This photo was taken the morning of the 2000 Winter Solstice near Ames, Iowa. The halo is made by sunlight shining through millions of ice crystals.
The Winter Solstice begins Wednesday, December 21 as the Sun begins its annual trek through Capricorn. We experience the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and the longest night.
In this time of the longest night we share the rebirth from darkness into light as our annual cycle of life begins again.
This is the time of the great Goddess preparing her movement from spirit into matter again, a time of the lessening of Yin Energy and the rising of Yang Energy.
The yin yang symbol to the left reflects this cycle. If you think of the top being the summer soltice in June and the bottom the winter soltice in December then you can see the white yang energy slowly rising as the season moves into spring.
Even at its peak the yang energy still has a dot of yin or darkness within the light. As we move into the autumn the black yin energy increases again with a dot of yang or light within the dark
.Humans have made calendars, or measurements of time, beginning near this time of year for thousands of years. A famous example of this is a solstice calendar of surprising accuracy, Stonehenge dates back almost 5,000 years.
Image Winter Solstice (Nasa photo)
Philip Appleton (SIRTF Science Center),Caltech