The Celtic Wheel of the Year cycles next to Winter Solstice around the 21s t of December (June in the Southern Hemisphere) when the Sun literally ‘stops’ for six days at Midwinter. This seemingly miraculous phenomenon heralded the return of the light in the depths of Winter and so for our Ancestors, in the stillness of hibernation, hope was born. Our foremothers knew this instinctively and flowed with the changing season River Goddess Boann is our guide for this Celtic Festival.
In Ireland’s Boyne Valley, there is an epic physical celebration of the female power centre in Newgrange’s giant womb-like Cairn. Each Winter Solstice, the magic of Nature causes the male Sun’s rays penetrate her with respect and permission to birth another year of Lightness. The Winter Solstice is celebrated around December 21s t – the longest night and the shortest day of the year. The ‘true’ archeo-astronomical date may be 20t h or 22n d December the exact time between Samhain and Imbolg. Seanmháthair Gealach’s name, during this month – the Long Night Moon, reflects this aptly. The Gaelic name for the Winter Solstice is An Grianstad Gheimhridh (pronounced On Gree–an-stad Gev-reh).