Winter Solstice/Matariki

by | Jun 27, 2012 | Uncategorized | 10 comments

Our winter solstice celebration was a little late this year, having to be postponed from last week. All the same, we entered into the mystery of this time. We began by viewing a brief video clip of the solstice sunrise at NewGrange, in Ireland. You can see it on It must have taken several generations of workers to build this ancient tomb. Great precision was required to ensure that the light of the solstice sun shafted down the long entrance tunnel to hit the stone in the centre. In the video, the solstice light appears amber, flickering and magical as it enters the chamber.

 Here, on the other side of the world, we meditated in the dark. ‘Winter . . . liberates the vision of the soul’, said Vita Sackville-West. We discovered and shared our visions born out of the depth of darkness.

 We lit candles and ate the solstice fruit.

And celebrated also Matariki, the wandering celebration which this year fell exactly on Winter Solstice. Taranaki Maori would welcome Matariki back in a tearful reunion, and speak out the names of those who had died since Matariki last disappeared. My old teacher, who was from Taranaki, was remembered together with Matariki this year.

I’ve come to love winter solstice for its connection with ancestral rituals, the depth of its darkness on the longest night, and the hope that is seeded with the returning sun. In the northern hemisphere, at summer solstice, darkness is seeded. For you in the north, the season is turning towards the dark now, even as our season turns towards the light. At the equinoxes, we will feel the changeover, but meanwhile you have increasing warmth, and we increasing cold. Happy solstice, wherever you are.


  1. Ruth

    Thank you for the link to the wonderful Newgrange video with magical music.

  2. juliet

    Hi Ruth, glad you enjoyed the link. I prefer seeing such a sacred site without commentary, and I too like the music.

  3. Hotly Spiced

    It’s great that you acknowledging the occasion and how wonderful to have remembered your teacher. I do like the fact that we’ve had the shortest day so the days are now getting longer but I don’t like the sound of the days getting colder – it’s cold enough! xx

  4. juliet

    Hi Charlie, at least we know that the sun is returning and as long as we can find a sheltered spot we can bask in the warmth. Thanks for visiting.

  5. Hilary Melton-Butcher

    Hi Juliet .. always good to read about your ancestral- soul connections .. and as you say this year it is extra special with the passing of your old teacher ..

    Your photos are quite delightful – thank you for sharing ..cheers Hilary

  6. juliet

    Hilary, thanks for linking in with these connections. Great to have you visit and comment. My family goes back to Ireland, Yorkshire and Scotland, so these connections are very much part of my Celtic heritage.

  7. lifeonthecutoff

    I enjoyed our very long day this summer solstice, Juliet, knowing the days only grow shorter from here. What a peaceful, serene celebration you had, full of symbols and of remembrances. I love when you share them here.

  8. juliet

    Yes, it was a peaceful celebration, filled with deep contemplation. Thank you Penny.

  9. Lynley

    I learnt much from your post Juliet and the striking, glowing orange fruits against the black background has stayed with me.

    Thank you and I’m glad your celebration was rich and deep.

  10. juliet

    Lynley, I’m glad you enjoyed the images. They certainly has impact on the night, as we sat illumined by candlelight. Thank you.


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