Next Winter Solstice meet 2017 - more details early December 2017

The Christmas Angel at the Well 2010

18 December 2016 - Fourknocks - You Light up my Life

Thanks to Susan, John, Susan, Pat, Marta, Martin and Nora for their pictures and words,

Winter Greetings!  Nollaig shona do gach duine!

Before we head in through the passage way to the cocoon that is Fourknocks, we will leave behind our cares, we'll be cleansed with air, fire water and earth, we will go inside, to our own space but sharing with everyone present, seen and unseen.

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We will open the circle, in the middle will be greenery - symbolising the life in all things no matter what stage they are at. The centre will also contain light, and coloured balls (and chocolate ones too) to symbolise the return of that light. It is a time for nesting but also nurturing our seeds that we planted back at Samhain, (and the goddess Bridget will help birth those into this world at Imbolg).

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We will talk about the solstice, what it symbolises, then sit on our cushions ( please bring a cushion and a plastic bag to put it in) and have a short meditation, then we'll all help write a poem for the solstice by contributing words. We will share the poems and the golden balls of light from the circle, reminding ourselves that the light is there, we are all connected and while we have had our quiet time, it is also time for sharing and enjoying life, no matter what time of year or how hectic things seem at the moment.

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Host comments:


We mentioned that we had our celebration on Sunday 18th, and in Ancient Rome Saturnalia started on 17th up to 23rd December, with fun and frolics and exchanging presents, and they also celebrated the renewal of light at the Solstice, birth of the unconquerable sun (Dies Natalis Solis Invicti).


We also remembered the traditional gods and goddesses:


Santa Claus who shares characteristics with -

the Holly King, Celtic God of the dying year,

Father Ice, a Russian winter God,

Odin, Scandinavian all father who rides on an 8 legged horse,

Great Mother, who gave birth to the sun child,

Ops who is the Roman goddess of plenty, wife of Saturn,

Holda, the earth goddess of good fortune.


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Every time we look at the mini representation of the sun, we are reminded that the light is always there.

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It's dark but there is always light somewhere.

s . o . l . s . t . i . c . e

poems inspired by the word

Summers heat has disappeared - like the vapour
Of my frozen breath -
Lingering for far too short a time.

So, cold and darkness become the norm, until the earth
Turns back toward the sun
In late December,
Causing us to celebrate the triumph of light as the rule of darkness

Soul - destroying darkness,
Omnipresent cold,
Linger depressingly -
Spring is on hold.
Then, Natures magic,
In one special day,
Changes our earth-course -
Enlightening our way.



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Sharing...Over...Light rays...
Everywhere I look


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Next evening at Monday Meditation & Healing Circle darkness turned to light.

They exchanged gifts and had a lovely chat with good food and delicious tea.

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Below: Dagda Mór , a face on a carving by Michael Quirke, Sligo. He depicts the good god of abundance giving his all around Solstice. The Holly leaf over the mouth is a warning against excess consumption at this time. The Solstice fire behind him reflects his warmth at this time of year. He lights us up. There are 3 other faces on this carving , each one representing a face of  the seasons. .....Happy Solstice and every blessing of the re-turning light......Martin in Galway



The Path of the sun on 18 December 2016 as seen at 12 noon, centred on Fourknocks

click here  to link to the plan below

solar path 18 December - 12noon

Beautiful traditional Advent Candles

Nativity of Our Lady Roman Catholic Church, The Naul, Fingal

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22 December BBC Radio 4 - Open Country - Winter Solstice at Newgrange

Now available on BBC iplayer  – this is a wonderful programme with some thought provoking ideas.

As Bernadette says all you need is a flask and warm clothes and to go out to enjoy the event...

...It is about meeting up with people who you can get on with, and who you can share with, and you feel comfortable with,

and they don't have to bring anything or be a certain person.



and in Switzerland... 



Dana cooked vánočky -

sweet yeast-dough plaits (with almonds and raisins), an old family recipe from Eastern Europe.


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Marta says:
At night on the apartment balcony, freezing cold, mum had decorated the table and we spent a while there, contemplating, talking, reading Solstice related texts.
Later the candles on the altars indoors were re-lit. Several candles... and left to burn down.
In the end, while all candles had been the same size, one rosey candle dedicated to love was still burning strong - a nice one to do that.
Love over all!   A good reminder.


20 December 2015 - Newgrange - Without Darkness there can be no Light

newgrange tri spiral 2The theme of the day is;        "Without the darkness there can be no light"

and we will celebrate the darkness of the shortest day of the year while looking forward to the increased daylight ahead.

As we are in Newgrange, the famous tri-circle symbol will feature - representing the intertwined cycle of Life, Death and Rebirth as a  tridem of life.

We will meet in the car park of the Newgrange Visitor Centre at 7.30 am and get a shuttle bus to the site. (Sunrise is at 8.37am).

We will first walk around the mound in an anti clockwise direction (Widdershins = banishing\reducing) calling in the directions \ elements as we go.

Spirals - some of them are drawn clockwise... while the others are anti clockwise... a synchronicity with the walk around the mound.

This will open the circle with the chamber at its centre.

The fact that the chamber at Newgrange will be the central focus of our circle is very powerful and very exciting.

The intention is that the renewed positive energy we create can be distributed to the world through Mother Earth for the highest good of each individual and for all.

While calling in the 4 directions\elements we will also call in the 4 parts of each individual:


East - Air - Mind,   North - Earth - Physical body,   West - Water - Emotions,   South - Fire - Spirit



When the circle is complete - coinciding with Sunrise - we will pass through a "doorway" symbolising going from the darkness into the light.


A horned God - possibly Cerunnos - has come up in connection with this and his association with the sun and birth\death\rebirth.


Water is also coming in. In winter it appears in its 3 states: gas (clouds), liquid (rain), solid (ice) and this will be reflected on.


As well as paying attention the implications of the darkness on nature and the outer world, there will be a period of inner reflection - a time to "sow the seeds" of ideas and plans for the future.


An "open heart " session where anyone present is welcome to contribute to the celebration. This could be in the form of a poem, reading, meditation, song or whatever feels right for the occasion.


After open heart \ meditation \ reflection, we will walk clockwise around Newgrange (Deosil = attracting\gaining).


We will thank the directions\elements and attract positive energy both to Newgrange and each individual present\tuning in.  We will then close the circle.


As usual there will be food and drink afterwards so bring along something to share. (This is dependent on the weather - if it's too bad we can always adjourn to the cafe in the visitor centre).

Thanks to Pat and Susan for the photos of the day

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There was a cold wind blowing but it was dry when we met under the starlit sky at Newgrange for our Winter Solstice Celebration. Although only five in number, we were aware that folk were tuning in spiritually from far and wide.


Starting before sunrise we walked around the monument, calling in the directions and opening our circle before walking through a symbolic "doorway" - made of 2 branches from the site - into the light at sunrise.


We then had an "open heart" session comprised of the thoughts, poems and insights of those present. This was followed by a period of reflection around "where I am now, and where I want to be in the future".


The circle was then closed and a very powerful energy was felt when the final sentences were spoken in Irish, the native language of Ireland, as a tribute to our ancestors who celebrated the Winter Solstice thousands of years before us. They left us a message back then, a message which was received loud and clear all these millennia later as the Light of the Rising Sun illuminated the chamber at Newgrange:


"Do not despair in the dark, for without the dark, there can be no light. For as sure as night follows day, as sure as the river flows to the sea, as sure as the cycle of birth, death and rebirth continues, the darkness will be banished by the Light."


May the renewed energy of Newgrange go where it is needed and may the Light brighten all your lives in the future.


Pat Farrell

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Thanks to Nathascha for allowing us to share in the magic with these photos from within the stone circle at Avebury, Wiltshire, on 20 December morning
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and Stonehenge sunset that day
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shubacanadie reindeer 2014

Twice a day until Christmas Eve (9 a.m. and 3:00 pm AST) Santa himself is seen feeding his reindeer and checking his mail!

And, no, he is not feeding them Christmas cookies!

Watch Santa feed the reindeer everyday at the Shubacanadie webcam in Nova Scotia


Click here for Winter Solstice info on Issuu

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The information is drawn from years of Tara Celebrations reports and information.


Each TC ceremony is run in awareness of the dominating energies of the current cycle, leading to an accumulated wealth of experience. We observe the festivals and attune our lives to seasonal changes. We cannot avoid the fundamental reality that we are effected by the place at which we live on earth.

- Winter Solstice archive

Winter Solstice 2016 - You Light up my Life - Fourknocks 2015 - Without Darkness there can be no Light - Newgrange 2014 - Walking the White Winter...

Page last updated: 1st Nov 2017