No one is probably surprised to hear that the winter solstice was a time of merriment in Ancient Greece. After all, to this day, in Greece there is always some sort of celebration, let alone those ancient times when even philosophizing involved drinking.
But who would have thought that the winter solstice celebration was in honor of Poseidon, the god of the sea?
In Athens, and other parts of Ancient Greece, there was a month that corresponded to our December/January that was named Poseideon. Think about it… It makes perfect sense that the time chosen for his festival would coincide with the season the Greeks were least likely to set sail. 🙂
The winter solstice festival of Poseidon was celebrated in Athens and other cities of ancient Greece with large bonfires and a lot of wine and cake. Large bonfires and a lot of wine and cake you are wondering? Of course! Both activities were related to the failing sun. The large bonfires, symbolizing the creation of light and the wine and cake symbolizing the enjoyment of the cover that the darkness can provide.
Legend has it that the popularity of the Poseidonia on the island of Aegina (where we hold many of our trainings) was so high that they were extended to two months long.
In every culture, solstices are important ritualistic days designed to celebrate the changing of the seasons and a new energy. In fact, solstice in Latin means “the sun stands still”. The Sun standing still is a metaphor for the day the Sun appears to reverse direction and a new solar cycle begins.
Astronomically, the solstice happens twice a year when the tilt of the earth’s axis is most inclined toward or away from the sun causing the sun’s apparent position in the sky to reach its northernmost or southernmost extreme.
For those in the northern hemisphere the winter solstice is the day of the shortest period of daylight, known as the darkest day of the year. It is the time of the year that we have the opportunity to remember, reflect upon and study deep into our soul. We may not like everything that we find, but that is perfectly fine as long as we decide to own it. Only then, we shall find the strength to change it.
Whether it is the candlelight, a bonfire, a journal, or wine and cake that we choose, taking responsibility, exercising our ability to respond to the darkest elements of our soul, will help us move on to a richer human experience.
Hear even more about the ancestral celebrations of the winter solstice and how it can help us today by listening to our podcast episode below.
- The meaning of solstice
- The honoring of Poseidon
- Solstice and Rituals
- Celebrating the community
- Feasting, fasting and fire gazing
- What makes an angry yogi
- Nietzsche and the destruction of Ancient Greece
- Why Fight Club is the perfect winter solstice movie
- You can find Fight Club here: https://amzn.to/2R5PA4n
WEBVTT Kind: captions Language: en 00:00:08.960 --> 00:00:15.590 The Spartan mind strength podcast the podcast for mental grit and resilience 00:00:15.590 --> 00:00:20.869 hosted by Vie Binga and Tim Ganley 00:00:24.470 --> 00:00:29.840 -- Hello this is Tim -- and this is Vie and we welcome you to another episode of the 00:00:29.840 --> 00:00:34.190 Spartan mind strength podcast -- today we're going to be talking about the 00:00:34.190 --> 00:00:45.640 winter solstice -- stay tuned we'll be right back 00:00:45.640 --> 00:00:51.560 -- the winter solstice and mind strength we're going to be talking first a little bit 00:00:51.560 --> 00:00:56.690 about the history of the winter solstice and then we'll talk a little bit why 00:00:56.690 --> 00:01:03.590 it's important for having a strong mind so first tell me about the winter 00:01:03.590 --> 00:01:07.400 solstice -- ah well the concept of the solstice 00:01:07.400 --> 00:01:11.840 there are there are two there is the winter solstice and there is the summer 00:01:11.840 --> 00:01:15.710 solstice so the concept -- and we're talking about the winter solstice -- the winter solstice 00:01:15.710 --> 00:01:24.670 right now -- because it's called outside -- it is in the northern hemisphere okay solstice 00:01:24.670 --> 00:01:35.390 it's a latin word and it actually means the sun standing still and -- so it's not a 00:01:35.390 --> 00:01:40.790 Greek word -- it's I'm sure it is it has an ancient 00:01:40.790 --> 00:01:47.930 Greek origin since everything that's right it is a metaphor actually the Sun 00:01:47.930 --> 00:01:55.880 appears to be standing still because it changes directions and the winter 00:01:55.880 --> 00:02:02.930 solstice we usually refer to as a day anywhere between December 20th and 23rd 00:02:02.930 --> 00:02:08.720 in the northern hemisphere but it is actually more of like a moment in the 00:02:08.720 --> 00:02:13.780 sky it is when the Earth's axis 00:02:13.780 --> 00:02:21.910 astronomically is the furthest away from the Sun this is why the winter solstice 00:02:21.910 --> 00:02:29.840 for us appears to be the shortest day the shortest time between sunrise and 00:02:29.840 --> 00:02:38.030 sunset and the longest night it is actually the darkest time of the year 00:02:38.030 --> 00:02:46.459 -- darkest and that's that brings us to Greece -- yes so the winter solstice has 00:02:46.459 --> 00:02:53.590 been celebrated for thousands of years like the Stonehenge is an example of 00:02:53.590 --> 00:02:59.360 honoring the winter solstice the Newgrange in Ireland is another example 00:02:59.360 --> 00:03:06.330 ancient people appreciated the winter solstice and the summer solstice -- a lot more 00:03:06.330 --> 00:03:15.720 than today's -- a lot more than today so in ancient Greece since -- everything is ancient Greece -- they were 00:03:15.720 --> 00:03:20.340 celebrating go figure at first it doesn't make much sense they 00:03:20.340 --> 00:03:30.030 were celebrating Poseidon the god Poseidon and it's like why what does Poseidon -- for 00:03:30.030 --> 00:03:34.769 the winter solstice -- yes yeah -- that makes no sense 00:03:34.769 --> 00:03:41.130 -- well yeah they were drinking a lot probably that's why ah but there was 00:03:41.130 --> 00:03:46.709 there was a good reason it was the time that they were the least 00:03:46.709 --> 00:03:54.060 likely to set sail to go on the water so since they were not going to be on the 00:03:54.060 --> 00:04:02.239 water with Poseidon they figured they would celebrate Poseidon through fire 00:04:02.239 --> 00:04:14.329 wine and cake and all that -- wine and cake -- yes yeah wine and cake because they believed that 00:04:14.329 --> 00:04:22.710 there was a cover since it was such a dark time that time of the year it 00:04:22.710 --> 00:04:28.620 was literally dark because the Sun wasn't out as much -- and it still isn't -- 00:04:28.620 --> 00:04:36.479 -- and it still isn't yeah with wine and cake they could honor the darkness they 00:04:36.479 --> 00:04:43.289 had a cover so they could go a little bit wild they could celebrate the 00:04:43.289 --> 00:04:51.990 darkness and also they had the bonfires because they needed to also welcome the 00:04:51.990 --> 00:04:59.850 light that was about to come -- and that was in Greece and it started off as -- in Ancient Greece -- it started 00:04:59.850 --> 00:05:04.950 in Aegina actually the island that we do teacher trainings on -- in Aegina being being a 00:05:04.950 --> 00:05:09.930 very very highly water oriented ship oriented 00:05:09.930 --> 00:05:17.640 Island they were they say that they were celebrating for about two months -- so it 00:05:17.640 --> 00:05:23.550 wasn't just a moment and it was it wasn't it wasn't a day and they actually 00:05:23.550 --> 00:05:32.220 say that the celebration of Poseidon is what led to the celebration of Saturn 00:05:32.220 --> 00:05:39.600 the Saturnalia in Rome which was a very very crazy time more crazy than in 00:05:39.600 --> 00:05:44.820 ancient Greece very nice so that's basically the history that everybody 00:05:44.820 --> 00:05:49.100 celebrated this time of year for 00:05:49.130 --> 00:05:55.910 welcoming of the Sun it was welcoming of the Sun it was a rebirth it was 00:05:55.910 --> 00:06:02.090 acknowledging the darkness and welcoming the Sun the days would start to become 00:06:02.090 --> 00:06:11.670 longer and in in the north in all tradition also the concept of the you 00:06:11.670 --> 00:06:18.930 the log egos for the same reason to welcome the light they would start the 00:06:18.930 --> 00:06:24.330 log on a fire they would start one end of it and they would wait until the 00:06:24.330 --> 00:06:30.690 whole log burned and legend has it that sometimes he would take 12 days so they 00:06:30.690 --> 00:06:34.110 had a 12 day so they had a 12 day celebration I sort of like the Greeks 00:06:34.110 --> 00:06:39.990 two months of drinking and eating cake a bonfire yeah but I also like the Norse 00:06:39.990 --> 00:06:45.810 mythology because they were eating a lot of meat today got a feasting feasting so 00:06:45.810 --> 00:06:51.180 so it basically is a time for party it is a time for celebration 00:06:51.180 --> 00:06:58.770 ritualistic celebration though celebration for a region excellent so in 00:06:58.770 --> 00:07:04.710 about two seconds we'll be back to talk about why it's great for the brain stay 00:07:04.710 --> 00:07:07.040 tuned 00:07:08.230 --> 00:07:13.220 do you like what you hear the Spartan mind strength podcast is available on 00:07:13.220 --> 00:07:18.980 Apple podcast and all other popular podcast destinations please subscribe 00:07:18.980 --> 00:07:21.920 today and consider leaving us a reading in Review 00:07:21.920 --> 00:07:27.560 it helps us spread the word and help others find our content don't forget to 00:07:27.560 --> 00:07:32.180 leave a comment and any questions you may have Tim and V would love to hear 00:07:32.180 --> 00:07:34.480 from you 00:07:35.710 --> 00:07:43.270 - traffic this is one of the ways that you strengthen your mind you create more 00:07:43.270 --> 00:07:55.979 grit more strength for your brain basically why ah because of the wine 00:07:56.850 --> 00:08:02.560 it's um first of all it's about community ah no 00:08:02.560 --> 00:08:09.490 matter which culture you are looking at and even in today's day and age this 00:08:09.490 --> 00:08:17.289 time of the year is all about celebrating within your community it's a 00:08:17.289 --> 00:08:23.860 it's a bonding it is actually acknowledging that we can only move 00:08:23.860 --> 00:08:33.729 forward we can only thrive if we view ourselves as part of a greater community 00:08:33.729 --> 00:08:41.050 and up and actually celebrate that accept that not fight that and this was 00:08:41.050 --> 00:08:45.490 the feasting time this was the feasting time yes was the acknowledgement of that 00:08:45.490 --> 00:08:51.670 they feasted they ate a lot yes so they were putting in good proteins good fats 00:08:51.670 --> 00:09:00.270 and some bad carbs and some bad carbs are to prepare for the time of fasting 00:09:00.270 --> 00:09:05.589 that was going to come because winner comes in you don't get as much food you 00:09:05.589 --> 00:09:10.450 have to fast exact time and actually they would almost hibernate to some 00:09:10.450 --> 00:09:16.060 degree so yeah it depends it depends which part of the world yes some parts 00:09:16.060 --> 00:09:22.540 they did hibernate some others they just kept going even with less yeah so they 00:09:22.540 --> 00:09:29.860 ate good food they also watched fire and fire is good for what a fire is good for 00:09:29.860 --> 00:09:36.010 your mitochondria yeah fire gazing see since the Sun was no doubt as much 00:09:36.010 --> 00:09:42.310 because the Sun is tremendous for our mitochondria they were actually having 00:09:42.310 --> 00:09:49.030 the bonfire since then so creating community eating good food watching 00:09:49.030 --> 00:09:55.390 gunfire's mitochondria what else was going on with this uh the the other 00:09:55.390 --> 00:10:04.380 thing was that they were actually preparing for a time of introspection 00:10:04.380 --> 00:10:11.980 because they right right right after the the celebration right after the feast 00:10:11.980 --> 00:10:19.960 along with the fast it was gonna be a quieter time and that was gonna give 00:10:19.960 --> 00:10:26.940 them the chance to actually reflect upon what had happened and what was coming 00:10:26.940 --> 00:10:34.000 because they it was it was almost like a meditation except they were not just 00:10:34.000 --> 00:10:40.600 sitting there to do it it was more of a non structured meditation that they were 00:10:40.600 --> 00:10:46.360 preparing for and it was necessary for them that's why they were able to also 00:10:46.360 --> 00:10:53.110 create all those things that we see today and make progress you have you 00:10:53.110 --> 00:11:00.430 have to have a balance of both you have to have the extrovert aspect and you 00:11:00.430 --> 00:11:07.600 have to have the introvert aspect and you can't have just one and it has to be 00:11:07.600 --> 00:11:15.160 cyclical and that's what that time of the year was it was that transition so 00:11:15.160 --> 00:11:18.760 in that transition was anywhere between twelve days to two months 00:11:18.760 --> 00:11:24.640 exactly exactly it depends because you have different cultures and this one 00:11:24.640 --> 00:11:29.590 into the Latin or into the Roman times also it came into this the Saturnalia 00:11:29.590 --> 00:11:37.750 yeah and the Saturnalia they were so that that that cyclical aspect was so 00:11:37.750 --> 00:11:45.430 dramatic that during those celebrations the their roles of the society were 00:11:45.430 --> 00:11:50.890 being reversed the slaves were becoming the masters the masters were becoming 00:11:50.890 --> 00:11:58.840 the slaves schools and offices were shutting down everything was becoming 00:11:58.840 --> 00:12:06.520 reversed in society to to actually show people that you know 00:12:06.520 --> 00:12:15.670 how things can be and actually how mother nature is mother nature works in 00:12:15.670 --> 00:12:22.570 cyclical ways it's all about dynamic balance nothing is strict and mother 00:12:22.570 --> 00:12:32.430 nature always gives us what we need at a time as long as we acknowledge it and 00:12:32.430 --> 00:12:40.600 accept it and use it it's the same with us when we say we go into a meditation 00:12:40.600 --> 00:12:48.220 or introspection what is that really it's it's actually us digging deep 00:12:48.220 --> 00:12:57.190 within within the darkest places of our soul and instead of making that hide 00:12:57.190 --> 00:13:04.350 even deeper acknowledging it owning it taking responsibility for it and 00:13:04.350 --> 00:13:11.620 changing whichever part we don't like or whichever part doesn't serve us but most 00:13:11.620 --> 00:13:21.240 importantly our community so meditation actually is not hiding things it's not 00:13:21.240 --> 00:13:25.270 suppressing that's what happens a lot in today's world that's why you have all 00:13:25.270 --> 00:13:33.460 those angry Yogi's too because what they do is they suppress well the Solstice 00:13:33.460 --> 00:13:44.020 concept says on that have your wine have your cake on that and prepare shed light 00:13:44.020 --> 00:13:50.770 to it with a bonfire to use it to use it for the greater good and actually 00:13:50.770 --> 00:13:58.060 Nietzsche did some work but he was looking at Apollo and Dionysus yes 00:13:58.060 --> 00:14:05.350 saying that the culture was destroyed in Greece they went too far in the mind yes 00:14:05.350 --> 00:14:12.750 and not enough in pleasure exactly they went to Apollonian and they forgot the 00:14:12.750 --> 00:14:19.930 celebration of the human experience Dionysos was teaching yes that's that's 00:14:19.930 --> 00:14:28.660 actually the downfall of ancient Greece and a lot of other societies so that 00:14:28.660 --> 00:14:35.590 this time of year is actually designed for us to get back into or get out of 00:14:35.590 --> 00:14:40.540 our brain get back into the enjoyment of the world of the human experience that's 00:14:40.540 --> 00:14:45.790 right that's what but we're talking about mind strength and you're telling 00:14:45.790 --> 00:14:55.230 us mine forget or what yeah yes it sounds like at first it sounds like a 00:14:55.230 --> 00:15:00.330 self-contradiction how can you strengthen your mind when you are 00:15:00.330 --> 00:15:06.910 getting when you quit using your brain or you started using your mind a lot 00:15:06.910 --> 00:15:19.740 less well in order to strengthen our mind we got to get out of our mind by 00:15:19.740 --> 00:15:27.190 out of our head yes we got to get out of our head because we think we think that 00:15:27.190 --> 00:15:37.270 we need to always be very very rational be very very logical we we feel that we 00:15:37.270 --> 00:15:50.080 need to always be in control of our mind but neuroscience has also showed that in 00:15:50.080 --> 00:15:59.650 order for us to understand our mind deeper to understand our mind better we 00:15:59.650 --> 00:16:09.810 need to let go of that control we have our conscious mind and we have our 00:16:09.810 --> 00:16:18.580 subconscious mind and our subconscious mind has a lot to teach us but we never 00:16:18.580 --> 00:16:27.820 get to it because we always operate out of our fully conscious mind we always 00:16:27.820 --> 00:16:31.829 use that prefrontal cortex that making decisions 00:16:31.829 --> 00:16:39.759 being logical being rational and we never fully understand ourselves because 00:16:39.759 --> 00:16:47.649 we either are afraid of our subconscious mind or we never we don't even know 00:16:47.649 --> 00:16:52.360 about it so the best thing that we can do this 00:16:52.360 --> 00:17:00.850 time of year is going back to what the ancients did and that is eat good party 00:17:00.850 --> 00:17:08.650 with your friends create community do a bonfire hang out and enjoy instead of 00:17:08.650 --> 00:17:11.770 thinking all the time exactly it's let go 00:17:11.770 --> 00:17:17.260 truly they let go may sound a little bit foolish because that's how it's used a 00:17:17.260 --> 00:17:25.089 lot of times but is truly let go of always trying to control everything 00:17:25.089 --> 00:17:31.210 always trying to understand everything my most favorite way to explain the 00:17:31.210 --> 00:17:39.669 concept of let go is through the Fight Club movie yes who wear the alter ego 00:17:39.669 --> 00:17:48.909 the older ego tells Tyler Durden ah just let go they are driving there they are 00:17:48.909 --> 00:17:53.850 in the car and history actually Tyler Durden tells him yes yeah 00:17:53.850 --> 00:18:00.700 the subconscious tells the conscious just let go it's like you could die any 00:18:00.700 --> 00:18:04.510 minute you all this could happen and you're still trying to control 00:18:04.510 --> 00:18:12.700 everything just let go that's one and celebrate the winter solstice happy 00:18:12.700 --> 00:18:18.220 winter solstice everybody until next time much much love from both 00:18:18.220 --> 00:18:24.539 of us namaste kala may we all be well 00:18:26.990 --> 00:18:32.880 if you found today's show helpful please give us a rating a review or both and 00:18:32.880 --> 00:18:36.090 subscribe to the podcast and never miss an episode 00:18:36.090 --> 00:18:45.120 as always namaste calab which in greek means may we all be well this program 00:18:45.120 --> 00:18:50.150 copyright true fitness incorporated all rights reserved 00:19:12.330 --> 00:19:14.390
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