The Winter Solstice feels more like the true turning of the year than December 31 ever did. With the longest night, the year dies, folding in on itself in cold quiet. Along with frogs and bears and maple trees, time slows and chills to a virtual stop. The next day, the long, deliberate expansion back to light and activity begins.
All that and it’s my birthday, marking the literal end of another year of my existence and the start of a new one.
So it’s natural to light candles in the dark and listen to haunting, sacred chants designed for echoing stone cathedrals. And to ponder years past and the year to come.
And to look at Rob Breszny’s Free Will Astrology horoscopes (the best around, check out freewillastrology.com). As a solstice baby, I am on the cusp of two very different astrological signs, explaining much of my diffuse personality. So I look at arty, fiery Sagittarius and steady, earthy Capricorn. Here’s what Rob says for me, in highlights from the two signs combined:
In 2017, you will be at the peak of your ability to forge new alliances
and deepen existing alliances. You’ll have a sixth sense for cultivating
professional connections that can serve your noble ambitions for
years to come. I encourage you to be alert for new possibilities that
might be both useful for your career and invigorating for your social life.
I see the coming months as a time when your best talents will be seen
and appreciated better than ever before.
This is lovely. This is just what I needed. In 2016, in my 53rd year, we wrenched ourselves away from our beloved home specifically to improve our professional and social prospects. It proved infinitely harder than I expected
, leaving me adrift and lost. Come on, I have complained to the night, don’t let this all be for nothing. If I were to make birthday and solstice wishes for my 54th year, they would center on fulfilling those things that drove us to such painful upheaval. Preferably in ways that I could carry back to my beloved home in the woods in yet another turning of the year.
Rob tells me I will be doing just that. He says I’ll cultivate connections that will be useful and invigorating for my professional and social lives into the future. Who am I to argue with the man?
This is great because 2016 pretty much sucked all the way around. I got laid off. We faced financial stresses. My horse started flipping me off
. David Bowie died, and Alan Rickman and Morley Safer and Florence Henderson and John Glenn. We left our hearts’ home. I lost my beloved cat
. And, for god’s sake, the presidential election.
So this new year has to be better. Starting into 54 has to be better than reaching 53 has been. Not only because we need some uplift, but because sense must be wrested from confusion. The balance must be righted. Max may yet come back to us. The corner Bridger and I have turned
can lead us down broad avenues. I will apparently cultivate professional and social connections that will serve my ambitions — which are to go back to the woods and ply my talents, whatever they may be. I don’t know what to say about national politics, I choose not to think about that right now.
Not on this solstice night. The candlelight presses back the darkness as it has for centuries upon centuries. The white lights on the tree defy any tendency of the dark to become oppressive. Like countless pre-industrial, pre-enlightenment people before us, we find ways to make light in the long night. And wreath it around with music. And find it beautiful.