“The word solstice derives from the Latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still) since to the ancients the sun did seem to stand still. With nature dormant all around us, this is a good time for us to also be still, quiet and rest; a time to reflect on the passing year and as the light begins to return after the shortest day, a time to renew our inner light and focus.
From the most Ancient Days, our ancestors have gathered at Winter Solstice to witness the rebirth of the unconquerable Sun at first light, moving from its long gestation to triumph over the darkness. The divine light gathers strength to bring new hope, peace and joy. Whispering life’s secrets into awakening dormant seeds with the warmth of love and the mysteries of spirit.
We rekindle the turning of the year from its dark coals, to guide and sustain us as we journey through the coldest times, honoring the rebirth of the inner light within ourselves.” ~ author unknown
I finish with Fra Giovanni’s letter (1513), which conveys my feelings so well:
“I am your friend and my love for you goes deep. There is nothing I can give you which you have not got, but there is much, very much, that, while I cannot give it, you can take.
No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in today. Take heaven!
No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instant. Take peace!
The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach is joy. There is radiance and glory in the darkness could we but see – and to see we have only to look. I beseech you to look!
Life is so generous a giver, but we, judging its gifts by the covering, cast them away as ugly, or heavy or hard. Remove the covering and you will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of love, by wisdom, with power.
Welcome it, grasp it, touch the angel’s hand that brings it to you. Everything we call a trial, a sorrow, or a duty, believe me, that angel’s hand is there, the gift is there, and the wonder of an overshadowing presence. Our joys, too, be not content with them as joys. They, too, conceal diviner gifts.
Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty – beneath its covering – that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven.
Courage, then, to claim it, that is all. But courage you have, and the knowledge that we are all pilgrims together, wending through unknown country, home.
And so, at this time, I greet you. Not quite as the world sends greetings, but with profound esteem and with the prayer that for you now and forever, the day breaks, and the shadows flee away.”
And to my friends in the Southern Hemisphere, have a pleasant summer!
A real gift. Thank you
Thank you, Gary!
So utterly moving and perfect for the times Eliza. I am familiar with Fra Giovanni, but had never read this. Thank you for posting. I am sending the post on to my family who will appreciate the prescience. Merry Christmas Eliza.
Thank you, Cindy. Hope yours is merry as well. Take peace!
That’s a glorious photo, Eliza, and wise words. Thank you!
Thank you, Audrey!
Beautiful words to embrace during this special time. Thank you Eliza 🙏🏻💕
Thank you, Karen. Wishing you a lovely summer! ❤
Thank you, Derrick.
Beautiful photo and I wish you a very merry week!
Thank you, Judy! 🙂
Be sure to watch for the great conjunction of Jupiter, Saturn and the Moon at 6PM today.
Thanks, Hien. I think it will be cloudy, but maybe tomorrow will be better?
Beautiful words Eliza that are wonderful for the day. A salute to light on the day of darkness is reversed. A song for you and your readers. https://youtu.be/zGTILQ7yYV4
Beautiful video, Frank. Thanks so much for sharing it.
Beautiful post, Eliza – Winter Solstice greetings and well wishes to you.
Thank you, Lynn!
How beautiful as are you! Happy Solstice to you. Now the light returns to bring in the new year’s gardens & flowers.
Amen to that… thanks much! ❤
Thank you for the beautiful photo. This is a magical time of year. Will you be viewing the grand conjunction on Jupiter and Saturn? Happy holidays.
Thank you, Ellen. It will be cloudy here tonight, but maybe tomorrow will be clearer.
Really beautiful, Eliza.
Thank you kindly, Cynthia.
The ever-important Winter Solstice….lighter days ahead. Today, here: 7:09 ~ 4:15. We’ve gained 3 afternoon minutes. Very wise and sensitive words by Fra Giovanni. Gorgeous photo by Eliza!
Thank you, Alice!
Such a perfect photo and perfect for Solstice too. And thank you for the profound sentiments beautifully expressed in the second quotation too. May you now feel like you are turning towards the light.
Here as you note it is summer and the summer solstice has completely different connotations, although sadly we have our own bleak shadows here too as the pandemic is surging once again, and now with a new variant that is possibly more transmissible (similar but not exactly the same as the one identified in the UK).
We do have something to be grateful for though. Our lovely dog Rory had to have unexpected spinal surgery on Friday. He started presenting with only the subtlest of limps in a hind leg, but scans showed that without the surgery it he would have become paralyzed. He is doing really well and came home today. Rehabilitation time is about a month and the signs are all good. He is eating well and is able to walk.
Thank you, Carol. The whole world is walking this shadowy side these days. Good news must be found wherever we can find it… So glad Rory is showing improvement, he’s such a beautiful dog.
“Courage, then, to claim it, that is all. But courage you have, and the knowledge that we are all pilgrims together, wending through unknown country, home.”
We are missing the longest day here in the Eastern Cape because we have not seen the sun! This means we will miss the ‘Bethlehem Star’ too – the light rain is far more valuable though! Thank you for sharing these beautiful and apt sentiments, Eliza.
Thank you, Anne. It is cloudy here as well, maybe tomorrow night will be better?
A perfect picture and wonderful words. Happy Winter Solstice.
Thank you, Ashley.
I’m just delighted that, from here on for a while, we’ll start GAINING hours of daylight! Winter sometimes lasts far too long for me.
Same here, Debbie. It seems winter just goes on and on. March should be warmer, IMO!
A lovely photo accompanied by an even lovelier letter retrieved from the past. Thank you Eliza!
Thank you, Kris!
This is such a beautiful post Eliza.
Nice to see you, Sylvia! Hope all is well with you, thanks for stopping by and Happy Solstice!
Stunning photo. Solstice is truly a special time whether winter or summer when Earth’s energies come together. Sadly I spent the entire day inside working from my home office and nature provided a spectacular view from my spare bedroom window of rain, grey and fog.
Thank you, Jill. Pretty gray here today, too. The sun broke out for 1/2 hour, so I took the dog out for a walk before it closed in again. Longer days ahead!
Very nice Eliza! Enjoyed your post!
Thank you, Reed!
Beautiful! Thanks for sharing ❤
Thank you, Harold. 🙂
My dear fellow pilgrim, such a lovely message for what I consider to be the start of the new year already. And a beautiful photo that is perfectly fitting. I wish you light and peace Eliza. xx
Thank you, Cathy, the journey is all the better for your company. ❤
A beautiful message to guide us to the light Eliza and your photograph is a meditation in itself too. Wishing you a blessed Solstice! 💖💫
Thank you, Xenia! x
Thank you, Fi!
Radiance and glory in the darkness … perfect text and a beautiful photograph!
Thank you, Allison!
Yes, the seasons reverse for the south. While we had the shortest day now, the coldest will be in February
January here usually has a week of single digits, but that’s become more random and we’ve already seen those temps already last week. Yet, it is bouncing back to 50 in the next couple days!
I’m with you 100% just knowing we’ve crossed the first hurdle to spring makes me excited… even if we have almost all of winter still to go lol
IKR? I think it is the idea that each day the light lasts a bit longer. I’m dreaming peonies. 😉
Stunning capture, Eliza, well done! ❤️
I enjoyed these beautiful words and the perfect Solstice image. I am particularly glad this year to be moving towards longer days.
Thank you, Susan. Yes, the garden season awaits!
So interesting. We lit a big Solstice bonfire and placed our intentions on Jupiter as it backlit Saturn. We saw it all. Burned in the fire those things we wished to release, metaphorically. Then talked about how it must have been not so long ago to wonder if the light would ever return. Good to get back to basics once in awhile 😉
Nice, I’d love to do a bonfire… we haven’t had one in years… maybe the way we’ll end the year. We have a lot of things to release and throw on it!
As do we all, I am sure! Merry Merry, Eliza! ❤
Wonderful post, Eliza. Best wishes to you for this season.
Solstice seems to be a significant turning point of the year in both of our hemispheres. Wishing you warmer days ahead, and not-so-hot summer days ahead for us! 🙂
May it be so! 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing Fra Giovanni’s words. I remember reading this years ago and had forgotten…. am happy to be reminded. They were meaningful way back when, and perhaps even more so now.
Also, that’s a gorgeous photo!!
Hope you’re having a pleasant holiday season, Eliza. Wishing you all the best for the New Year and beyond. ❤
Thank you very much, Betty! It is amazing how those words still ring true 500 years later. Happy New Year!
A stunning image to lead into those thought-provoking words. I like the paragraph that begins, “Life is so generous a giver”… we have much for which to be thankful even in our darkest days. Thanks, Eliza.
So true, thanks, Jane. x
Beautiful. On so many levels. Happy solstice Eliza and Happy New Year. Thank you too for all the stunning images this year.
A wonderful image to celebrate the solstice! The feeling of being in a forest is conveyed so well!
Thank you, Denise. 🙂
You’ve truly captured light in this image. Fabulous 💕
Thank you, Rachel. 🙂