The Divine Birth at the Winter Solstice has its origins in the drama of the stars. On the longest and darkest night of the year, the constellation of Virgo stands upon the eastern horizon at midnight as the Virgin Mother gives birth to the new Son / Sun who will emerge at dawn. In the Christmas story, the Star of Bethlehem, which came to rest over the stable in which the Christ Child was born, is thought to have been Sirius, the star the Egyptians associated with Isis, mother of the divine child Horus.
For long before the Christmas story, this time of year was celebrated as the birth of a sun-god, the most well-known being the Persian Mithras, whose birth in a cave was witnessed by shepherds.
It is important to realize that it is not only the return of the physical Sun that gave rise to these stories of a joyful new birth. The physical form of the sun is merely the outer face of the great spiritual being that is the overlighting Intelligence of the solar system in which we live. The rebirth of the Sun presages renewal for the Earth as she embarks on another cycle of growth in the coming year. And because we are children of Earth, we too can take part in this joyful renewal of our individual lives.
Many people are aware of a very special atmosphere pervades the Earth at this time.
For while the Sun’s rays are weak, falling at an oblique angle over the northern hemisphere, spiritual influences pour onto the Earth from the stellar realms, which are associated with the Angels and Archangels. In the words of the old hymn, it’s the time when “Angels (are) bending to the Earth to touch their harps of gold.”
This is why so many of us feel this to be such a thrilling, magical time of the year, for a spiritual wave of love and light comes streaming into our planet. This is in contrast to the Summer Solstice, when the sun’s rays are high above the northern hemisphere. At this time, the Sun’s influence is stronger on Earth and the Angelic influence is less. It’s the time of the Faery Festivals, when nature’s powers are at their height and faeries, gnomes and elementals rejoice in ecstasy on Midsummer’s Eve, celebrating how their tireless work has brought forth the glorious abundance of summer.
What’s more, because many people throughout the world celebrate this festival – whether Christian, pagan, humanist, or doing it just for the kids – they are all participating in a collective act of ritual magic. The tree in the living room, topped by a star, fairy or angel, sends out a call to upperworld beings to draw near. There is a strong focus on a new birth or the arrival of a special being from another world, whether at a nativity play, pagan Solstice gathering, or even a department store Santa! On a practical level, many people, their hearts more open than usual, feel touched by the plight of the needy, and give generously to charities. From an esoteric viewpoint, all of this contributes to creating an opening through which higher energies can flow, which is the whole point of sacred magic. So at the Winter Solstice, we have an opportunity to open to these higher spiritual influences pouring onto our planet and to share these blessings with all.
Here is a short meditation which can aid in this opening.
The Christmas Rose
Light a candle, sit before it and enter the Silence.
Gaze at the flame, and feel an answering flame kindled within your own heart centre, located in the middle of your chest.
Take some deep breaths, and, as you slowly inhale and exhale, feel this flame growing in strength and glowing brightly.
The glow of the candle becomes a white rose, its petals edged with gold.
Notice whether the Rose is open or closed.
Now be aware of a Star above you. This is Sirius, the Star of Bethlehem, the star of the Queen of Heaven, sometimes known as Divine Isis, sometimes as Mary.
The star pours down radiant beams of pure Light and Love into your heart centre.
The Rose opens fully, revealing its golden heart.
It fills to the brim with heavenly dew.
Send this blessing to all those people and places in suffering and darkness.
When this feels complete, allow the petals of the Rose to gently close. It becomes a candle flame again, which you may want to keep alight within you long after you have extinguished the physical candle.