There are hundreds of ancient sites, and were many thousands, that align to the winter solstice. However, the following sites mark this solstice alignment in a symbolic way. By doing so, they have encapsulated a profound esoteric wisdom that can still be grasped even in our modern world â outlasting books and texts, which are easily lost and destroyed. These monuments speak to us through thousands of years about the true spiritual significance of the winter solstice.
Their incredible accuracy reveals that these were not simple-minded builders looking for a way to mark the seasons, but highly advanced cultures who knew of great cosmic truths that we as a humanity have lost touch with today. Someone who understands the symbolic language used to build these sites can see the builders knew the winter solstice was the cosmic embodiment of the process of creation and the birth of the divine son. The significance of the birth of divinity pre-dates Christian times, which reveals that spiritual deities born at the winter solstice, such as Jesus, Horus, Krishna, Dionysus, Attis, Mithras, etc., symbolize something much greater which no religion owns exclusively. These sites were built around the universal knowledge of the process of awakening in which the birth of the divine son within a spiritually prepared individual is a central event.
Glastonbury Tor ~ England
This ancient site is undated and unexcavated, and is believed by many to be the mysterious Isle of Avalon from the legend of King Arthur. It is a giant man-made seven terraced mound, which was once surrounded by water. Today it is topped by a Church tower, which may have been built in place of a much earlier site.
From what appears to be an ancient man-made observation mound on nearby Windmill Hill, someone can watch the winter solstice sun appear at the bottom of the terraces of Glastonbury Tor, and ârollâ up the Northern side of terraces until clipping the top of the tower.Â In approximately 3,000 BC, only the top rim of the sun would have been visible, allowing someone to observe this incredible event without being blinded by the sun. This site gives pictures and diagrams of the winter solstice alignment at Glastonbury Tor.
The constellation Orion rises over the Tor in the winter months, followed by the star Sirius, which rises soon after. During the period around 3,150 BC, Sirius rose in the same place as the winter solstice sun. Orion is associated with the Egyptian father god Osiris, and Sirius is associated with his wife, the Egyptian mother goddess Isis. Horus, their son, is associated with the sun, and is born at the winter solstice. Thus at Glastonbury Tor, during the winter solstice someone could witness a cosmic nativity of Father, Mother, and Son, along with the symbolism created by the Tor (discussed in The Spiritual Meaning of the Winter Solstice).
There is said to be a fabled treasure that exists in the very lowest chamber within the inner terraces of the island. The rising sun on the winter solstice connected with the birth of the divine son at the base of the terraces, reveals what the meaning of this treasure. It is the golden fleece, the symbol of the Christ/Son.
Chichen Itza ~ Mexico
At an ancient Mayan sacred site called Chichen Itza, there is a pyramid dedicated to KukulcÃ¡n, the feathered serpent. At spring and autumn equinoxes the sun creates an undulating pattern of light on the nine terraces of the pyramid to display seven triangles of light which link up with a stone serpent head at its base. As the sun sets on the autumn equinox, the pattern created by the movement and alignment of the sun appears to be of a snake descending down the pyramid steps, and at the spring equinox, it creates the impression of the snake ascending the pyramid.
At the winter solstice the interaction between the sun and the temple is very similar to that of Glastonbury Tor. When one looks at the western face of the pyramid, the sun appears to climb up the terraces until it rests momentarily directly above the pyramid on the pinnacle of the temple room that sits on top of the pyramid, before beginning its descent down the other side. Like Glastonbury, itâs as if the sun rising from the lowest point of the structure ascends the terraces, until crowning the tower. The symbolism of this event is discussed in The Spiritual Meaning of the Winter Solstice.
The Temple of Karnak ~ Egypt
At the temple of Karnak, known as the most hallowed of places, is the very center of the world dedicated to Amun, where he first brought forth creation. Construction is said to have begun during the Middle Kingdom, dated between 2,055 – 1,650 BC.
The Goddess Mut is also found at the temple of Karnak in probably one of the most ancient areas of it. Enclosed in her precinct is a sacred lake in the shape of a crescent, symbolizing the waters of creation and the womb. Here we have the presence of the father and mother god, at a temple aligned to the winter solstice sunrise, which is the birth of the son.
In Egypt we find incredible symbols that reveal the knowledge of the process of birth and creation. Even temple architecture symbolized the division of the male and female forces, to create the son. The entrance to many temples, including that at the Temple of Karnak, shows a raised wall on the left, that lowers over the entrance flanked by a winged solar disk, which then raises to form the right wall. Here is represented the division of the two forces of male and female, with the solar disk rising in the middle.
This temple is aligned to the winter solstice sunrise. When the sun rises on this day, it appears between the left and right walls on either side of the entrance. Its rays are then funneled through multiple temple areas, which narrow until reaching the sanctuary of Amun. This sanctuary is reminisce of a womb, which is penetrated by the creative force to give birth to the divine son. Interestingly, this sanctuary aligns to the temple of Luxor nearby, which itself is laid to the proportions of a human body. Sometimes called the Temple of Man, the Luxor temple depicts an annunciation scene in which the God Amun announces to the mother Goddess Mut that she will give birth to a divine child. This site shows pictures of the winter solstice sun rising through the Temple of Karnak.
Both in the Temple of Karnak and Luxor the golden number, phi, and the Fibonacci sequence are found. These sacred numbers are key to the growth and development of all life. In fact the temple of Karnak was built upon and expanded over hundreds of years, according to the Fibonacci sequence. The entrance to the temple is flanked by rows of giant ram headed sphinxes which each hold images of a pharaoh between their paws. The Fibonacci sequence can be found in the growth of a ramâs horns, just as it is in a nautilus shell. This temple was dedicated to life, its growth, and creationâand was specifically aligned to the winter solstice.
Newgrange ~ Ireland
Newgrange is a giant 1 acre mound, resembling a grass topped temple, said to have been built around 3,200 BC. Once a year, at the winter solstice, the rising sun enters the mound through a specially built roofbox above the main entrance and shines directly along the 19m long passage, gradually widening until illuminating the inner chamber for about 17 minutes. Today the first light enters about four minutes after sunrise, but calculations based on the precession of the Earth show that 5,000 years ago first light would have entered exactly at sunrise.
The inner chamber of the mound is laid out in the shape of a cross, and beautiful Neolithic artwork can be found etched into the stone both on the inside and outside of the mound. Particularly prevalent are spiral designs, including the famous tri-spiral design found inside the chamber. This site has photos of the artwork inside the chamber.
Here the symbol of the cross appears in connection with the winter solstice, the time of the birth of the divine son, long before the birth of Jesus. The cross represents the crossing of male and female forces, which give birth to all life. The tri-spiral symbol also shows the union of three forces of Father, Mother, and Son; positive, negative, and neutral, which give rise to all creation. The single spiral is often referred to as âthe spiral of lifeâ as it shows the expansion of life.
And all of it is enclosed in a mound which appears to be like a great womb of the earth. Just as the birth of Jesus, Mithras, and Viracocha was said to have taken place in a cave, so too at Newgrange the birth of the sun is enacted inside the dark chamber of the mound. As at Glastonbury Tor and The Temple of Karnak, we see the three forces of creation present at the moment of the birth of the divine son, and the creation of all life on the winter solstice.
Maeshowe, a similarly built and designed mound north of Scotland on the Orkney Islands, also receives a beam of sunlight to its central chamber on the winter solstice.
The 4-handed Moai Statue ~ Easter Island
A lone Maoi statue in the center of the island, at a site called Ahu Huri A Urenga, faces the rising sun on the winter solstice. Unlike any other statue, it has four hands instead of the usual two. This appears to be no coincidence, as the number 4 has a symbolic meaning related to the sun and the process of creation. To find out more about why it has four hands, see The Spiritual Meaning of the Winter Solstice. This Maoi is seen as one of the most important astronomical observatories on the island, as it appears that the altar together with five cupules etched on a nearby rock functioned as a âsolar-ranging deviceâ which marked the winter solstice and possibly the equinoxes.
The Great Pyramids ~ Egypt
As the sun sets on the winter solstice, the second largest pyramid casts a shadow on the southern face of the Great Pyramid beside it, at the same angles as the ascending and descending passages inside the Great Pyramid – thus alluding to what’s inside.
The Sun Gate at Tiwanaku ~ Bolivia
At the ancient sacred city of Tiwankau,Â the rays of the rising sun on the winter solstice pass through a stone entrance called “the Sun Gate” and hit an obelisk directly behind it. The creator god Viracocha is carved into the center of the gate and is surrounded by winged beings. On it are also carved the instructions for interpreting a giant wall made of 11 pillars nearby (one of which is lying on the ground), which acts as a solar calendar. When standing at the observation stone, one can see the sun rise over each of the pillars, depending on the time of year, including at the equinoxes and solstices.
Although settlements around Tiwanaku have been dated back as far as 1,500 BC, the dating of the ancient ruins of the city of Tiwanaku have been debated.
When the Spanish arrived in South America, the Incas told them that they did not build these ancient cities, but that they moved into them. They stated that they were built by giants and by Viracocha himself. The Tiwanaku people believed that Viracocha created giants to move the massive stones, but that he grew unhappy with them and created a flood to destroy them. This flood myth parallels many others around the world, which also say that a great flood ended a prior race on earth. Viracocha was sometimes described as human and also as a god. He is sometimes said to be Caucasian in appearance, with white skin, green emerald colored eyes, a long white robe, and holding a staff.
Machu Picchu ~ Peru
At the ancient mountain top city of Machu Picchu in Peru there is a semi-circular structure called the “Temple of the Sun” that was constructed around a large boulder. During the winter solstice, the sun shines through the central window and falls upon the stone boulder within whilst also aligning with the tip of a nearby mountain peak.
Machu Picchu is believed by some to be the domain of the Incan priestesses called the “Virgins of the Sun”. Interestingly, the winter solstice is the time in many ancient cultures of the virgin birth of the divine son. The priestesses may have been the practitioners of the sacred, sexual practice of alchemy, which gives birth to the solar spiritual force within known as the Christ, as explained in The Spiritual Meaning of the Winter Solstice. The Inca also called themselves the “Children of the Sun”.
Machu Picchu is also home to the Intihuatana stone which aligns to the equinoxes as described in Ancient Sacred Sites Aligned to the Autumn Equinox, and the city is situated on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley, which also has a winter solstice alignment as described below.
The Urubamba Sacred Valley ~ the Andes of Peru
- In this sacred valley in the Andes facing the ancient Inca ruins of Ollantaytambo, there is a mountain sacred to the Incas called Cerro Pinkuylluna believed to have the profile of the creator god Viracocha. The formation, standing at 140 meters high, is made up of indentations that form the eyes and mouth, whilst a protruding carved rock makes his nose. Inca ruins built on top of the face are considered to represent a crown on his head. When the sun strikes the profile of Viracocha during the winter solstice, the mineral content of the mountain reflects and refracts the rays.
In the legends of the pre-Inca and Inca people, the creator sun god Viracocha, who is depicted with a crown of the sun, is said to have risen from Lake Titicaca (or sometimes the cave of Pacaritambo) during the time of darkness to bring forth light. Viracocha is said to have made the earth, the stars, the sky, and mankind. Here Viracocha who is associated with the sites of Tiwanaku and the Urubamba Sacred Valley at the winter solstice, is also associated with the sun and creation. In his emergence from the lake, we see the birth of the divine son from the primordial waters. It was said that he wandered the earth disguised as a beggar, teaching his new creations the basics of civilization, as well as working numerous miracles (just as Jesus did). He wept when he saw the plight of the creatures he had created, and it was thought that he would re-appear in times of trouble (just as other divine saviors such as Jesus, Mithras, and the avatars of Vishnu etc., are believed to).
Ajanta Caves ~ India
The Ajanta Caves are an extraordinary group of around 30 manmade caves cut into the side of a sheer cliff face. The cliff is naturally U-shaped and was hidden in a remote part of the jungle. The caves are believed to have been built by Buddhist monks by carving into the cliff face â what they created were elaborate shrines and temples, all cut into one single giant rock.
Work is believed to have begun on the caves in around 200 BC and ended around 480 â 650 AD. The caves contained sculptures and artwork centered around the life of Buddha.
Two of the caves align to celestial events.
Cave 19 aligns to the winter solstice sunrise. It contains a state of Buddha standing within a stupa, which is illuminated by the rays of the rising sun.
Cave 26 aligns to the summer solstice sunrise. It contains a statue of Buddha seated within a stupa, which is illuminated by the rays of the rising sun.
A stupa is a symbolic monument which it is said Buddha uses to ascend and descend. The stupas for the winter and summer solstice at the Ajanta Caves differ in their design, perhaps for a symbolic reason.
The winter solstice is a time when the force known as the Christ, descends into a spiritually prepared person â taking 3 steps down into the 4 bodies, explained in The Spiritual Meaning of the Winter Solstice. In the stupa aligned to the winter solstice, there are 3 umbrella type domes at the top, above 4 platforms, with Buddha standing below – perhaps symbolizing the Christ within the body of the initiate.
Great Zimbabwe ~ Zimbabwe, Africa
In sub-Saharan Africa there lies the impressive stone ruins of an abandoned ancient city. No written records were left behind which explain why it was built nor its history, but it was believed to have been built in around 1,100 – 1,400 AD by indigenous peoples.
A number of stone monoliths at the site line up with certain bright stars in the constellation Orion as they rise on the morning of the winter solstice. Perhaps this was intended to signify the birth of the divine son – the Christ, Orion/Osiris, who is born on the winter solstice?
Nazca Lines ~ Peru
In the Nazca Desert in sourthern Peru, hundreds of giant lines and figures were drawn into the ground by removing the layers of red desert pebbles to expose the white soil beneath. One figure has been called an astronaut because of how similar it looks to one, and because the figures are best viewed from the sky. This has led some to theorize that the builders of the lines could have been in contact with extraterrestrials.
A number of the lines also align to the winter and summer solstices, along with other figures that could have aligned to the constellation of Orion. The lines themselves are not able to be dated, so it is difficult to determine when they aligned to celestial movements as due to the precession of the equinoxes, these alignments shift over time. However, on the winter solstice the sun sets over one line, exactly between the 6th and 1st century BC (scroll down this page to see a photograph).
The Nazca culture of the area however, was active from 100 BC to 1 AD onward, so did their very early culture or an earlier people’s first begin creating these lines? Horrifically, the Nazca culture practiced human decapitation, which apparently dramatically increased from about 450 AD suggesting that this culture may have further built upon the preexisting site and degenerated or inherited its cosmos mapping practices from another people’s.
Dr Paul Kosok, who first discovered their astronomical link, called the Nazca Lines “the largest astronomy book in the world.” The native name for the site is “Intiwatana”, which means “the place to where the sun is tied”, indicating its cosmological link. Just as the Egyptians wished to create a link between heaven and earth when they mirrored the cosmic “duat” with their ancient sites, such as the constellation Orion and Great Pyramids, so too did the creators of this site. Incredibly, the Nazca Lines lie along the same line around the earth as the Great Pyramids of Egypt, as well as Machu Picchu and Easter Island, within a margin of error of less than one tenth of one degree of latitude – and all these sites have alignments to the solstices and equinoxes and most to the constellation of Orion. This begs the question – are these sites all connected, and what can then tell us as a humanity about the cosmic religion they all seem to venerate.
Mynydd Dinas ~ Rhondda, Wales
According to local tradition, the ancient druids used to gather every winter solstice to watch the sun rise on the winter solstice over the mountain called Mynydd Dinas – believed to be the sacred mountain Morganwg of the druids. They believed the sun god Hu Gadarn was born as a baby boy, and would grow as the year progressed toward the summer solstice. Later the Christians would celebrate the birth of Jesus as a baby boy at the winter solstice on Christmas, as did many other ancient cultures who also celebrated the birth of a divine solar child at the winter solstice.
Also nearby the Dinas Mountain in Wales there is a cave that goes by a Welsh name meaning âVoice of Godâ where the Druids enacted the birth of their solar god Hu Gadarn (the Mabyn Taliesun) from within the cave. The Druid priest acting as Hu Gadarn gave a loud musical shout to which the gathered crowds would reply âEin Hoesâ meaning âOur Life!â
Angkor Wat ~ Cambodia
At the giant Hindu temple complex of Angkor Wat, shafts of light shine on the exact geometric center of the Preau Cruciforme on the winter solstice. The temple is dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu and is laid out in a cruciform shape, a shape that is incredibly significant to the time of the winter solstice and the birth of the divine son/sun, not only to the Christians, but also in the ancient sites and traditions of the Britons and druids.
The cross is also an alchemical symbol – the union of male (vertical) and female (horizontal) forces, gives spiritual birth to the divine child within. At Angkor Wat the light of the sun shines on the cross on the winter solstice, just as it does within the cruciform chamber of Newrange in Ireland.
What Does it All Mean?
Why did these ancient sites which took vast efforts to build, and are found in remote locations all around the world, all center around the event of the winter solstice and share remarkable similarities in the symbolism used in connection with it? Many incorporate symbols of the cross, the birth of a divine boy child, and the three forces of Mother, Father and Son present at the nativity, even though they are separated by vast distances. Each of these sites incorporate astrological events into a place of spiritual reverence, and many lie along the same line stretching around the earth – such as the Great Pyramids of Egypt, Machu Piccu, the Nazca Lines and Easter Island.
These sites reveal a greater cosmic religion that has ancient and perhaps even other worldly connections, which tells us that what happens above, is related to our world below, and most importantly, to ourselves. They show the great link between the human and divine, the personal and the cosmic, and were centered around the work to enlightenment in which the birth of the divine solar force within plays such a pivotal role.
~ Copyright 2011 Belsebuub and Angela Pritchard