From The Ramparts
Junious Ricardo Stanton
Observing the Winter Solstice
"At the December solstice, Earth is positioned in its orbit so that the sun stays below the north pole horizon. As seen from 23-and-a-half degrees south of the equator, at the imaginary line encircling the globe known as the Tropic of Capricorn, the sun shines directly overhead at noon. This is as far south as the sun ever gets. All locations south of the equator have day lengths greater than 12 hours at the December solstice. Meanwhile, all locations north of the equator have day lengths less than 12 hours." http://earthsky.org/?p=2951
Our ancient ancestors observed all of nature about themselves; but especially the skies, noting the weather, the stars and the seeming changes of the sun, which they saw as the most powerful object in the sky, the provider of light and warmth. This December 21 at 10:28 Central Time in the Northern Hemisphere we will experience the Winter Solstice. This occurs due to the earth's axis tilt, as a result the days will be shorter and the nights longer then after two days, the days will become increasingly longer until we move into the Spring and Summer. During this period you will see later dawns and early sunsets. Meanwhile in the Southern Hemisphere the exact opposite is happening, the days are getting longer
Because of the influence of the Sun and the awe in which ancient man held for the heavens, many tribes and cultures created celebrations, festivals and rituals to mark the various phases of the Sun as the earth traveled around it. They were keenly aware of the Equinoxes when the solar energy and sunlight were the same for both hemispheres and many used these events to establish calendars to mark the consistent changes they observed in the heavens and here on earth. To be honest the ancients did not worship the sun or moon per se, they observed them because for them these two objects offered a sense of constancy, regularity and rhythm that helped them plan and orient their daily lives.
Later unscrupulous megalomaniacal leaders used this natural phenomenon to manipulate the masses and created religious observations and festivals around the changes they experienced and observed due to the earth's rotation and the positioning of the sun (and the phases of the moon) but placed themselves in positions of power and authority over the people. Ceremonies, myths and fables were created that explained to some degree the solstice occurrence.
Much of what we see around this time: the placing of lights around the houses, the looking towards the heavens and myths about avatars and saviors being born around this time, dying and resurrected are actually based upon the Winter and Spring solstices and equinoxes.
The ancients had a saying "As above so below" the principle or law of correspondence, the unity of all creation and they attempted to order their societies and their lives in accordance to DEVINE ORDER and pay attention to the various energies and forces they experienced in their lives. To them the Sun was merely a symbol, an icon and a representation of the unseen energy that permeated and sustained all creation.
Today too often we take a dim view of the ancients because we do not understand their worldview, we are disconnected from what they believed or experienced. Their narratives are told by invaders who disdained the people and their culture or in the case of the more advanced cultures the invaders encountered, they were in awe and envy of what the indigenous people accomplished. The invaders either subsequently took undue credit for what the indigenous people did (as in the case of Arab interlopers in Kemet) or they suppressed the truth those people were Black.
One of the things we can do to acknowledge the solstice and put some personal significance and importance to it, is to do the research, see it with an open, unbiased mind, be appreciative of what our ancient ancestors recognized and understood and take time to give thanks for them.
I've heard people recommend fasting and cleansing during the solstice, abstaining from eating for a brief period of time twenty four hours or so. Physical fasting is very beneficial for you but so is mental fasting. During a mental fast you abstain from ideas, images, thoughts and the resulting feelings that are not positive or healthy. Think healthy thoughts, create images of peace and empathy within yourself, envision yourself as healthy and prosperous, strive to develop an inner serenity and spirit. Once you are successful doing this during the solstice or equinoxes, you can do it randomly on a more regular basis. Once you are able to do this consistently you will notice a positive change in your life, maybe not in all your circumstances but in how you deal with life, people and circumstances. Sometimes we need an external event to simulate an internal transformation,the Winter Solstice is as good a time as any.