Winter Solstice
beginning the journey into the new year

~Nicholas Noble Wolf

The Winter Solstice is a special time of beginnings, and for me perhaps the most holy time of the year. The Winter Solstice is the time when the old year ends and all that it brought is left behind as we begin the journey into the new year.

The Winter Solstice is the time when the Sun Father has traveled the furthest south from our Mother the Earth. To those in the north, we see and feel him at his weakest, and we men do honor to him and caretaking of him at this time to ensure his return. We men go into the fields or our back yards or our gardens that day and honor him by making a fire into which his spirit might have honor and solstice. We then watch over his spirit throughout this longest night ensuring that he who gives us so much does return the next day, when at sunup, we can send that which we have honored and protected all the night long back into the sky. We know within our deepest self that if we do not do this honor, that he will withdraw from us, perhaps never to return. In days long ago, people might gather, men and women, around the sacred fire which has been created for this honoring and caretaking, the men feeding him throughout the night and the women ensuring that they do. Then in the morning, when his spirit has returned to the sky, the people would rekindle their hearth fires in celebration of his renewed spirit.

In this day and age I receive question as to how one might caretake our Sun Father with no place for a fire within their home. To you I remind that First Shaman who taught us these things as a gift from Creator, never said that the fire for this honoring need be large. An oil lamp or even a candle is sufficient, for it is the Sun Father's spirit, his essence, that we take responsibility for, and his spirit, while able to encompass the whole of the Earth Mother and all her peoples, also lives within all fire. So, before the sun sets on Solstice, kindle a small fire calling the Sun into that fire. Light your candle or lamp from that fire that you might take care of it during this sacred night.

After First Shaman had come to the people bringing the Ways to assist each person in finding and fulfilling their own unique path of return to Grandfather Fire, after he had taught these Ways to the people, he went into the heavens where we can see him today as the Eagle of the Night or north star. There he stands, ready to be of assistance to all peoples. It is upon the night of the Winter Solstice that First Shaman's spirit returns to the people, bestowing spiritual gifts upon all that our new year might be one of joy, compassion and growth. This return reminds us of the Give-Away, that this coming of the new year is a time to consider our friends, family and all people as we celebrate through giving something from our heart.

On the occasion of the new year which follows the Winter Solstice, I ask all people to reflect during the night on that which they have created during the past year. Leave behind that which does not serve you and carry forth that which does into the new year, that these good things might grow and blossom into your life throughout the year. Celebrate the gifts you have, those you receive and the good thing you have done on behalf of our Father the Sun.

© copyright 2001, Nicholas Noble Wolf