Winter Solstice Spiritual Meaning, Symbols, Traditions & Definition

Winter Solstice Spiritual Meaning, Symbols, Traditions & Definition 2017-06-21T04:08:42+00:00


This article is an extract taken from the book The Path of the Spiritual Sun.



The ancient neolithic temple of Newgrange in Ireland, which has an inner chamber in the shape of a cruciform that aligns to sunrise on the winter solstice, the birth date of Jesus, although thousands of years before he was born (photo CC BY-SA 3.0 by Shira).

The birth of a divine child and savior at the winter solstice has formed a central part of spiritual beliefs throughout the world since the beginning of history—in ancient Egypt as the birth of Horus, the birth of Mithras in Persia, the birth of Jesus at Christmas, the birth of the spiritual Son at Alban Arthan of the Druids, etc. These celebrations have tapped into a universal spiritual principle that is just as relevant now as it was then.

They speak to us of a mysterious and universal understanding of spiritual transformation. All things which come into being must first be born. Even as creation was borne by the great Mother of the universe, so too must we be born of the spirit to become spirit. The winter solstice is a celebration of being “born again”—not of flesh, but of the spirit. It’s a celebration of the birth of the spiritual Son, the Christ, within a person’s consciousness on the path of the spiritual sun.

Symbolized as a child just as the winter sun is at its weakest, it will grow until reaching its full strength at the summer solstice—just as the spirit grows within a prepared individual to transform them completely from inner darkness into light.

The Birth of the Sun

Christ as the sun

The meaning of the winter solstice operates on a number of levels. At its core is the birth of the sun—both universally and personally.

The rising of the sun on the winter solstice, out of the darkest day of the year, echoes the birth of the light from the dark void on the first day of creation.

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.”
~ Genesis 1:1-5, The Bible

The ancient Egyptians understood the connection between creation and the winter solstice, as they aligned their Karnak Temple Complex, the largest in the world, to the winter solstice sunrise and dedicated one of the central temples to creation and their supreme creator god Amun. This temple complex was never completed, as successive pharaohs kept making additions to it as a living example of the process of creation and its continuous unfoldment. These additions were even built according to the Fibonacci sequence—a key mathematical principle found in the growth and expansion of life.

The spiritual sun is a living and divine fire, and the source of creation, as explained in ancient sacred texts from around the world. However, as creation follows universal principles, the birth of the sun as the light of the first day also represents the birth of the light of our own spiritual sun within us. It is born into the time of most darkness—the physical sun gives life to the external world; the spiritual sun gives spiritual life to the individual.

The birth of the son/sun is a profoundly significant event explained in How Enlightenment is the Process of Creation in the Universe in Reverse.

The Birth of the Spiritual Sun

The divine son as Horus

The spiritual Son as the ancient Egyptian god Horus (photo CC BY-SA 2.0 FR by Rama, edited).

Every genuine spiritual teaching throughout the world had some word for attaining enlightenment, whether it was awakening, self-realization, salvation, imperishability, or immortality, etc. Most still have remnants of a divine savior associated with the sun, and many associated the birth of this savior with the winter solstice. This divine savior always taught humanity how to achieve enlightenment, to become a “Son of God,” and return to the spiritual source awakened.

Although Christmas is now largely about shopping for many people, the birth of the savior was intended to bring to earth a profound spiritual message for the whole of humankind. This message has been brought to earth anew many times as previous teachings became old, obscure, and locked within religious dogma.

For those who are working toward enlightenment now and have done throughout history, the teaching of these divine saviors had a dual aspect—they taught the work to enlightenment in what they said, but also in the events of their lives.

A study of the events of the lives of the divine savior in different times and cultures, such as Jesus (esoteric Christian), Mithras (Persian), Hu Gardarn (Druid), Horus (Egyptian), etc., reveal that the events of their lives match the progress of the sun throughout the year, and the zodiac.

Many theorize that this happened because the different religions borrowed from one another. Others point to the fact that each of these deities was closely associated with the sun, and therefore were merely representing the astrological worship of the sun to simple-minded sun worshipers, waiting for their crops to grow, etc.

But there is another explanation for this incredible similarity. Often this explanation was only known by the initiates of esoteric schools who encoded the knowledge of it in the symbols of sacred sites. To the public these often complex symbols look obscure and even nonsensical, therefore protecting the knowledge from those who would deride and destroy it. This mechanism has helped to preserve much of the knowledge found in sacred sites up until this day.

Each of these deities was known as a savior of mankind, and a beloved and sacred divine child. Each of these deities was associated with the sun, and all of them born at the time of the winter solstice in a miraculous virgin birth. The lives and stories of these deities tells us of a great mystery, which in the case of Jesus, he came to earth with a mission to reveal both in the events of his life and his teachings.

The Potential of Consciousness

Isis/Hathor nursing Horus

A ancient depiction of the Madonna and child in Egypt, with Isis/Hathor the divine mother, nursing her son Horus.

Every human being is a latent spiritual potential that lies dormant like a seed. We live asleep to the greater realities of existence, but whether we choose to realize it or not, each of us has the potential to become an awakened spiritual being. This is why sacred texts from ancient times and still today, always point toward enlightenment as the ultimate goal of life.

Literally, the work of enlightenment is found written in the cosmos in the movement of the sun and stars, which is why so many ancient spiritual cultures incorporated celestial movements into their spiritual monuments and sacred texts. This is what life is created for, so no wonder we find it reflected to us from the heavens, and intrinsic to everything around us. This is so we can always discover our true purpose for being here and realize our own spiritual potential—whenever we choose to search for it.

The creative process which gives birth to the universe also gives birth to the spiritual within a human. Thus the divine savior is not just born into the world, they can be born within us—into the symbolic stables, prison, or cave, which is the spirit entering into the humble and limited personality and body.

“When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living father. But if you will not know yourself, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty.”
~ Jesus, The Book of Thomas the Contender

Nativity scene at Luxor Temple in Egypt

The scene of the annunciation and birth of the “king of heaven” at the Luxor Temple in Egypt (also given the name the Temple of Man by the Egyptologist Schwaller de Lubicz as its proportions seem to correlate with those of the human body, thus the divine king is born into a person). Firstly the goddess Neith (the primordial waters) is told by Thoth that she will become pregnant with Ra (the King of Heaven who later became known as the god Horus). Kneph and Hathor impregnate Neith via the ankh, the key of life, and thus Neith remains “ever virgin.” The birth occurs over a birthing brick, and praise is given by the gods to the divine newborn Son. This Egyptian depiction of the birth of the sun god Ra shares many similarities with the birth of Jesus.

The Birth of the Spiritual Sun Within

We are born as physical beings, but in order to become spiritual we must be born as spiritual beings. This particular spiritual birth, is the birth of the Son—the spiritual sun—within. The process of the creation in the universe is the same process that creates everything, including both the physical aspect of our being, but also the inner, spiritual aspect of our higher being. Each person’s consciousness is a spark of the great spiritual light found in the sun and stars, which is why the Milky Way has been described in ancient texts as the birth place of souls.

“Behold, O Hermes, there is a great mystery in the Eighth Sphere, for the Milky Way is the seed-ground of souls…”
~ Poimandres (the Mind of the Universe) to Hermes in The Vision of Hermes, translation from The Secret Teachings of All Ages by Manly P. Hall

The Inca celebration of Inti Raymi (which can be translated as “The Solemn Christmas of the Sun”) is one of the most famous winter solstice celebrations in the world, and is attended by over 100,000 people each year in Peru.

The Inca saw the sun as their natural father and most revered God, and themselves as its offspring. The 16th century chronicler Garcilaso de la Vega wrote:

“They (the Incas) made this solemn celebration to the Sun God in gratitude for having him and worship him as the highest, only and universal God who with his light and virtue raised and sustained all things on the Earth. And in gratitude for him being the father of the first Inca, his wife, and their children, and all his descendants that were sent to the Earth for the universal benefit of people. For these reasons this celebration was the most solemn of celebrations.”

We are, literally, the offspring of the sun—created from the stars both physically and spiritually. This is why so many ancient cultures, such as the Sumerians, Egyptians, Gnostics, Inca, and Maya, all referred to themselves as the “Children of the Sun” or “Children of the Light.”

“Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.”
~ Jesus in The Gospel According to John 12:36

Copyright © Belsebuub & Angela Pritchard 2011


This is about 1/7 of the chapter on the meaning of the winter solstice. Read more in The Path of the Spiritual Sun.


The knowledge found in this article can be further explored and practiced at the website It contains resources and activities on the ancient religion of the sun that was once practiced by a lost global civilization – which built thousands of sacred sites aligned to the sun around the world, and is the origin of many of the world’s ancient religions.
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More on the solstice and equinox

The Significance of the Solstice and Equinox in Spirituality
A Guide to Celebrating the Solstice and Equinox

Winter Solstice
The Spiritual Meaning of the Winter Solstice
Ancient Sacred Sites Aligned to the Winter Solstice
A Ceremony to Celebrate the Winter Solstice

Spring Equinox
The Spiritual Meaning of the Spring Equinox
Ancient Sacred Sites Aligned to the Spring Equinox
A Ceremony to Celebrate the Spring Equinox

Summer Solstice
The Spiritual Meaning of the Summer Solstice
Ancient Sacred Sites Aligned to the Summer Solstice
A Ceremony to Celebrate the Summer Solstice

Autumn Equinox
The Spiritual Meaning of the Autumn Equinox
Ancient Sacred Sites Aligned to the Autumn Equinox
A Ceremony to Celebrate the Autumn Equinox

Last updated: 17 June 2017


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