My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Monday, December 20, 2010

Winter Solstice: Eclipse & Meditations

This year's Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere, which coincides with a full moon, will occur tomorrow (Dec 21) at 11:38 UTC (Coordinated Universal Time), which is 4:38 pm my time. But I'm posting this a day early because this year the Solstice also coincides with a total lunar eclipse that begins tonight in some places (11:33 pm here in Mountain Standard time). The entire eclipse, with a totality phase lasting 72 minutes, will be visible in North America, western South America and the northern Scandanavian countries, and during its early or later stages in several other parts of the world. So here's hoping for clear skies for a good viewing of the coppery Solstice full moon in its eclipse! (But if it's cloudy where you or you'd just rather watch it from the comfort of your computer, you're in luck. NASA will have a live video feed of the eclipse starting at about 6 pm EST).

In case you missed it (and even if you didn't!): here's a gallery of terrific photos of the eclipse taken from various places around the world.

BW made it till midnight and I stayed up till 1am to watch it through the skylight in our sunroom, and went to bed while the moon was still fully in the earth's shadow. There's a photo in the above collection, taken in the Bronx, of an icebow surrounding the moon and we saw one here, too. The interior of the ring here was crystal clear, the ring itself was really huge and just beautiful, and made it look like the eclipse was mounted inside a giant round frame for our viewing pleasure. :-)

As any of you who read my Winter Solstice post from last year know, I love both winter and its solstice, always accepting with gratitude their invitation to enjoy some serene stillness, quiet reflection, deep peace and sacred solitude. Since those can be hard to come by on any regular day, but especially during these last mad-dash days before Christmas, I've gathered a few beautiful Winter Solstice meditation videos, with lovely music and images, to help. I hope you will grant yourself a few moments of tranquility any time you're in need of it, but particularly at Solstice.

By the way, the photo in my new header is of a Winter Solstice sunrise taken a few years ago off our deck.


  1. Your new header picture is amazing! The skies are mighty cloudy here because another storm in brewin', so no watching the skies for us. Although, even if we could, we'd have to be sleeping while it happens unless if we want to be mighty tired at work tomorrow. I'll have to give those meditation videos a shot. Maybe they'll help me like winter more!

  2. Thanks! I've always loved that photo.

    Our clouds cleared, so although the eclipse is still a few hours away, I'm getting a wonderful eyeful of the big, gorgeous full moon!

    Yeah, the eclipse isn't happening at the most convenient hour. I take it, "We stayed up to watch the Solstice total lunar eclipse" wouldn't be a valid excuse for coming to work late and nodding off at your desk, huh? ;-)

    I doubt any of the videos will help you like winter more, but some of them do have some beautiful scenery and images and sweet critters, and the first one even has a few pretty springtime shots near the end that you'll like! :-) Besides, disliking winter should inspire you to celebrate Winter Solstice with hedonistic vigor! It is, after all, the day when the earth turns her face toward the sun, and we begin the journey back to longer, warmer days! :-)

  3. What a great set of songs!

    I was so hoping to get a view of the eclipse - but we are being buried in snow - with almost no chance of a clear sky for a couple of days.

  4. Your videos were soothing to the soul. Great choices for the solstice. Your new header is terrific -- enjoy the mysteries of the cosmos as you contemplate the lunar event. -- barbara

  5. Jamie ~ Isn't the music on all of them hauntingly beautiful?

    That's a shame about all your cloud cover. I read that most of the US is overcast tonight. Even NASA's observatory is having trouble with clouds, so their video feed only shows the moon from time to time. I'm going to try to stay up and see some of it, for now anyway our skies are clear and the moon is big and bright!

    Barbara ~ I was hoping you'd enjoy them since I know you feel much the same way I do about the Solstice. :-) And thank you, I'm really glad you like my new header!

    I do enjoy gazing at (and contemplating the mysteries of) the cosmos, and I have a special fondness for la bella luna. So I'm enjoying tonight's celestial show for sure. :-) Happy Solstice!

  6. You're just way too wonderful. xoxoxo

  7. I missed the eclipse (too cloudy) could you see it!?

  8. Happy Solstice Laurie!

    Thanks for all the links to the eclipse wonderful you were able to see and enjoy it. The ice rings sound so beautiful. And I enjoyed looking at the photos you linked to after wards so I could see a little bit of what it was all like.

    I checked the skies around 9:30 last night and the moon was in a clearing, then when I checked again, the sky had completely clouded over...I went to be around 11,so I didn't see any of it.

    Also, I love your new header. You captured it so beautifully. The text color and positioning goes perfectly.

    I love the first video/meditation because it reminds that winter is a restorative time...not a dead time…and it’s a perfect time for us to restore our bodies and minds too, I think. The Holy Solstice one is really nice too, I love the images and the history/context of it all; our relationship with nature and how we express it is a continuum…

    Of course I love the In the Bleak Midwinter video...I think I've probably mentioned a thousand times by now how much I love that song.

    There's another really nice version of it by John Patitucci, do you know it? I highly recommend.

    The short at the end is charming too. I love the leaf motif, the images, and visual effects…though the snow boarders seemed slightly out of place…maybe that’s just me. :D

    All in all, I’m in the mood for snow now.

    I really enjoyed all the videos, beautiful music, beautiful scenes… I spent a very enjoyable little coffee break at my desk with them this morning. Thanks for that. I'll probably watch one or two of them again over the next weeks.

  9. Izzy ~ Well, I don't know what I might have done to inspire that sweet remark, but I thank you for it! :-) xoxoxo

    Love the Santa hat, btw! You and Tess should go on a modeling shoot together. ;-)

    Jill ~ Seems nearly everyone suffered from cloudy skies last night. We were in the clear though, and yes I saw it from the beginning till the moon was completely in shadow, then I went to bed. I didn't have it in me to stay up and watch it "un-eclipse!" :-) I added a little update on this post early this morning describing my eclipse-watching experience...

    Rose ~ Happy Solstice to you, too! :-)

    That's too bad you got that teaser clearing, only to have it cloud back over. But at least there were those great photos for you to see. Wow, wish I could take photos like that.

    Thank you for your compliments on my new header! I had fun making it, and really like it. I'll have to change my headers out from time to time. I sure like your new one! Very creative and colorful (and appetizing, lol)

    I enjoyed reading your comments about each of the videos. I was thinking similar thoughts on my hike today, about winter being a time of rest and dormancy, not death, and how everyone benefits from a nap - even the plants and the earth. :-) And I agree that the snowboarders don't really fit. That last one is my least favorite of the videos, but I absolutely love that piece of music!

    I enjoyed the text on the Holy Solstice one too. I thought it was nice that they provided some interesting history and thoughtful context about Winter Solstice.

    And no, you've only mentioned how much you love "In the Bleak Midwinter" twice. :-) I've not heard the version by John P. (I'm tired so I'm abbreviating in a big way, lol), I'll have to check iTunes for it. I have Loreena McKennitt's recording of it on one of her CDs (she sings it, it's not an instrumental like on that video - I'm not entirely sure why that video credited her, actually!)

    Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed them and that they provided a relaxing interlude during your work day! :-)

  10. I'm a bit late for this one so I appreciated the link to the photos of the eclipse which were totally cool. I'm glad you stayed up for it yourself. I liked the first photo with the moon in different parts of the eclipse and the photo in the Bronx was really awesome.
    I'll have to wait until I'm home to enjoy the meditations. Sounds from the comments that they will be worth the wait.

  11. Jo ~ Late or not, I'm glad you were able to enjoy the spectacular eclipse photos and I think you'll enjoy the videos/music as well. They're appropriate all winter (and perhaps even to help cool off a hot summer's day!) :-)

  12. I just had a wonderful lunch while watching the winter solstice videos. My two favorites were Loreen McKennitt and Silent Night Solstice Night. Loreen's song was so pretty and defitely my favorite music. The images were gorgeous too although the images in the first video with the critters and cemetaries (thus a perfect one for you) were wonderful as well. I also really enjoyed Silent Night Solstice night alot - I thought it sounded alot like Enya. I really like lyrics in my music - if they are pretty and those were. But I never did quite figure out what language they were in so it was nice to have the words scrolling. The last two were pretty too thought the music on the last one was my least favorite.

    Those were really fun and I'm so glad I came back to enjoy them. And now I've got Santa's workshop to look forward to, tonight or tomorrow!!

    Thanks for another pretty post. It's all white and snowy outside so though late, it was a good day to view them.

  13. Jo ~ What a nice lunch accompaniment, especially on a snowy day!

    That is Enya singing on the Silent Night/Solstice Night video. The first song is Silent Night, of course, or "Oíche Chuín" in Gaelic, which is the language in which she's singing. The song is from her album, Christmas Ep. The other song she sings on that video is Journey of the Angels, from her CD And Winter Came.


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
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There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
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