Monday, December 21st marks the official first day of winter. This astronomical event brings the shortest period of daylight and the longest night of the year. In the Northern Hemisphere, this is the December solstice and in the Southern Hemisphere, this is the June solstice. Today, areas near the North Pole will have no winter sunlight, while areas near the South Pole will have no summer darkness.
Solstice is derived from the Latin words sol, meaning “sun,” and sistere, meaning “to stand still.” Ancient traditions celebrated this day as the rebirth of the sun. While we’ve been feeling winter’s chill for quite some time now, the coldest days of winter still lie ahead. But we can’t just look toward the heavens for the reasoning behind that one. Our planet is made up of over 70% water—primarily oceans, which are slow to heat and cool. This time of year, the oceans still hold on to some of the residual warmth from summer. This means the coldest days of winter won’t come for another 6 weeks or so. Think about the amazing power that Nature holds! Our sun has the power to move ocean waves and warm our planet. Without it, there would be no life on Earth. And our oceans have the tremendous power to impact climate and landforms all over the world.
The Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn
This year, the Winter Solstice is even more unique and profound. Jupiter and Saturn will appear to almost overlap, producing a phenomenon dubbed “the Christmas Star”. Although the planets will still be hundreds of millions of miles apart, Jupiter and Saturn will appear to be a mere .1 degrees apart, as viewed from Earth. While conjunctions occur every 20 years, the proximity of these planets within their orbit (to those watching from Earth) earns the name great conjunction. The last great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn was in July 1623. However, the planetary alignment occurred as the sun was setting, making it impossible to witness. We’d have to travel back almost 800 years—to March 1226—to find a great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn that was visible on Earth.
The best time to see the great conjunction is right before sunset on December 21st. But be sure not to miss it! It’ll be another 400 years before this event occurs again.
The heavens are shining tonight, and sharing their celestial light. How powerful to have two events—the Winter Solstice and great conjunction—all in one day. Stand in silent meditation throughout the day today, while holding the Qigong posture The Dragon Stands Between Heaven and Earth.
Read about the power of Jupiter and Saturn, and how you can connect with these heavenly bodies.
Join our upcoming virtual Winter Soup Cleanse with Grand Master Nan Lu. Nourish your body, mind and spirit, and start 2021 with a healthy dose of TLC.