world, all occurring in the weeks and days before Christmas.

As we approach this month’s Full Moon Lunar Eclipse, taking place at 6° 47’ of Gemini, the intensity of life on planet Earth continues to challenge Jane and me on many levels. 

NOAA's Satellite Photo of Super Storm Sandy 11-2012Because of the recent devastation left by Super-Storm Sandy, the element of water is linked to our feeling of being challenged, which is appropriate since the Sabian Symbol for 7° Gemini is “A well with bucket and rope under the shade of majestic trees.” 

Clearly we are called upon this Full Moon to seek sources of deep wisdom and abiding love within the Mystery School Traditions. These sources offer us the true Waters of Life in our Full Moon meditations every month.

We have been finding that our meditation practices this month are providing us with much-needed emotional balance and mental clarity to help us be of service while we navigate the troubled waters of Autumn 2012.

Here at Satya Center we have been fielding lots of phone calls from Lightworkers and other folks who are feeling stressed out over the last few weeks, and many of these phone calls have been to folks whose lives were impacted by Super-Storm Sandy. 

Super-Storm Sandy turned out to be a much more scary and damaging storm than most people had anticipated and many of our friends on the East Coast are still suffering the after effects.  

A dozen dead, 7 million without power. Hard hit areas lost power for more than a week. America’s power grid is obsolete, along with most of the rest of our infrastructure, which is ranked 23rd in the world, according to a 2011 Time magazine article written by Fareed Zakaria. Estimates range up to $2.2 trillion needed to upgrade America so we can be competitive with the rest of the developed world. 

Monetary losses in New Jersey and New York from Sandy will come to over $79 billion, according to recent estimates, but that does not include needed investment to create wetlands, storm barriers, and other preventive measures to prevent future storm damage.

One environmental scientist who prepared New York Mayor Bloomberg’s 2009 report on global warming entitled New York City Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan, was quoted as saying that planners had shown that a storm Sandy’s size or bigger had about a 3.3% chance of hitting the city in the next 50-75 years, but they had never thought anything like this could happen in the near-term. 

Drought still covers 60% of the United States, and winter wheat crops are failing nationwide. This could be the second year in a row of crop failures and record heat waves in key agriculture producing countries around the world.

We’re all convinced! We’ve seen plenty of examples of catastrophic weather events around the world over the last few years since Katrina. The  symptoms of accelerating global climate change are undeniable.

Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank, issued a report last week predicting that the global economy and by extension human civilization as we know it could collapse within 75 years unless extraordinary efforts to curb greenhouse gases and clean up our air and water and soil begin NOW!

The report states that “there is no certainty that adaptation to a 4° C world is possible”, referring to the scientific consensus that if we do not reduce use of oil, gas, coal and other greenhouse emitting fuels radically and immediately the world will warm by 4° C by the end of the century.

So we have entered the season of the darkening of the light, here at the time of the November Gemini Full Moon Eclipse, and this is the perfect opportunity to meditate upon the darkening of humanity’s light, represented by our current refusal to deal with the reality of environmental change brought about by our use of fossil fuels, pesticides, GMO crops, fertilizers, and other noxious tools of the Industrial Age of hydrocarbon abundance.

Rose In Hand copyright Jane Sherry 2012Now is the time to meditate deeply upon our own lives. How we want to live in this increasingly dangerous world humanity has created for itself. How we want our children to live. What we can do in our own lives to conserve energy. How we can join with others to create necessary political changes, in the face of opposition by the military-petroleum industrial complex that currently has a stranglehold on every political party in the world.

The answers to all our questions, solutions to all our problems, can be found within our own hearts, through the inspiration we receive in communion with our Higher Self! 

But none of this will be easy. The potential for environmental catastrophe is just one of humanity’s pressing issues.

War is another issue, intertwined with environmental collapse. The military forces of the world are certainly the largest consumers of petro-chemical products in the world. And military conflicts create chaos and political roadblocks to reforms that could help mitigate runaway global warming.

There is so much chaos in the world these days, and so much aggression being displayed, especially in the Middle East, where civil war in Syria threatens to spill over into Lebanon and Turkey. While the US and European powers carve up Syria as they have already carved up Iraq and Libya,  Russia and China and Iran look on in alarm. Nervous oil traders around the world, concerned about the potential for a bigger war in the Middle East are bidding up the price of crude.

And to make it all more interesting, there are currently some intense astrological aspects impacting us all. 

On Tuesday November 27, Mars joined Pluto in Capricorn, a powerhouse combination associated with wars of aggression. This aspect followed hard on the heels of Israel’s assassination of a prominent Palestinian leader and subsequent bombardment of the Gaza Strip, which triggered a round of Palestinian rocket attacks on the Israelis. 

Fortunately, this volatile Mars-Pluto energy signature is ameliorated by a Grand Trine in Water signs this week, with Venus conjunct Saturn in early Scorpio trine Neptune in Pisces at the Full Moon. This may have contributed to the current cease-fire in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Over the next few weeks, before Christmas, we will all celebrate a string of Spiritual Festivals that commemorate the victory of the Solar Powers over the forces of Light.

Cloud Ring photo by Jane Sherry copyright 2012Let us take this opportunity to align ourselves with those Solar Powers and with the Spiritual Hierarchy of Ascended Masters that guide and direct humanity on our Ascension path toward a planet aglow with the energy of loving wisdom emanating from a more mature humanity living in harmony with the Great Mother and with the Great Spirit, in a renewed Garden of Eden.

Happy Hanukkah, Super Saturnalia and Sunny Solstice to YOU! Happy New Mayan Super-Cycle! This Solstice we celebrate a new 26,000 year long Cosmic Age, according to the Mayan Calendar!  

The Grand Trine in water signs this week is very appropriate for the seasonal change we will experience over the next month. Archangel Gabriel presides over the winter season beginning this Solstice on December 21, 2012, and Gabriel’s element is water.

Life out of balance turns the water element into from a source of life into a veritable curse. Global warming turns the water element into a weapon of the gods, through flood, as in the case of Super-Storm Sandy, and through drought. Water is the astral element that governs our emotions. And when our emotional bodies are out of balance, we lurch from event to event in a reactive state, at the mercy of events in the outer world and prey to our own lower emotions, like fear, anger, greed, and jealousy.

We can purify ourselves to help cleanse the water element of impurities and this too will help keep the water element in balance in our lives.

To help us keep the water element in balance in our emotional bodies, and to help us keep our heads cool and our hearts open in the face of humanity’s current crises, we can enlist the help of Archangel Gabriel during the next few weeks. 

And it is through the Mysteries of Archangel Gabriel that the spiritual aspirant can come face-to-face with the energy of the Christ Child. 

These Mysteries were presented in the Advent practices my family taught me in our Catholic household, where we said a prayer every day of Advent to prepare for the birth of Christ, and performed fasting and abstinence to purify ourselves.

To help you tune in to the Gabriel Winter Mysteries we are pleased to offer you instructions for obtaining “The Gabriel Initiation", a simplified version of an Ancient technique that was originally offered only to advanced students of the Western Mystery School traditions. 

Of course the entire world anxiously awaits this year’s Winter Solstice since this is the time of the “end” of the Mayan calendar, about which many predictions have been made.

This is the Gemini Full Moon after all, and Gemini loves information! So sit back and relax, because you’re about to receive a major information download about the Mystery School Traditions relating to the Winter Solstice and the End of the Mayan Calendar. 

Don’t forget to scroll down to the very last section entitled Winter Solstice 2012 Meditation on the Galactic Center at the Time of the Great Cosmic New Year. We think you’ll like it. 


Modern Solstice Science

Friday December 21, 2012 we celebrate the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year and the beginning of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. The Winter Solstice is one of the sacred "cross-quarter days" marking the yearly round of our four seasons, celebrated in traditions of pagan and indigenous peoples throughout the northern hemisphere for millennia.

The holy days marking the beginning of the four seasons are known as the “cross-quarter days” because the two equinoxes and the two solstices divide the plane of the ecliptic into four equal parts. The plane of the ecliptic is the apparent yearly path of the Sun in space, which seems to an observer on the ground to be moving around the Earth.

The lengths of the seasons are unequal because of the changing velocity of the Earth in its orbit. The change in velocity is caused by the fact that the Earth’s orbit is elliptical, and so as the Earth travels along its path through space, it builds up increased momentum from time to time according to the laws of motion.

The Earth is three million miles closer to the Sun at New Year’s than it is in June, but here in North America, we are entering the coldest part of the year.

The seasonal rhythms on our blue-green planet are orchestrated by the fact that, as the Earth revolves around the Sun, the Earth’s axis wobbles off-center, tilting some 23°27’ from the perpendicular, relative to the plane of the planet’s orbit.

The Earth is nearly spherical, and receives parallel rays from the Sun as it rotates daily on its axis in its annual orbit around the Sun. The tilting of the Earth’s axis remains basically constant throughout the year. Since the Earth’s axis is always pointed in approximately the same direction in space during a given yearly cycle, each terrestrial pole is turned alternately toward and away from the sun during a given solar year.

This wobble tilts the Northern Hemisphere away from direct solar exposure during the autumn and winter, and causes the Sun to appear lower and lower in the sky for fewer and fewer hours per day in the Northern Hemisphere during the autumn months, until we reach the Winter Solstice, the point where the planetary wobble begins to tilt the Northern Hemisphere back in the other direction, increasing the length of time the Earth is exposed to the Sun each day, and causing the Sun to appear higher and higher in the sky.

On November 21 we enter the three-day period called “The Winter Solstice Window”, when the sun appears to stand still from the standpoint of a viewer on Earth, and rises in the same place along the horizon for three days in a row.

The Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Why then does the Winter Solstice herald the onset of winter? As days grow longer, one might expect days to grow warmer as well. This is because the atmosphere and conditions on the Earth’s surface affect the progress of seasonal climate change.

The air, ground, rocks, lakes, rivers and oceans all conduct heat more slowly than the vacuum of space. After the Summer Solstice in June each year in the Northern Hemisphere, days grow shorter and the Earth loses heat, but water, ground and air release their heat slowly, so that even though days are growing shorter, warm conditions prevail for some time. For some weeks after the winter solstice, the daily increase in heat from slightly longer days is much more than offset by the cumulative cooling of ground, air and water on the Earth’s surface, set in motion by the shorter days of fall, and cold weather prevails. It takes a long time for the rate of heating to overcome the rate of cooling, and that time lag determines the length of the winter season.

So as we enjoy winter sports or huddle around the fireplace, let us all meditate on the fact that despite appearances, day by day the Earth is creating a momentum toward light, warmth, growth and rebirth of vegetation on the Earth’s surface. That momentum will spark the rebirth of plant life in the spring and sustain plant growth during the long summer season and the harvest of early fall in the coming year.

This mystery, the eternal return of the light, implicit in the moment of greatest darkness, is what we celebrate at the Winter Solstice.

“Annually at this festival point in December the celestial rhythm of Earth and Sun come momentarily to pause,” says biodynamic farmer, philosopher and astrologer Steven McFadden, “an anomaly that moves us inescapably into the deep, the dark, the other. At this Winter point, consciously or unconsciously, we set an inner pattern to guide what we will weave in the outer world through another solar cycle. We dream the dreams that will flower in another season. How much more powerful if we know we are dreaming? How much more beguiling if we know nature is inviting us to peer through the veils?”

Ancient Solstice Science and Spirituality

The Winter Solstice has been held sacred in spiritual traditions around the world for thousands of years, as the time of the rebirth of the Sun, and of the birth of the Son of God.

Sumerian, Babylonian, Egyptian, Greek, Icelandic, Irish and Hindu spiritual traditions speak of the succession of the Ages through a period of time known as the Great Year, calculated to be approximately 26,000 years, and the reincarnation of human souls through vast cycles of time. All these traditions celebrate yearly festivals dedicated to the return of the light, the birth, and re-birth of a Solar Deity.

It is quite likely that the Earth’s wobble is the physical phenomenon underlying these diverse manifestations of spiritual science.

Because of the Earth’s wobble, there is a 23°27’ angle between the planes of the earth's equator and orbit. The Earth’s axis performs a slow, wobbling movement in relation to the Zodiacal constellations found in the plane of the ecliptic, and thus the site of the rising sun on the day of the Spring Equinox performs a slow, backwards movement through the signs of the Zodiac. This long cycle takes 25,920 years, and this cycle is known as the Precession of the Equinoxes.

From approximately 4000-2000 BC, the spring sun rose in the sign of Taurus, the Bull; from around 2000 BC to 1 BC the sun rose at the spring equinox in the sign of Aries, the Ram, and from 1 AD to the present it has risen in the sign of Pisces. We are now about to enter a 2,160 year long phase of the Great Year in which the spring equinox will find the sun rising in the sign of Aquarius, the Water-Bearer. This is the meaning of the dawning of the Age of Aquarius. We are living in the cusp between ages, a time that many ancient cultures speak of as being a time of great confusion, transition, challenge, and opportunity for spiritual advancement.

For ancient civilizations, the Precession of the Equinoxes indicated a flaw in the Earth’s orientation in space that seemed to be the root cause for seasonal fluctuations in temperature, rainfall and general weather conditions that resulted in the yearly vegetation cycle of birth, growth, decay, death and rebirth.

This wobble represented a kind of cosmic “original sin”, the signature of human mortality writ large across the Earth’s surface and indeed, across the vast expanse of the starry night skies.

Ancient astrologers were scientists and priests. These ancient practitioners of spiritual science devised rituals and myths that would explain the origins of the Universe and detail the descent of humanity into a creation fraught with the vicissitudes of Nature and circumscribed by the iron-clad limits imposed by the death of the physical body. They sought to provide spiritual practitioners with the wisdom teachings and the tools they would require to understand and transcend the unceasing cycle of birth, death – and reincarnation.

For it was obvious to these spiritual scientists that the human soul had its home and origin in realms that transcend the yearly seasonal cycles, overarching the incomprehensibly long cycles of the Great Cosmic Year, and that the soul, like the Sun, like the Earth’s vegetation, was subject to a cosmic cycle of eternal return involving repeated birth, growth, death and resurrection.

On a social level, these astro-hierophants believed that it was necessary for human beings to participate consciously and ritualistically in these yearly and cosmic cycles, attuning their efforts to the energies prevalent at the time, and performing spiritual tasks, rituals and prayers, designed to insure the ongoing cycles of eternal return would successfully initiate a new yearly cycle of birth and growth, a new yearly resurrection of the light at winter’s onset, a new rebirth of the vegetation slumbering in the depths of the Earth during the time of the dying of the light.

Evidence compiled by archeologists and comparative mythologists, and detailed in Dr. Thomas McEvilley’s comprehensive work,“The Shape of Ancient Thought: Comparative Studies in Greek and Indian Philosophies”, shows that in the fourth millennium BC, prior to the invention of writing, Sumerian spiritual scientists, working with an oral tradition that handed down memorized sunrise positions for the Spring Equinox over very long periods of time, correctly calculated the cycle of the Precession of the Equinoxes.

These Sumerian hierophants created a calendar of 72 five-day weeks with 5 additional inter-calendar days. Multiplying 72 by five we get 360, and multiplying 360 by 72, we get 25,920, the number of years in the Great Cosmic Year. The Sumerians also created a sexagesimal number system, whose primary use throughout history has always been for astronomical observation. All this prior to the invention of writing.

“What the evidence just reviewed suggests is that the Sumerians, in the fourth millennium B.C. . . .had developed an alternative arithmetical method -- the sexagesimal – which would magically plug into the Precessional cycle and thus give greater force to human reckonings by harmonizing them with cosmic fact, and finally that they subsequently devised a myth of cycling time, since lost, which diffused secretly from one priestly caste to another, giving rise to variant myths with interrelated numerologies from Cambodia to Iceland,” explains Dr. McEvilley, in “The Shape of Ancient Thought”, p.79. “The alternative is that these steps were taken by some earlier culture or cultures and inherited by the Sumerians.”

For example, consider the case of Stonehenge, thought to date to around 2800 B.C. Sir Norman Lockyer was the first person to identify an astronomical reason for the orientation of Stonehenge, in a book published in 1906. He realized that on the summer solstice the sun rose at the end of the main axis, as it would have done in the second and third millenniums BC.

The huge circular stone megalithic structure at Newgrange, Ireland is estimated to be 3,200 years old, older than Stonehenge. Newgrange was built to receive a shaft of sunlight deep into its central chamber at dawn on the winter solstice.

Hundreds of other megalithic structures throughout Europe are oriented to the solstices and equinoxes. Archaeologists exploring the origins of ancient structures and their links to astronomical events have discovered similar sacred sites in the Americas, Asia, Indonesia, Africa, and the Middle East.

The Chumash Indians, who occupied coastal California for thousands of years prior to the arrival of Europeans, “believed in supernatural forces and beings and they believed that humans could influence those forces for good or for evil,” according to the University of Michigan website, Windows to the Universe. “The most important time of the year for the Chumash was right before the winter solstice. They believed that this was the time when the Sun might not choose to come back to the Earth. This would've obviously affected life on Earth and so it is not surprising that the Chumash took it upon themselves to influence the Sun to come back since it was a matter of life and death. The Chumash people held times of prayer and dancing that would last for several days. They observed the Sun by putting sun sticks and poles in the ground. This vigilance was meant to pull the Sun back to Earth.”

Solstice Festivals Around the World: Hanukkah, Shab-e Yalda, & Saturnalia

Hannukah, the Jewish Festival of the Lights, begins at sunset on Saturday, December 8, 2012 and is celebrated until sunset on Sunday December 16, 2012. The Hannukah celebration is tied to both lunar and solar festivals. 

Hanukkah begins three days before the new moon closest to the Winter Solstice. Hanukkah commemorates the military victory of Judas Maccabeus over the Syrian ruler Antiochus IV which resulted in the Jewish people regaining Jerusalem from their enemies.  Hanukkah also celebrates the subsequent rededication of the temple in Jerusalem.

After many years of war and persecution, the Jewish people, who had been in exile, returned to their temple in Jerusalem, which lay in ruins. The Jews began rebuilding the Temple of Jerusalem in 165 B.C. When they came to rededicate the Temple they found only one small flask of oil with which to light the menorah, or temple candleholder, which illuminated the sacred texts. This flask contained only enough oil for one day, yet the lamp burned for eight days (by which time a fresh supply of oil was obtained).

On the first night of Hanukkah, one light is lit. On each successive night a light is added until the eighth night, when all the lights are lit. The addition of light recalls the greatness and growth of the miracle. Candles are placed in the menorah from right to left, but lit from left to right. The highest candle, known as the Shamash or "servant", is used to light the other candles. Blessings are recited each night before the lights are kindled.

Hannukah recapitulates the basic Solstice themes of resurrection, this time of a temple, and of an entire people, the return of the light, and the waxing and triumph of the light.

In Iran, the Winter Solstice is the time of the Feast of Shab-e Yalda. “In most ancient cultures, including Persia, the start of the solar year has been marked to celebrate the victory of light over darkness and the renewal of the Sun,” explains Massoume Price in his article on Yalda on Farsinet.

“For instance, Egyptians, four thousand years ago celebrated the rebirth of the sun at this time of the year. They set the length of the festival at 12 days, to reflect the 12 divisions in their sun calendar. They decorated with greenery, using palms with 12 shoots as a symbol of the completed year, since a palm was thought to put forth a shoot each month.”

“The Persians adopted their annual renewal festival from the Babylonians and incorporated it into the rituals of their own Zoroastrian religion. The last day of the Persian month Azar is the longest night of the year, when the forces of the Dark Lord Ahriman are assumed to be at the peak of their strength. While the next day, the first day of the month ‘Day’ known as ‘khoram rooz’ or ‘khore rooz’ (the day of sun) belongs to Ahura Mazda, the Lord of Wisdom. Since the days are getting longer and the nights shorter, this day marks the victory of Sun over the darkness. The occasion was celebrated in the festival of ‘Daygan’ dedicated to Ahura Mazda, on the first day of the month.”

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