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Every year about now I write a reflection based on The Winter Solstice; it is usually about the figurative return of the light after a period of darkness. This is what the solstice means in the northern hemisphere. My Nordic ancestors probably didn’t see it as a cozy time as I do. Back before central heating and hot cocoa ancient Spos and their ilk huddled together in the dark cold of winter wondered if they had enough food and fuel to last until the spring. It wasn’t all anxious dreary waiting. At this time of the year, they threw a bit of a party to break up the monotony. All the same there was angst to their activities. Special fires were lit and evergreens were brought indoors, hoping these would appease the gods or whoever was in charge to bring back the stilled sun. Just because it came back last year didn’t guarantee this year it will do likewise.

At this time of the year we talk about ‘the holidays’. In modern times the Christmas season starts at Thanksgiving and ends on 12/25. Traditionally the holidays were specifically the twelve days of Christmas which started on 12/25 and ended on 1/5 at the feast of Epiphany.

This year’s winter solstice Spo-reflection is influenced by my pending trip to Michigan between 12/26 to 1/2 – the twelve days of Christmas more or less. I am tending Papa and the animals while Brother #3 and family are away. There will be little to do but keep they animals fed and keep the place running much like my ancient ancestors did back in pre-Christian Europe at this time of year.

Some would get cabin fever or be down in mood being snowed in in the snowy woods for a week but not I. I am looking forward to this. When boxed up in winter it gives one time, blessed time, to think. What else is there to do really? I hope while I’m there in the woods of Michigan it snows like hell, providing ambience to the notion I am back in Scandinavia.

Modern man no longer has to shut down for the winter; we don’t have to worry about dying from hunger and cold. Food, heat, and light are available all the year round, what a relief. However we’ve lost the silver lining that came with the storm clouds of winter: a time to think and dream and be still. My ersatz Scandinavian Yule allows me all of this and it is sorely needed after the modern secular Christmas season of running around trying to do everything.

As I type this, I have a single candle going, as is my wont, to welcome the return of the sun on this day of the eve of The winter Solstice. Often at this time of year I want the sun to hurry back as soon as possible but not this year. It can stand still on the horizon for awhile. I will stand still with it. I won’t worry the sun isn’t coming back. In January we will come back together brighter and more exuberant than before.

Happy Winter Solstice.

Every winter about now I try to write something profound and reflective in honor of the solemnity of solstice. Being in the dark is sometimes when the light of inspiration best shines forth.* Many cultures in the northern hemisphere have some sort of ritual for this day. It is hard for modern man to appreciate the season of winter was a chancy time; some would not survive to see the spring. There were food shortages and illnesses and cold to carry one off. The fact the sun returned every spring didn’t assure anyone that this would always happen. Thanks to the pandemic, we are feeling something our ancestors experienced every winter: will we survive to see the spring? Perhaps the world is in a sort of solstice: stagnation and dark times, with wonders will the light return or will we decay into darkness.

The pandemic reminds us of our frailty and mortality and frailty. This should shake us up to be mindful and not let our lives go to waste on useless and meaningless past times.

I try to end my solstice entries on a hopeful note, making a simile to the return of the sun when things look darkest. This year, I am not feeling so hopeful. The sun will slowly return, but I don’t see warmth and good times ahead. Rather than feeling hope, there is some comfort while some of us will not live to see the spring it won’t be all of us. We will do what needs to be done and do The Right Thing. That is my solstice message for 2021. Persevere.

*In literature this is called ‘Ascensus averni’, where a character descends into a literal or psychological hell to encounter some sort of truth or revelation. They return to the surface a different person. They are not often happy for the Journey, but they are wiser.

Gluggagægir – Window Peeper

December 21st is when Window Peeper visits. While not as greedy as some of his brothers, Window Peeper still provides a fright. He peeps through the windows in search of something to steal. I cannot determine if he is better or worse. Slobbering the utensils is gross but petty theft really stings. I wonder if after he leaves treats in the shoes he swipes some of the knickknacks on the way out. I’ve never seen a troll with glasses; perhaps centuries of squinting through windows have marred his vision. If so, serves him right. 

I just paused to read my 2019 winter solstice entry; it had such hopes of the new year. The Stoics made a distinction between ‘stupid hope’ and the type of hope that is resiliency. I am not feeling jolly good about 2021. Bad things will no doubt happen and they may be things as shocking/surprising as the ones in 2020. All the same, with resiliency we will persevere as we did this year and every year.

It is the winter solstice; seasoned Spo-fans know I like to write a more-thoughtful prose at this time of the year. Darkness and stillness does that to me. I like to go inwards into the inner-compartments of my mind to ponder deep and gelid thoughts apropos for the darkest night of the year.

I started this essay a few days ago, coming back to expand it when I had time. This most careful prose has changed direction and character several times. It’s been a roller coaster of pessimism and optimism proportional to the impeachment process and the status of my mother.  At the time of the actual solstice (this evening) Captain Bone-spurs is impeached (proper bastard that he is and Mother and Father are finally moved into their new digs. This is reportedly going OK.  What was all gloom is better – not ‘jolly’ but not as bad as before. The winter solstice is like that. When things are their darkest and you think nothing will improve the sunlight slowly comes back. It wasn’t as bad as you feared.

I erased the original essay to put in its place this more hopeful entry.  I am presently at Brother #3’s house located in a bosky part of Brighton. It is 415PM; the sun is already going down. I suspect I will go to sleep early and go into a deep sleep the type one gets only at this time of year. Tomorrow the sun will rise portending a new day with its suggestion of a better future and a more hopeful year.

Welcome sunlight bring your cheer.

Let us hope so.




Every year at The Winter solstice I write an entry of great thought the type that best happens in the cold bleak midwinter. [1] In this annual meditation I want to wish Spo-fans in both hemispheres a happy new year/season’s greetings and I try throw in a nugget of inspirational wisdom. The Winter Solstice entry is The Spo-reflection equivalent to The Queen’s speech at Christmas. Lord only knows how Her Majesty manages to do this year after year but if she can do it so can I.

If modern man bothers to celebrate The Winter Solstice at all it is a quiet time to light some candles or the fireplace and drink wine or hot cocoa. [2] In my comfy chair with a roof over my head it is hard to imagine how frightening and foreboding it was for my ancestors to witness the retreat and standstill of the light into darkness. Every year my ancient ancestors had the collective angst the winter sun may not return. Lighting fires at The Solstice wasn’t a jolly celebration but a fearful ritual imploring the gods to bring back the sun which was Life. [3] There was also the worry about food supplies: would there be enough food to last until spring time.  It was a dark and ominous time.

2018 seemed a slow slide into darkness and ignorance. I won’t rehash the politics and events; you know them yourself. The minds and hearts of the nation – nay world – resemble my Vikings ancestors with their fears will we see the return of light or sink into Hel? [4]  On a hopeful note perhaps like the Solstice we have hit the nadir and it is ‘all uphill from here’. This day of Winter Solstice I once again light the candles to welcome light and say a prayer for the return of light and wisdom.


[1] The PC name for this month’s solstice is The December Solstice to remind us as half the world isn’t experiencing winter but summer. My Nordic genetics finds this a hard one to do, so I will continue using The Winter Solstice. Please don’t write in. The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections are Nordic as the Northern Lights and won’t get a herring.

[2] If you are Urs Truly a good snort of scotch.

[3] Sometimes sacrifices were done to help with the petitions. You would think the yearly return of the sun would comfort their worry but it didn’t.

[4] In the Norse mythos Hel was a frozen dreary place; it was where we got our word for Hell.

Every year at this point in the calendar I write an entry for the Solstice. My Nordic blood bubbles blithely at this holiday; this causes me more than ever to express myself through writing.  There is something archaic and comforting about lighting a fire on the darkest day of the year in order to welcome back the sun from its retreat. I light some candles, stare into their flames, and become cozy and comforted. It inspires scribbling out my thoughts.

I suspect solstice celebrations of yore were more social and boisterous than ones I have. They probably resembled one of meetings of The Board Directors Here at Spo-reflections  with a contemptuous topic. I want to scribble something spiritual and erudite on this blessed day. As I sat down to write this year’s entry, I kept returning to the theme of the return of light during the darkest time of life.  2017 felt to be a very dark year indeed what with the present government shredding reason and truth for power and profit. At home there were a couple of nice trips  but otherwise 2017 wasn’t one of great growth or Journey. I saw myself settle into a banality of work, chores, tasks, and not much else. Even the house slowly set into disrepair. As I light my solstice candles to welcome light I also welcome change – proper change with personal growth.  I have great plans to shake things up in 2018 both at home and in myself.  Let us hope so.

I sit in darkness. The moon outside my window is a mere sliver of the waxing type – how apt for the winter solstice! Like its mate, Moon is slowly returning to full light. I have a radiant red candle burning, bright and bold as blood. I can almost hear the wax dripping into the brass holder. Harper sleeps soundly on the comforter on the bed; I will soon join her in a long winter’s night sleep. I hope tonight to have sweet dreams of waterfalls and ice cream.

Happy Solstice everyone. May this new year and the return of the sun bring you light and hope.


Every December I am keen to write a Winter Solstice post. On the darkest day of the year (at least in these parts) I sit in the glow of candles to commemorate the nadir of Light. It is a clear night; the winter constellations are burning bright as beacons. It is also quite quiet; the only sound I hear is a distant coyote call.

When I lived in the Midwest The Winter Solstice marked the pending dark cold days of January and the slow return of warmth and daylight. Solstice portends the time of waiting; it is a time to stay in, keep warm, and feel a standstill. If I could I would enter into hibernation.

Alas, this year the turning of the earth in its orbit portends ominous events. This time the spring’s arrival doesn’t feel so jolly. Like a lot of people living in the States I am anxious about the future.  he expression “Winter is Coming” from The Game of Thrones takes on meaning in 2017.

The main lesson of The Solstice the promise despite The Darkness The Light will return. We have to endure somehow and not succumb to despair for someday – maybe not as soon as we would like – things will be better. Cycles continue.

So, on this particular Solstice I pause in The Darkness to wish you well . May The Light  soon return to bring clarity, nurturance, and Truth – all to shine away the doleful and despairing Darkness.



21 December is the winter solstice. I try to write something thoughtful on this day – something illuminative. Spo-fans who are interested can go back to my eight other winter solstice entries.  At this time of year my Nordic blood bubbles a bit to be in more touch with my ancestors. They slept the week away only waking long enough to tend the animals. Sometimes they had boisterous parties full of light to welcome back the sun. If I had a working fireplace I would have a log burning. Alas, I do not. But I light some candles to illuminate the darkness. It is a thoughtful day for me.

Living in Arizona takes some of the glow out of the season, for we have far too much sun as it is and the notion of it coming back in its ardent brilliance is not too welcome. I would like to hibernate until February, getting in touch with my inner-bear.

Alas this solstice is far from quiet or somnolent.  Hosting The Other Michael has been jam-packed and fun-filled and no time to meditate on the darkness. We saw The Star Wars movie; we just finished baking gingerbread boys.* As soon as they cool down I plan to go to bed.  If I had my druthers I would fall asleep with a candle burning. But someone won’t have it. I will light a candle, think on my ancestors, blog out the candle and dream of snow and hibernation.

* The Other Michael modified the gingerbread boys a bit. Please don’t tell my mother.


According to the almanac, the local December Solstice occurs on 21 December at approximately 4pm.  At that moment I take a deep breath in and say a nonspecific prayer of thanksgiving and hopes for the new year for all.

I’ve written about the day before; I am very fond of the winter solstice. I suppose my all-Northern-Hemisphere bloodline (going back to the Vikings) is integrated with the celebration of Yule. It is not a boisterous holiday. Rather, it is very quiet, like the dark winter’s night. I light candles. I sit still. I feel the earth spin around the Arch of Time.  Lovely.

In this spiritual introverted state I retreat into the inner department of my mind where I wonder at Life’s mysteries.  I feel connected to the past, not only my past but the past of countless generations.

I sleep well at this time of year. I get sleepy soon after dinner and I wish to retire quickly.  In my hibernaculum I wish to go to sleep until March – I really am “bear”. This is not depression; it is quite the opposite. It is the serene satisfaction of being right in the world. The earth has tilted away from the sun; it is a time for peace, sleep, and deep somniferous thoughts.

Happy Solstice. Happy Yule.


The Winter Solstice is here. I am quite fond of the holiday. There is nothing spectacular about the day; I don’t anything extravagant. In the dark of the longest evening I light some candles and sit quietly within my thoughts.“To Drive the Cold Winter Away” with its quiet seasonal songs plays in the background. It is soothing and comforting and so unlike the cheesy stuff day that blasts forth from daytime radio.

I have the quiet satisfaction my Christmas shopping is done. I think Someone will like his ‘prizes’. Every year I fret a bit about what to get him; I want his Christmas to be pleasant. Poor Someone. It’s his turn to have the awful flu I’ve had for the past fortnight. His seems to be more virulent, and he breathes queer, when he is breathes at all. He’s asleep in the other room, so the house is silent other than Lorreena singing “Snow”. There is a cozy serenity  to the place, which only comes on the eve of winter.

The Winter solstice is simultaneously the darkest day and the one with the most hope. The light will return as Mother Earth continues on her spin around the sun. Many people get depressed at this time of year, but I feel cocooned and at peace. I wish I could hibernate as bears do, asleep in my winter thoughts until spring.  I suspect I will sleep well tonight, deep into the dark of the winter solstice.

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April 2023

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