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Importance of the "Winter" Solstice in Afrikan Culture

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The solstice, or ndìde dúró oòrùn (standing still of the sun in Èdè Yorùbá), reminds us of the importance of the fire of life and the maintenance thereof. It is the replenishment of our àşe – náà iná fún ayé (the fire of life). There are various rituals that we can and should during this important period. No, this is NOT a european thing. Afrikans were the first to mark this period. The fact of the matter is that this tradition is not automatically associated with cold weather. This time is associated with the important cosmological effects on the earth and the person and not necessarily winter itself. As its name means, it refers to the fact that the sun is "standing still". It is a reminder by MáwùLisa of the importance of reinvigorating our àşe. It is that àşe that vitalizes our kpólí (Fôn), or inner spiritual self. The importance of this is further driven home when we realize that an invigorated àşe means a light, clear and aware kpôli. It is important that we engage in ritualistic activity to invigorate the kpôli, because it is the very storehouse of our hɛndowa (accent under the "o"), or destiny. 

In my experience, a light kpólí, or orí, provides one with the means to use their àşe in a way that things become àşegbé – an act that is sealed forever. Only healthy individuals, families, and communities can carry this out in its most effective form. Therefore, the health of the kpólí must be a primal focus. The depressive psychological effects of winter on individuals and societies are experienced as coldness, tiredness, malaise, laziness, and inactivity. People often sleep longer and have thrown off rhythms. These rhythms must be restored to normalcy and the acknowledgement of this period and its spiritual significance is a good way towards balance.

In Afrikan traditions, we recognize that various spiritual entities govern these times. We also know that, at the peak of the solstice, certain stars are in alignment during this time. One takes advantage of this earth alignment in order to develop the same spiritual alignment within. This is a time of reflection also. Resurrect the àşe within self as the sun rises during this time.

During the solstice "period", spirit descends into matter and matter rises to meet spirit. This is a good time to put extra emphasis on cleansing the spirit and setting "fire" to the soul. Praise Sakpátá (deity that deals with diseases and the earth) during this time. Sweep out your houses, especially your sacred spaces thoroughly. Ritualize your areas. Honor the resurrection of the sun within self.

On another note, this is a good time for practitioners of Afrikan traditions to reacquaint themselves with their taboos. This is a time that strong spirits of justice like Sakpátá come and check those that are violating themselves and the earth. Before that happens, let's put ourselves in check.

Though we all know the solstice itself to be an event that occurs at a certain time on a certain day (Monday, December 2, 2009 at 12:47 pm EST) you will notice we are referencing a period. The reason we say this is because during the time between the beginning of the solstice and December 25 there is a great phenomenon going on. So it is the solstice which ushers in a period that culminates on December 25th. There is an energy ushered in whereas the sun stops moving south for 3 days. It is what the christians lied to the world as the death and resurrection in three days of the false god jesus. During this time the sun resides in the Crux Constellation called commonly by the nomenclature "Southern Cross".

On December 25, these stars all line up and point to the Sun. The three stars of Orion's belt point at a certain distance behind Sirius, the brightest star. All four point at the Sun. This should be a time of realignment and recommitment for us as we are affected by certain things here in the northern hemisphere.

On another note, this is not the ushering in the of the New Year. Afrikan New Years do not start in January. Once again we are dealing with the energy of the cosmos and the deities and not european holidays and messed up notions of time. Also, we do not have to copy Wiccan and other new age forms of the acknowledgement of this period - Afrikanized new age techniques we have often seen some "Afrikan" organizations doing. Use your living culture in this and consult the oracles.