Spiritual Significance of the Solstice and Equinox

Solstices and EquinoxesThe sun – the source of life and light to every living physical thing – is a unifying force, a blazing fire, and the giver and destroyer of life. So it’s not surprising it has held so much importance through the ages, across distant continents, times, cultures, civilizations, and religions – some dating from periods completely unsuspected and unknown to the modern world.

Throughout the ages people gathered to honor and celebrate the sun during the solstice and equinox with special ceremonies, rituals, and observances.

The solstices and equinoxes are astronomical events marking the sun’s seasonal movement in the sky each year. At the summer solstice the sun reaches its highest point in the sky, while at the winter solstice it descends to its lowest point. The spring and autumn equinoxes mark the mid points in the sun’s movement between the two solstices.

Sun Cross

When the four cardinal points are plotted on a circle – representing the yearly cycle – and are connected to one another, a symbol of the cross within a circle emerges. This sacred symbol can be found across various ancient cultures – from the Native American tribes of old to the modern Christian crosses adorning churches throughout the Western world today. It is a sacred symbol of the sun, known as a sun cross, and while depicted in a simple manner, it conveys a powerful message to those who understand its significance.

These solar events mark four equidistant points in the cycle of the sun through the calendar year, and indicate the change between the four seasons. Yet to the ancients they also signified much more than that: they saw a deeper mystery to these solar movements.

So what made these cosmic events so important to the ancients? Why did so many seemingly unconnected civilizations align their alters, temples, households, courts, and monuments to the journey of the sun? The answer lies in understanding the deeper significance of the spiritual meaning of the sun.

A Deeper Symbolism

Sun Halo

Another common symbol of the sun is the dot within a circle: ⊙ – the central point in the cross described in the image caption above, representing the blazing inner fire of the sun. This symbol can once again be found amidst a myriad of ancient civilizations and is used today in astronomy to symbolize the physical sun. Interestingly, this symbol, much like the cross within the circle, mimics a pattern found imbued into various elements in nature, as depicted in this photograph of a sun halo and pillars — as above so below, as the saying goes. Image: © wiki user GeographBot (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The harvest and the changing seasons are certainly key points in the cycle of life, death, and resurrection in nature, but within this cycle many ancient cultures perceived a powerful deeper message. In the ground-breaking book The Path of the Spiritual Sun, Belsebuub presents new research which suggests many ancient cultures understood that these four focal points of the year illuminated stages of an inner spiritual journey – a solar path an individual can undertake within themselves – a universal path towards a spiritual enlightenment. Belsebuub was able to draw upon his own unique experience of undertaking that path of enlightenment, to decode the esoteric factors motivating ancient peoples to celebrate and commemorate the passage of the sun as they did.

This research reveals that ancient cultures saw in the celestial movements of the sun a cosmic reflection of that universal spiritual journey they could undertake on earth within themselves. This seems to explain why monuments, cities, and lifestyles were modelled around the solstices and equinoxes and aligned to the journey of the sun and the stars. These ancient civilizations saw spiritual enlightenment as the real purpose of life, and sought to orient their entire societies to the spiritual principles they saw displayed above them in the heavens.

The spiritual significance to the sun’s journey also explains why deities through the ages have been linked with the sun, and sun gods and sun men have been venerated.

For example, sun-Christ savior figures have emerged time and time again through the ages within various traditions, and key stages in their lives often correspond to solar events. Researches have noted how many of these figures – such as Jesus, Mithra, Krishna, Quetzalcoatl, and countless others – often share similarities. They may be associated with the sun, born at the winter solstice, teach and perform wonders, die and resurrect at the spring equinox, and ascend to the heavens at the summer solstice. The future return of a sun-Christ figure is also often foretold, who will come again at a winter solstice (when the world is at its darkest) and bring light into the world once again.

Some say these similarities are the mere cultural transference of myths and tales. But when one examines these stories from a cosmic perspective, it seems more likely the similarities exist because these figures, through their own lives on earth, illustrated a universal path to enlightenment that is literally part of creation – depicted by the sun above us to illuminate the path to enlightenment on earth.

This cosmic correspondence reflects the hermetic axiom: “as above so below”.

Celebrating the Solstice and Equinox Spiritually

Those who understood the spiritual messages encoded in the sun’s physical journey were empowered to take up the journey it symbolized in their own lives. Various ancient societies therefore celebrated and marked these cosmic events in the fashion of their culture, although, overtime, their deeper understanding of these astronomical events generally diminished, and celebrations tended to lose touch with the metaphysical aspect as time went on.

Marking the Summer Solstice -- An Ancient Maya Ceremony from the Popol VuhHowever, a true celebration of the cosmic meaning of the solstices and equinoxes is not mere worship or an enactment of old rituals lacking life; rather, it commemorates the divine plan of life, displayed in the heavens so that it can be enacted in our own lives on earth. It recognizes the divine and creative powers latent in the cosmos, nature and within the individual, waiting to be kindled.

Celebrations, bonfires, gatherings, sacred dances, and re-enactments of cosmic events took place at the solstices and equinoxes through the ages as a way to teach and connect with this cosmic journey of the soul, and feel and understand its significance in a more profound and intimate way. These sacred occasions stimulated peoples’ souls, inspiring them to strive towards this journey to enlightenment, become one with the universe; and embody on earth what is shown in heaven, through walking the inner path of the spiritual sun/son in their own lives.

This sacred understanding has largely been lost to modern cultures, but it can rekindled today and illuminate the world once more.

14 Comments

  • Thank you very much for this revealing article. I think it is so beautiful that the sacred meaning of the Sun is becoming more known today, after so much suppression.

    I really like the connection you have made between the 2 symbolic depictions of the Sun – the cross encircled, and the dot in the middle of the circle. Its interesting, in my opinion, to contemplate how the “blazing inner fire” in the middle of the circle has been created by the intersection of the 2 lines of the cross. It even made me think, that the second image (the point within the circle), would be a natural continuation of the first image (the cross encircled), and that at the end, the cross would not even be needed, and just the dot in the middle of the circle would stay, as a symbol of the Absolute Sun, and the accomplishment of the Spiritual work.

    • I know what you mean, Lucia. I found the symbols very powerful as well. I was especially taken aback seeing it reflected in the halo and pillars — a beautiful example of a physical glimpse into the wisdom imbued into nature all around.

  • Those images capture a snapshot into a vast hidden spirituality that really evokes a sense of connection that is hard to express but more subtly extracted by the heart. It’s also interesting to see that the halo was 22degrees, that it just makes me wonder how much more there is to the Spiritual Sun that is our life force both within ourselves and all around us!

    On my morning walks I feel that light of the sun connecting to the light within me, my consciousness and I feel that I am part of that light, and fortifies my connection and my journey ahead.

    Thanks for this interesting article and the symbols shown.

  • Since Childhood days,there r Strange Feelings like Dejavu or Mystical Feelings
    which diverted Me like a Strange in a Strange Land(Non Citizenship)but just
    realised tht it’s frm Spiritual SunTransformation Energy

  • I feel that we are so lucky to have this information. I remember when in school we were told that people of the old ages didn’t know much and that they venerated the sun because it gave them the food and the light and therefore they worshipped it and developed the idea of good and bad gods that corresponded to the good and and bad weather. And now we have it all unravelled for us and not just that but we are also given a way to experience this truth for ourselves – truly amazing!

  • Its quite amazing thinking about how these practices and worships to the sun has gone on for hundreds of years, it really signifies the deeper meaning behind the ancient practices, I hope to understand this deeper meaning in a more profound way one day

    Thanks for the info very interesting

  • Wow very inspiring
    I just wish the ancient ceremonies they talk about which helped inspire the people to walk the path of enlightenment where still around today, I think they would be of great help to people of our time who are pursuing a spiritual life but are lost.

  • I was just reading The Path of the Spiritual Sun book earlier today in anticpation of the winter solstice. Again I was deeply amazed by the information in it, has anyone else read the part on ‘The Seeds of the Sun’ page 135? Including the extract of Peter in the Clementine Homilies.

    Looking forward to that special Christmas time of the year.

    • Its an amazing part Karim indeed! So basically, translated into our everyday speech, at our level we are not able to really “see” (and therefore understand) God, because having these weak, fleshly bodies we are not able to perceive His extreme Light without our bodies being burnt/destroyed by that level of “voltage”. However, by creating higher (solar) bodies with the practice of alchemy, a person is then equipped to not only withstand this higher voltage, but even to have a part of it permanently incarnated within him. How great and practical teachings!

    • This chapter made me go ‘wow’ when I first read it – deeply profound and beautiful. I remember when I was collecting seeds of different flowers and marvelling at how they all looked so unique, my mind went on to ‘what does a human seed look like?’ What’s the first image that comes to mind when you think of a human cell, as in, what we all start off as physically? For me, it’s the classic dot inside a circle, which is also the symbol of the absolute or the symbol of the sun. Our potential. 🙂

  • “HETEPU!” (Peace & Blessings) & a Blessed Vernal / Spring Equinox to all “Brothers & Sisters of LIGHT” herein! … I’m humbly Grateful to the creators of this site, and to the Many & Growing Seekers / Servants of The LIGHT, Grace & LOVE of Our SOURCE ~ CREATOR ~ Mother/Father GOD (e.g., “Abraham H.,” Satguru, Michael Beckwith, Marianne Williamson, & too many others to Name here … like YOU – each reader / Seeker of The Great “I AM that I AM”! ) … as one herein said, “NAMASTE!” ~ as I humbly bow to the GOD (Christ / Krishna / Buddha / Heru, etc.) within You!

    … Unfortunately, so many “Christians” know not that when they end a Prayer with “Amen” they pay Homage to an Afrikan Deity; as in “AMEN-RA” *[ RA being the Outer Manifestation (The SUN / SOL), of the Causal, SPIRITual (Hidden) POWER within the Sun; that Being AMEN (or Amon, or Amun, or Amin … as our Muslim brothers might say! ) ] ~*~ ShemHotep, Beloved “Brothers & Sisters of LIGHT,” at this BLESSED Equinoctial “See-SUN” ~ May ALL Our “GOoD Intentions / Desires” come to their Full Manifestations / REALizations; in their due SOLstitial Bloomage!!! ; )

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