Saturday, December 15, 2012

Winter Solstice 2012

Winter Solstice at Stonehenge

A Return to the Light -- Winter Solstice December 21, 2012 at 11:11 am GMT

In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.  Albert Camus

This year the Winter Solstice coincides with the last day of the Mayan Long Count Calendar.  Its synchronicity with the end date of this 5,125 year calendar, which is one fifth, or one season of the Great Year (26,000 year cycle) in fact marks a galactic still point.  While the Earth-Sun relationship finds a still point of yin and yang at the Winter Solstice, so does the Sun with the Galactic Center.  On the darkest day of the year in the northern hemisphere of Earth, the Sun rises on the horizon in exact relationship to the center of our Milky Way Galaxy.  Many believe this alignment signals a shift in the galactic season known as world age -- literally the return of galactic light during the winter season of consciousness.

2012 "Galignment"

Just like the shifting of seasons on Earth, galactic seasons progress slowly.  On Earth the winter solstice marks the final day of contracting yin, as well as the birth of yang, barely glimmering with its promise of light and expansion.  It is a still point, the gap between breaths.  Although the winter solstice heralds the beginning of the winter season, cold weather and snow often arrive earlier.  On a galactic scale we might also see the early shift in weather patterns alerting us to the coming change in consciousness.   From the dawn of the Enlightenment, through the Industrial Revolution, and on to our current Information Age, human consciousness has been slowly awakening and realizing its connection to the cosmos.  As a child I remember learning the names of all nine planets (yes, including Pluto); and as an adult I sat in amazement at the Morrison Planetarium witnessing the next generation of school children take a virtual trip, not only through our solar system, but out into the Milky Way, and beyond to distant galaxies in an ever expanding universe.  Our understanding of the boundless scope of the universe is certainly mushrooming here on planet Earth -- especially during the last two decades.  Many believe this shift in awareness, or quickening, is due to our place in space.  Modern researchers suggest that the winter solstice Sun has been aligning with the mysterious center of the galaxy since the Harmonic Convergence at the end of the 1980s, creating a unique cosmic connection between the Earth, Sun, and Galactic Center (GC). As Juliana Swanson poignantly points out:
The Sun moves roughly one zodiacal or longitudinal degree per day, so that it moves around the whole zodiac (360 degrees) in a year. In its apparent passage around the zodiac, it comes into alignment with the Galactic Center once every year. The Sun is a disk and not a point, and as seen from the Earth, it spans a diameter of about a half inch to an inch in width. Because of this, the disc of the Sun appears to align with the plane of the Galactic Equator on Winter Solstice each year for a period of about 36 years. This close alignment began in 1980 and will end around 2016. This astronomical alignment is not specific to 2012!

The bright yellow circle to the right of the galaxy's center is our Sun (not to scale).   Amazing artist's impression of the four tails of the Sagittarius Dwarf Galaxy (the orange clump on the left of the image) orbiting the Milky Way.   The Sagittarius dwarf galaxy is on the other side of the galaxy from us, but we can see its tidal tails of stars stretching across the sky as they wrap around our galaxy. Click here for article.   Credit: Amanda Smith, Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge

In the Vedic cosmological tradition, the Galactic Center is called is called Brahma, the creative force, or Vishnunabhi, the navel of Vishnu.  It is believed to be the location of a central galactic Sun, whose influence emanates from the stars of the constellation of Sagittarius, containing the nakshatra of Mula, meaning "root" as in root star.  The deity associated with this nakshatra is Nirriti, the goddess of destruction.  She gives Mula the power to break things apart, barhana shakti, perhaps esoterically representing the black hole that many astrophysicists suspect is hidden inside the core the Galactic Center.  Some modern researchers believe that during the 2012 "galignment" a beam of energy will be released from the galactic core that will suddenly cause a shift here on planet Earth.  While the geological record does indicate that catastrophic astronomical events have changed the course of evolution on the planet in the distant past, they are few, and very far between.  There is no astronomical data that indicates any such energy wave is on the way from the mysterious Galactic Center. 

Hindu depictions of the Galactic Center as Vishnunabhi portray the god of preservation, Vishnu, sleeping on the great cosmic serpent, Shesha, whose coils comprise the ocean of the universe.  This immense serpent holds all the planets of the universe in its hood and eternally sings all the glories of Vishnu from its many mouths. In his wonderful book, The Power of Myths, Joseph Campbell writes:

Just think, Vishnu sleeps in the cosmic ocean, and the lotus of the universe grows from his navel.  On the lotus sits Brahma, the creator.  Brahma opens his eyes, and a world comes into being, governed by Indra.  Brahma closes his eyes, and a world goes out of being.  The life of a Brahma is 432,000 years.  When he dies, the lotus goes back, and another lotus is formed, and another Brahma.  Then think of the galaxies beyond galaxies in the infinite space, each a lotus, with a Brahma sitting on it, opening his eyes, closing his eyes.

Vishnu dreaming the universe into creation, on top of the cosmic serpent, Sesha, with Brahma floating above in the lotus
This view of the galaxy as having cycles, like the opening and closing of eyes, is key to understanding the Hindu concept of yugas, or world ages, and how they relate to consciousness.  It is believed that a central Sun at the Galactic Center emits waves of energy that direct the evolution of consciousness here on Earth, and throughout the entire galaxy.  In his book The Astrology of the Seers, David Frawley writes:

From the galactic Sun emanates the light which determines life and intelligence on Earth and which directs the play of seven rays of creation and the distribution of karma.

The location of our local Sun along its sidereal and galactic orbits determines how well this cosmically divine light is received.   Frawley continues:

When the Sun is on the side of its orbit wherein its dark companion (binary star) comes between it and the galactic center, the reception of that cosmic light appears to be greatly reduced.  At such times there is a dark or materialistic age on Earth.  When the Sun is on the opposite side of its orbit and has an open reception to the light of the galactic Sun, then there is a spiritual or Golden Age on Earth.  Humanity then acts in harmony with cosmic intelligence and with the Gods or Divine powers that are its functionaries and emissaries.  The Sun's dark companion thus appears to possess a negative magnetic field which obstructs the cosmic light of the galactic center from reaching us on Earth.  Thereby it creates certain cycles of advance and decline in human civilization.

What Frawley is describing is also called the Great Year, the trip of our Sun, possible around its binary companion star, through the zodiac, spending 2,000 years in each sign, and taking between 24,000-26,000 to make a complete orbit termed precession.


As this wonderful video describes, these cycles of light and dark periods on Earth are called yugas or world ages: Satya meaning "truth" or golden age, Treta meaning the "third" or silver age, Dwapara meaning the "second" or bronze age, and Kali meaning the "first" or iron age. While there are many variation on the lengths of time, the basic concept of waxing and waning consciousness is the same. The Manu Samhita fixes their duration at 4000, 3000, 2000, and 1000 years for a total of 12,000.  Generally speaking, two cycles of the four ages make up the 24,000+ year precession cycle, with a descending and an ascending group.

During the ascending half of the Great Year, the Sun moves towards the place in its orbit that is closest to the central Sun/GC; and during the descending half the Sun moves toward the point where it is farthest from the central Sun/GC.  Currently it may seems that we are deep in the Kali yuga, but the great yogi and teacher Sr. Yukteswar taught that we are at the beginning of the Dwapara.  Other researchers believe it is this alignment of the Winter Solstice Sun with the Galactic Center over the past decade that marks the shift of this world age from Kali yuga to Dwapara yuga -- or as some like Jay Weidner suggest marks the hyperspace shift of this age from Kali yuga to Satya yuga (click here and here for more).  Thus the Winter Solstice marks a moment in time when our Sun may be receiving information more clearly to bring the slow harmonization of humanity with the Divine as directed from the intelligence at the Galactic Center.   Many hope and believe the dark night of Kali Yuga, or glimmering Dwapara Yuga, consciousness is shifting towards a new era of light and ascending consciousness.  As we shall see, by examining the planetary line-up of the Winter Solstice, there are recurring themes linked to endings, Brahma, and Vishnu.

The Planetary Line-up of the Big Event of 2012

It is always provocative to examine the prashna charts for big astronomical events like the solstice and equinox points.  Although the rising sign will vary depending on location, the planets and luminaries will be in the same signs and nakshatras.  There has been a lot of hype about the Winter Solstice occurring at 11:11 GMT, but that will only happen in the time zone at 0 degrees longitude, such as London.  11:11 has been a number associated with synchronicity, gateways, and ascension, and it is believed that these master numbers trigger an unconscious knowledge of a coming shift of consciousness.  What is fascinating is the ascendant at this time and place is in the 11th sign of Aquarius.  At this location, the event is ruled by an exalted Saturn in the 9th house, perhaps indicating a shift in the laws of the land (in this case Britain). The 9th house is an auspicious dharma house that represents our highest principles as expressed in domains like law, religion and philosophy. Because of its connection with the father, it is also a house of sacrifice.  In a natal chart it signifies the father, his sacrifices for the family and spiritual life, and his influence over his children's spiritual practices, personal philosophy of life, perception of reality, and reaction to new ideas; but in an event chart it may signify the influence of the collective father over his country and world views or his own sacrifice to ensure his collective family survives.  As I mentioned in my posts on the 2012 London Olympics, Prince William is running Saturn's maha dasha, and now that his wife is expecting their first child and heir, we may witness some changes to the royal line up.

Here in Seattle, and on the West Coast, the Winter Solstice occurs in the wee hours of the morning at 3:11 am.  The rising sign on the horizon will be Libra; and there will be two maha purusha yogas: an exalted Saturn in the lagna creating sasha yoga, with an exalted Mars located in the 4th house sitting in ruchaka yoga.  Although most of us will sleep through this moment, it still may imprint the area with Saturn's vibration for slow, positive, and creative restructuring supported by the disciplined energy of a stabilized Mars in Saturn's sign.  The chart ruler, Venus, still in its morningstar position, will be in Scorpio, deposited by this exalted Mars, and traveling with Mercury and a near zero-degree Rahu.  As I mentioned in my last post, Rahu has been transiting the portal nakshatra of Vishakha for the past few weeks, opening the door for us to cross through the threshold of this new galactic season.

Perhaps the most influential planet will be the Moon, which will transit the last sign of the zodiac, Pisces, in the final nakshaktra, Revati, which is ruled by Vishnu -- an intriguing synchronicity with endings, the Vishnunabhi, and the completion of this round of the Mayan calendar. Under the light of these stars, the Moon and our collective consciousness are bathed in kshiradyapani shakti, the power of nourishment symbolized by milk.  As Prash Trivedi describes in his book The 27 Celestial Portals:

This imagery emphasizes the nourishing and sustaining aspect of Revati.  However, if one pays attention to the fact that Vishnu, the sustainer amongst the holy trinity, sits atop the celestial ocean known as kshirasagar, a whole new interpretation opens up.  Revati then relates to the shakti which sustains the celestial oceans in which all the fourteen lokas play the game of life.

The word Kshirasagar comes from the Sanskrit kshir meaning "milk" and sagar meaning "ocean" which is a metaphor for the Milky Way.  In Hindu mythology, the creation myth of the Kshirsaga manthan, the conflict between the devas and asuras, or spirit and material impulses, was resolved in their joint effort of churning the sea of milk, which released fourteen gifts, including the nectar of immortality, as well as the poison halahala which Shiva consumed, turning his neck blue.  This Revati Moon will literally center our collective minds on the Milky Way and remind us that the White Road, the Sak Bih as it is called by the Maya, is overflowing with cosmic nourishment that can feed and sustain all life in the galaxy.  Thus as the Moon passes through the starlight of Revati, it receives this nourishing shakti and transmits this cosmic milk to the Earth that has the potential to soothe our souls and reveal the gifts of the universe.

The Churning of the Ocean of Milk by
Pieter Weltevrede
In addition, this beautiful Moon is deposited by Jupiter in Taurus, in the nakshatra of Rohini, which contains the great red star Aldebaran, the eye of the cosmic bull.  This royal star is believed to be the abode of Brahma.  Might the great god of creation be opening, or closing this eye, winking at Chandra as he transits the final nakshatra on the last night of our solar year?  In my opinion, the eve of the Winter Solstice is a great night to sit in meditation and connect with the source of eternal light within our hearts.  And if we are lucky, we might tune in and hear the the gap between breaths of Shesha's eternal lullaby.

Happy New Year!  Namaste!