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Pagans: Does this have any significance to you?

This year's winter solstice — an event that will occur next Tuesday — will coincide with a full lunar eclipse in a union that hasn't been seen in 456 years. File photo.

This year's winter solstice — an event that will occur next Tuesday — will coincide with a full lunar eclipse in a union that hasn't been seen in 456 years. File photo.

Photograph by: Bruce Edwards,The Journal, file, CanWest News Service

OTTAWA — This year's winter solstice — an event that will occur next Tuesday — will coincide with a full lunar eclipse in a union that hasn't been seen in 456 years.

The celestial eccentricity holds special significance for spiritualities that tap into the energy of the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year and a time that is associated with the rebirth of the sun.

"It's a ritual of transformation from darkness into light," says Nicole Cooper, a high priestess at Toronto's Wiccan Church of Canada. "It's the idea that when things seem really bleak, (it) is often our biggest opportunity for personal transformation.

"The idea that the sun and the moon are almost at their darkest at this point in time really only further goes to hammer that home."

Cooper said Wiccans also see great significance in the unique coupling of the masculine energy of the sun and the feminine energy of the moon — transformative energies that she plans to incorporate into the church's winter-solstice rituals.

Since the last time an eclipse and the winter solstice happened simultaneously was just under five centuries years ago, Cooper said she wasn't familiar with any superstitions or mythologies associated with it.

Instead, she said, they can only be interpreted personally.

"Wiccans don't think of things as being good or evil — they just are. Our experience of them makes them positive or negative for us."

The winter solstice also played an important role in Greco-Roman rituals.

"It's seen as a time of rebirth or renewal because, astrologically, it's a time where the light comes back," said Shane Hawkins, a professor of Greek and Roman studies at Carleton University in Ottawa.

For the ancient Romans, it was also a time of great feasting and debauchery.

"If (the eclipse) happened on the 21st, they might well have been drunk," he said.

A lunar eclipse taking place during the solstice is not an event Hawkins has seen in research, but he said it would have been viewed as something special.

"Eclipses could be taken either way," he said. "Certainly it would have been an omen, but it would have been up to the interpretation of specialists of whether it was good or bad."

And that interpretation would likely be based on whatever was happening at the time.

The last time the two celestial events happened at the same time was in AD 1554, according to NASA.

An otherwise seemingly unexceptionable year in recorded history, the darkened moon happened during a bleak year for Tudor England.

Lady Jane Grey was beheaded for treason that year, while Princess Elizabeth was imprisoned in the Tower of London. Mary of Guise — the mother of Mary, Queen of Scots — became regent of Scotland.

Scientifically, however, it's just a coincidence of natural cycles.

"It's quite rare, but there's no profound significance. It's luck of the draw; you got dealt four aces," said Robert Dick, an astronomy instructor at Carleton.

The eclipse will start just after midnight Eastern Time on Tuesday, with the main event starting at 1:30 a.m. ET and lasting until 5:30 a.m., when the moon reappears.

Answer Question

Asked by -Eilish- at 12:01 PM on Dec. 18, 2010 in Religion & Beliefs

Level 28 (33,578 Credits)
Answers (9)
  • I'm not Wiccan or Pagan, but this is interesting. I hope we get good weather, I'd like to see it.

    Answer by SuperChicken at 12:11 PM on Dec. 18, 2010

  • Some do. The "new" version of Yule is about the solstice. The traditional Yule begins with the first crescent moon and ends (depending on the country) a few days before the full moon or on the full moon. There are still others that attach special significance to the eclipses. To have the full moon, the solstice and the eclipse all at the same time makes that same day stand out for more individuals than it normally would, and having the events align like that is truly a once in a lifetime deal.

    Answer by NotPanicking at 12:18 PM on Dec. 18, 2010

  • I am not Pagan but this is really cool. I would love to see this but I will most likely be asleep.

    Answer by Snewo at 1:14 PM on Dec. 18, 2010

  • I am a Witch and a Wiccan. I believe that this Eclipse/Solstice will prove to be a day of great change for many. I can't say if it will be good or bad, I believe that it depends on what kind of energy you have been putting out leading up to that day. I am hoping with all of my heart that for my partner and me that this is a day where our financial outlook eases. He got called in to a second interview on Monday (the second round of interviews weren't supposed to start until after the new year so that was quite unexpected). The Solstice alone is very sacred to me. It is the shortest night of the year- things are guaranteed to get brighter after that one long dark night.

    Answer by meandrphoto at 2:28 PM on Dec. 18, 2010

  • Not a pagan, but I think it's really cool. I already love the winter solstice in the fact that with it the days begin to get longer. Add that to an eclipse and being with 3 of my favorite people (my kids) in the world and I see a great night.

    Answer by balagan_imma at 2:37 PM on Dec. 18, 2010

  • Wow ...I can not wait .and I have to agree with,' meandrphoto', it depends on your energies that you send out ,It will be an interesting day. I feel the excitment building, I hope it is clear so we can all see it .

    Answer by Stormy7 at 7:49 PM on Dec. 18, 2010

  • It means a lot to my family. We are very excited for it to come!

    Answer by NightPhoenix at 7:58 PM on Dec. 18, 2010

  • I am excited but may not get to do anything special.. as I am out of town right now..but I am excited.. anything cool that happens in the natural world makes me giddy.

    Answer by MamaJasmine at 11:35 AM on Dec. 19, 2010

  • AND I'm due to start my period that day!!!

    Answer by MamaK88 at 12:58 PM on Dec. 19, 2010

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