The winter solstice is always an important event in the Vedic calendar. It marked the beginning of the New Year and new cycle of rituals in the ancient Vedic system of fire worship. Astronomically, it marks the time at which the solar energy reaches its lowest ebb in the northern hemisphere, where the great majority of land on the planet is located. At that point of reduced energy of renewal comes forth for another year and its seasonal cycle. This means it is a time that one can touch the energy of transformation.
The current winter solstice is especially important as it is occurring in conjunction with the galactic center, an event that occurs every twenty-four thousand years. It occurs in the Mula Nakshatra which relates to Adya Kali and is ruled by the graha or planet Ketu. Both Kali and Ketu are the inner gurus drawing our attention to a deeper awareness and transformation.
This winter solstice corresponds to the end of the five thousand year Mayan calendar as well, about which there is much speculation. We do not follow the doomsday predictions of some people about this event. It marks the end of one long era and the beginning of another. It is also not an affair of one day but of our entire generation and crosses over several decades.
The galactic center covers an extensive area of nearly one degree of the sky and its exact central point is not precisely known. It has already been with us for some time and will continue for a number of years to come. Dr. Frawley discussed this conjunction with the galactic center many years ago in his book Astrology of the Seers (1990).
The galactic center is connected to the central spiritual Sun of the galaxy, and the spiritual influences that it brings us, as well as the higher energies of life and intelligence.
The galactic center also reflects the energy of the Divine Mother and the primal Goddess force the Shakti that creates the universe, particularly in the form of Adya Kali or the primal form of the Great Goddess of Time and Eternity. The Winter Solstice also relates to the Divine Mother as it is womb of the year and longest Night on which the Divine Fire Child is born which is the re-birth of the Sun.
The galactic center is an important point of karmic rectification in Vedic astrology, reflecting the influence of time, karma and Kali. The next few decades are bound to cause an increasing karmic reorientation in humanity, with more difficult economic, ecological and political problems, on one hand, and a search for a deeper spirituality and planetary responsibility, on the other. We have called this ‘A New Time of Troubles’, not a quick dramatic end of the world.
Yet these difficulties of the twenty-first century will not likely be worse than what we experienced in the last twentieth century with its great world wars in Europe and Asia. This does not mean that great traumas may not occur in certain parts of the world, or that it will be an easy time anywhere. Yet we should develop a positive energy to overcome these difficulties and not just look for some magical escape out of them. Deepening our lives spiritually and acknowledging our Dharma is the key to peace, happiness and global well-being.
Groups of humanity can experience a growing awareness and greater connection to the universe as a whole, and major world wars will not be likely. Slowly a greater humanism and tolerance will develop in the world. This requires sadhana or spiritual practice of an intense and sustained nature, not merely wishful thinking.
There are many things we can do on the winter solstice to harmonize our lives:
- Make a sankalpa to create a deeper awareness and clarity of our Dharma in life and to bring the Divine Light into the world.
- Create some quiet and meditative time in silence to realize that the soul journey is intrinsically a personal journey.
-Chanting sacred mantras and make offerings to the Sun and the solar Godhead, along with offering some sweetened water.
- Lighting 21 ghee lamps at sunset.
- Making sacred offerings into the fire.
Mantra for the Sun – Om Sum Suryaya Namah
Hamsa Mantra to the Supreme Light – OM Hrim Hamsa Soham Svaha
Adya Kali Mantra – Om Hrim Shrim Krim Parameshwari Kalike Hrim Shrim Krim Swaha
Shiva Yogeshvara – Om Haum Joom Saha Shiva Yogeshvaraya Namah