Though Solstice marks the standing still and ultimate return of the Sun toward the northern celestial hemisphere, there are three further ‘turns’ that occur before what is truly new begins to unfold. These turns are the three “eves” that occur in this season: Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, and the eve of Epiphany, also known as 12th Night.
From the first eve to the final eve we journey through what are known as the 12 Days of Christmas, which can be associated with other things that come in twelves, like the months of the year, and the regions of the zodiac.
This makes the season beautifully suited to reflecting on what happened in the year now ending ~ as the Sun moved through one region of the zodiac to the next ~ and holding a space within yourself for dreaming into what the New Year holds. One way to do this is to review what happened in your life as the Sun moved through one region of zodiac each evening, and then write or imagine your wish for the same time next year, on the following morning.
In this way the stars become the bridge from the old year to the new, which is fitting during this darkest time of year, when sunlight wanes and starshine is abundant. In the Christian imagery of this season, these 12 days of Christmas are bookended by two significant events: the annunciation of the birth of the Christ Child to the shepherds, and the visitation to the same birth by the three wise men. The shepherd’s represent the caring, compassionate nature of the human heart, while the wise men represent the wisdom of the head.
So a contemplation of the year past and the year ahead aligned to the stars during the 12 Days of Christmas can be imagined as the sacred art of joining the heart to the head, that our thoughts may be filled with compassion, and that our actions be thoughtfully informed.