Stonehenge, Salisbury - 2019 Winter Solstice celebration before sunrise. Photo by Dyana Wing So on Unsplash

December 2020 Solstice Celebrations

The Solstice is a time when the sun appears to pause in its southward journey, before turning again to move northward. Novasutras will celebrate by holding an online guided meditation focusing on global well-being and loving-kindness. In the depths of difficult times, celebration and spiritual connection are more important than ever. We hope you’ll join our Octal Celebration, and include our online gatherings as part of your own celebration of this seasonal transition.

Octal Celebration, Meditation, and Community Gathering

Whole Earth image and Novasutras logo

Sunday, December 20th, 1:30pm PST / 19:30 UTC*
(90-120 min, Presenter: Michelle)

Join us for an ecospiritual celebration of the Solstice, with a guided meditation, celebratory ritual, and conversation. Our guided meditation for the Solstice will focus on ubuntu, featuring wishes for global wellness, joy and loving-kindness for all beings. After the meditation, there will other rituals and an opportunity for conversation. You may want to have a candle, and a small item that represents something important for you about the six months between the last Solstice and this one.

Any donation welcome! Can’t donate anything right now? Register here.

*The precise moment of this Solstice is December 21st at 10:02 UTC / 2:02am Pacific – we are celebrating it 12 hours early.

Can’t make our Zoom Solstice celebration? Or want even more? Get the Insight Timer app on your phone or tablet, and see/hear Michelle on Insight Timer Live. Solstice Meditation for Planetary Well-Being starts on Monday, December 21st 09:00 am PST / 1700 UTC.

About this Solstice

The exact time the sun will end its southbound journey and begin its journey northward is Monday, December 21st at 10:02 UTC (that’s 2:02am Pacific Standard Time – check your local time and date). Our main online celebration is 12 hours before the moment of the Solstice.

Sun over southern Africa, December 2020 Solstice
UTC time = Monday, December 20, 2020 at 10:02
sun is directly overhead at Latitude: 23° 26′ South, Longitude: 29° 04′ East

The December Solstice is when the sun is directly overhead at the Tropic of Capricorn. This year, that subsolar point will be over southern Africa, making this an especially appropriate time to celebrate UBUNTU – a word and a concept that originated there.

“It speaks of the very essence of being human. When we want to give high praise to someone we say, Yu, u nobuntu; hey, so-and-so has Ubuntu. Then you are generous, you are hospitable, and you are friendly and caring and compassionate.  You share what you have.
It is to say, my humanity is caught up, is inextricably bound up, in yours. We belong in a bundle of life. We say a person is a person through other persons. It is not I think therefore I am. It says rather: I am human because I belong, I participate, and I share. 
A person with ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed.”

Archbishop Desmond Tutu – No Future Without Forgiveness
Table Mountain (Nature Reserve), Cape Town, South Africa -Photo by Thomas Bennie on Unsplash
Table Mountain (Nature Reserve), Cape Town, South Africa – Photo by Thomas Bennie on Unsplash

Jupiter & Saturn Conjunction: a Solstice Star of Ubuntu

In another powerful symbol of unity this Solstice, the planets Jupiter and Saturn will appear so close together that they may seem to be a single bright star in the western sky after sunset on the Solstice, as seen by people everywhere on our beautiful home planet Earth. This “Great Conjunction” is the first time that these planets have appeared to us to be so close together in eight centuries.

Video: Jupiter and Saturn converging in the night sky, shown in weekly intervals. This simulation is for New York, USA, but the great conjunction on December 21 can be seen all over the world.

Celebrating Seasonal Transition

The December Solstice is when nights are longest and the sun is lowest in the Norther Hemisphere, and when days are longest and the sun is highest in the Southern Hemisphere. This shifting, and our experiences of seasonal change on Earth, are related to the tilt of Earth’s rotational axis. The December Solstice marks the beginning of summer south of the tropics, and the beginning of winter north of the tropics.

Earth at the start of the 4 astronomical seasons. By Tau?olunga [CC0]

The Solstices are the extremes of the year, and are key times for celebrations in almost all cultures and traditions. Around the times of the Solstices, the sun appears to stop changing the path of the arc it follows across the sky. People see the sun rising and setting at nearly the same place on their horizon in the days just before and after the actual moment of the Solstice. So your Novasutras Solstice celebrations can appropriately extend through these days before and after the precise moment of the Solstice.

For celebrations of the Solstices, important themes are:

  • Celebrating the Sun
  • Pausing for Reflection
  • Contrasts (day/night, light/dark)
  • Global Unity

In the Southern Hemisphere, Abundance and Vigor are also key themes to incorporate in your celebrations this December. For your winter Solstice, Endings and New Beginnings, and Endurance are appropriate themes in the Northern Hemisphere.

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