‘A Ritual of Transformation’

Preparing for last night’s solstice-eclipse, the Montreal Gazette went looking for the Pagan perspective.

There are two of them actually: The UPG, it’s-personal version …

“It’s a ritual of transformation from darkness into light,” says Nicole Cooper, a high priestess at Toronto’s Wiccan Church of Canada. “It’s the idea that when things seem really bleak, (it) is often our biggest opportunity for personal transformation.

“The idea that the sun and the moon are almost at their darkest at this point in time really only further goes to hammer that home.”

Cooper said Wiccans also see great significance in the unique coupling of the masculine energy of the sun and the feminine energy of the moon — transformative energies that she plans to incorporate into the church’s winter-solstice rituals.

Since the last time an eclipse and the winter solstice happened simultaneously was just under five centuries years ago, Cooper said she wasn’t familiar with any superstitions or mythologies associated with it.

… and the old-time communal Pagan version.

The winter solstice also played an important role in Greco-Roman rituals.

“It’s seen as a time of rebirth or renewal because, astrologically, it’s a time where the light comes back,” said Shane Hawkins, a professor of Greek and Roman studies at Carleton University in Ottawa.

For the ancient Romans, it was also a time of great feasting and debauchery.

“If (the eclipse) happened on the 21st, they might well have been drunk,” he said.

(Hat tip: Roberta X, who is most unimpressed.)

A reporter in Ohio left me an email about wanting to do a telephone interview, but she never called. Sigh. She must have found a more accessible expert.

2 Comments

  1. Peg says:

    Yeah, experts gotta be accessible or they’re not experts!

  2. Pitch313 says:

    I am enjoying that The Night of the Winter Solstice + Lunar Eclipse may have been the darkest night for centuries. Of course, I could venture out into that dark to regard the eclipse from my warm and well-lighted house. So I did not get an immersion into the darkest night and what it might have awakened in the ancestral memory!