Photo courtesy of http://new-worlds.org/blog/?p=13344
Most people think that the winter solstice is day with the latest sunrise and earliest sunset but actually, it is the day of the year that has the least daylight hours of any in the year. In Australia, the shortest day usually occurs on 21 June but can occur between 20 and 22 June.
In the northern hemisphere, the winter solstice was often used as a marker of time and a guide to farming. It is the time when the wine and beer, made during the year, is ready for drink and the excess livestock is slaughtered so they did not eat into scarce winter supplies. This yearly celebration during the pagan times is the basis of our Christmas traditions. It is the last party, if you will, before the tough months of cold and ice and famine.
Today, the winter solstice is still held in regard by gardeners and spiritually-minded folk. It is the best time to plant garlic, my gardener friends tell me. Astrologically speaking, it is a time of transition and rebirth, when the sun reverses its pattern and starts to shine for more hours in the day. The solstice has always strong associations with creativity and new beginnings, as well as being grateful for the coming of the light. So take some space and time this winter solstice to nurture a new project, someone or even yourself!