Solstice & the Midwinter fire
‘In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy.’
– Albert Camus
Even with the winter season only recently upon us, Midwinter has arrived. The Earth continues its journey through the great night of space and the days once more begin to lengthen. The shortest day of the year – June 21, this year in Australia – marks an important revolution, as the darkness begins a slow retreat and a new solar year begins.
This week, those in the Southern Hemisphere celebrate the mid-year or hibernal solstice, and welcome the renewal of the sun with feasting and flame. A tradition since time immemorial across a multitude of cultures (including Yule in the North, from the Nordic Jul meaning wheel), the role of fire in its observance is near-universal.
For many, it’s a time to reflect, to be still, and acknowledge the vastness, wonder and mystery of being. Whether lighting a candle in the quiet night, igniting a bonfire in the midst of a circle of friends and fellows, or stoking the hearth in the warm embrace of home, we are reminded once more of fire’s deep hold over us.
It is perhaps our oldest technology, helping us keep the terrors of night at bay and the cold in check. It is an emblem of spirit, alive to the prospect of renewal and sustenance. And it is beauty in one of its truly elemental forms.
A merry and safe Solstice to you all, from Oblica.