Solstice and the 12 Holy Nights: This week on the Storyteller's Night Sky

Dec 18, 2017

The standing still of the Sun at Winter Solstice is a sacred moment that happens when the Sun appears in front of the thickest region of stars in our sky, the region where the constellation Sagittarius the archer is aiming his arrow toward the center of the Milky Way Galaxy.


The Winter Solstice moment occurs this week on Thursday, December 21st at 11:28 am and when the Sun sets later that day, it will inaugurate many of the year’s most scared traditions. 


One such tradition includes an observation of the 12 Holy Nights, which is a contemplation in miniature, of the Sun’s journey through the 12 constellations of the zodiac.


In some Christian traditions, this journey is described as the trek of the three wise men, following the star to the site of the sacred birth of the Christ Child. This journey begins in the quiet stillness of the season, and the consequence of overlooking this still moment is described in the Russian folk tale of the old woman Baboushka, who misses her opportunity to journey with the kings because she is too busy sweeping and scrubbing her home.


In the 1940s, the poet TS Eliot penned his “Four Quartets”, the lines of which can be imagined like the Sun at solstice, when it stands still among the thickest region of stars. Eliot wrote:  


I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope

For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,

For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith

But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.

Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:

So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing. 


Baboushka and the Three Kings: