The Winter Festival: A Mystery Thinly Veiled

“Festivals are not merely the commemoration of historical events or personalities. They are in and of themselves, each year, spiritual events carrying a significance that grows and deepens with the developing phases of human evolution.”

— Rudolf Steiner

rising-sun-background-nasaFor most of us, for much of the world, the heart of Winter Festival lies obscured behind the veil of outer celebration. Yet the veil is translucent. Through it, with a willful gaze, we may behold the mystery of the low-hanging Sun as it seems to stop, heralding the onset of the north wind and the clear, hard bite of winter. Through the veil we also may sense something else just beyond our grasp – something vast, poignant, resonant.

Annually at this festival point in December the celestial rhythm of Earth and Sun come momentarily to pause – an anomaly that moves us inescapably into the deep, the dark, the other. At this Winter point, consciously or unconsciously, we set an inner pattern to guide what we will weave in the outer world through another solar cycle. We dream the dreams that will flower in another season. How much more powerful if we know we are dreaming? How much more beguiling if we know nature is inviting us to peer through the veils?

– If we do not wakefully intend,
we are subconsciously compelled –

(The rest of this essay, which I wrote in 2002, can be found at this link.