Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice-here comes the sun!

Welcome the Winter Solstice

Here at Phoenix we are all excited to see the Winter Solstice. It’s been a difficult year for most people and the short days and long nights aren’t helping to lift the mood.

So we are taking a moment to embrace the Winter Solstice – the shortest day. Afterall it heralds the return of the light, as the days start to get longer.

Bring Back the Sun

The Winter Solstice will officially happen at 10.02am on 21st December 2020. This is the point at which the sun is furthest away from the Northern Hemisphere. The night will be long and the day will officially last 7 hours 49 minutes and 42 seconds. It’s roughly 8 hours shorter than the longest day at mid-summer!

Rather than dwelling on the hours of darkness some cultures celebrate the shortest day as the start of the sun’s return. From here on in the days get longer.

In the UK we have the wonder of Stonehenge which dates from 3,500 BC. It is thought to have been built for the celebration of the Winter Solstice. On the morning of the 21st December the sun’s rays shine through the stones as the sun rises. It’s a magical moment. Druids in Britain visit Stonehenge to get the first rays of the solstice sun, and cut mistletoe, which is sacred to them.

Here are some ways that you can celebrate the Winter Solstice without travelling to Stonehenge:

• Take a moment to yourself at 10.02am to reflect on how you feel. The difference in our moods and emotions is really influenced by the length of the day. If you are struggling with low mood focus on how sunlight makes you feel and note that the days will now be lengthening and the sun returning from its sojourn in the Southern Hemisphere.
• Try to go out and see some nature if you can. Visit a park and look at the trees in their winter garb. I even noticed some daffodil bulbs tentatively peeping up above the soil in Roundhay Park this week!
• If you are unable to go out (there are so many reasons that keep us in at the moment) try to look at images of the natural World. Websites like https://www.nationalgeographic.com are a great source of photos.

Planetary Spectacle    

This year on 21st December just after sunset Jupiter and Saturn will be perfectly aligned in the sky and will appear to be one huge star! If it’s a clear night sky you will be able to spot them low in the south-west in the hour after sunset. This Great Conjunction as it’s known hasn’t happened for 800 years so it really is rare opportunity to see what some are calling the Star of Bethlehem. Find out more in this great article from NASA https://www.nasa.gov/feature/the-great-conjunction-of-jupiter-and-saturn

What it means to you?

We’d be interested to hear what the Winter Solstice means to you and what you will be doing to celebrate or mark the occasion.

Here are some thoughts from our therapists:

“I love the Winter Solstice. It’s all about the brightness returning. I’ll be celebrating by going for a late-night swim in a local lake. I want to be in nature for the Solstice.” Heather

“The Solstice signifies hope for me because from that day on the days are getting lighter.” Ali

“I look forward to the brightness returning and the days getting longer” Amanda

“I’ll be taking my dog out for a lovely walk in the park. The Solstice is about the return of the sun and hope for brighter times in 2021” Lizzie

We really couldn’t have put it better Lizzie!


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