there is a sweet solar yearly cycle that happens which many cultures of many realms choose to celebrate;
I like to relate the natural external cycles to our own natural internal cycles.
solstice - solstice from the Latin 'to stand still' (sol = sun + sistire = stand still: think Sthira, for steadiness). indeed, for this period of the year, as the sun hits its lowest point on our axis tilt, the nights extend longer and longer, until they even seem 'to stand still'. here, we may not notice it as much, but the more North you go, the more dramatic it is.
we've got these great solar holidays; they remain down through the ages and cultures and continue to frame and time many of our modern observances. it's cyclical, and it speaks to our energetics - personal and cultural. I liken the solar holidays (the major four occurrences; solstices and equinoxes) to the passing of a full cycle of breath for the planet. just as we move energetically through the cycles of our breathing, I believe that we collectively take an energetic, yearly, solar breath.
when the Earth is moving from the Winter Solstice - Alban Arthan (the shortest and darkest day of the year) through the Spring Equinox - Alban Eilir and then arrives at the Summer Solstice - Alban Hefin (the longest and lightest day of the year), this is akin to the inhale.
as the year then recedes back from that fullness through the dwindling, we come to the Fall Equinox - Alban Elfed and then back to the deepest of the dark - where we stand today, Winter Solstice - Alban Arthan: this is the depth of the exhale, completely empty.
after three of these days, the orbit of the sun will begin to lengthen again in this hemisphere, the nights will grow shorter and shorter. this is the beginning of the inhale process; the energetic is quite different, although the change predicating the shift is incremental and subtle.
using this metaphor and then creating ritual and observance has been instructive for me - in order to understand the seasonal shifts and changes, in order to create synergy between myself as living being and cosmos as living entity, and in order to mark time and create celebrations.
enjoy, even though we are at the most inward and self-reflective of the energies, what lies before is is the swelling of our greatest potential and most exquisite fullness in those coming days.
discern, reflect and consider, and then engage in the process of making your life and your experience better, more present and in service to more than your self. this is a Holy Day, so bring devotion to your motion and move like you mean it!!
and, give thanks and praise!!