Tomorrow marks the Winter Solstice for 2010. It will effectively be the shortest day of the year; the day with the least amount of actual daylight. The Winter Solstice has long been a day of significance in the Western world. According to The Encyclopedia of Modern Witchcraft and Neo-Paganism, “the winter solstice was taken from Mithras and given to the baby Jesus.” Tanya Gulevich’s Encyclopedia of Christmas and New Year’s Celebrations states that “early Christian authorities placed Christmas near the winter solstice in the hopes of replacing pagan holidays clustered on and around that date.” You can learn more about the development of those ancient Christmas traditions in Dorothy Morrison’s book, Yule : A Celebration of Light & Warmth.
Although it might seem like a bleak, dark slog through winter once New Year’s Day has passed, try to remember that each day after December 21st means gradually more light as the days slowly grow longer. At least that’s what I try to remind myself during those early morning treks to the T station. If you do find yourself succumbing to the melancholy of too much darkness, you might want to read up on Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in these great sources:
- Brains That Work a Little Bit Differently : Recent Discoveries About Common Mental Diversities / Allen D. Bragdon and David Gamon.
- Positive Options For Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) : Self-Help And Treatment / Fiona Marshall and Peter Cheevers.
- Winter Blues : Everything You Need to Know to Beat Seasonal Affective Disorder / Norman E. Rosenthal.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder For Dummies / Laura L. Smith, Charles H. Elliot
In the meantime, enjoy the daylight we do have, and try to think warm thoughts as we make our way through winter and toward spring!