The winter solstice on December 21 was the turning point in the annual Sun cycle. It was the darkest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, as the Sun reached the furthest point in his southerly course as seen from Earth. From now forward we experience the return of the light, as the Sun begins his northerly course and daylight hours get a bit longer each day. The winter solstice and the days around it bring a still point before the new beginning of the annual solar cycle. This is similar to the still point that we experience each month before the New Moon begins the lunar cycle, bringing with it renewal and a fresh energy for that cycle related to the position of the planets at that time.
The December solstice passes while the Sun is aligned with Sagittarius constellation and the core of the Milky Way galaxy, in the Vedic constellation or nakshatra called Mula (or Moola). Sun is also in Mula on this coming Full Moon (December 25). Mula literally means "the root" (muladhara = root support) and represents the energy of roots—origins, deep meaning, and life rising out of the darkness. The deity for Mula is Nirriti, a dark goddess who relates to death and destruction.
This symbolism reminds us of the great opportunity for spiritual growth associated with this part of the sky and this time of year. It is when we let go of the material that we can begin to pursue deeper spiritual meaning (and then light can dawn). With the physical death that occurs in nature at the end of the solar cycle, we are offered a moment for stillness and contemplation. As daylight begins to return, we can recognize that the physical death of winter is actually just a period of transformation—that life continues and grows again each year with the coming of the new cycle.
The Full Moon occurs in Ardra nakshatra (within the constellation of Orion, near Gemini) on December 25th at 3:12am PST. The brightest moonlight of the cycle is on the night of December 24th! Ardra is often translated as "moist," "fresh," or "green," and represents the energies both of destruction and renewal. Its deity is Rudra, a destructive and stormy form of Shiva. The symbolism of the storm also illustrates both the purifying and nourishing power of rains, which wash away impurities and feed the seeds and soil to allow new life to sprout.
The alignment of the Full Moon in Ardra and the Sun in Mula offers great opportunity for transformation, rebirth and renewal. It is not surprising that this occurs around the time of the solstice, and the holiday of Christmas. The prevalent energy of Ardra, however, is its intensity, which may be a quality we feel during the transformation and rebirthing happening at this time. Whatever storms have been brewing in your life or nature, you may feel a peak in the upheaval around this Full Moon.
Allow the winter storms to aid in your own personal renewal and refreshment. This is a good time to witness and accept the death of stagnant and collapsing energies from the last year and last season. Let loose on the reins and let all your endeavors rest for a moment while you enter the void before new beginnings. You can align yourself with the pure and mysterious energy of this space through practicing meditation. What is washed away in the storm will be composted and recycled, later to become the fuel for your new endeavors in the coming year. Allow yourself to pause and sit with the stillness, and discover its deeper meaning as you connect with the root of your own heart. This quiet moment of listening will help your desires and purpose to become clear, so that you can enter the New Year in more alignment with your goals and dharma.