These Halcyon Solstice Days

CandlesThere is an old Greek myth about ‘halcyon days’. The idea springs from a story about the halcyon (from the kingfisher family), about which Aristotle has this to say:

‘The halcyon breeds at the season of the winter solstice. Accordingly, when this season is marked with calm weather, the name of “halcyon days” is given to the seven days preceding, as to as many following, the solstice … The halcyon is said to take seven days for building her nest, and the other seven for laying and hatching her eggs.’

These words are from Celtic psychologist and storyteller Dr Sharon Blackie. (Read her post here.)

Sharon goes on to describe her Solstice practice of sharing stories for these dark days – seven days before December 21st and seven days after, when Earth begins her slow turn to the light. I’m adopting her idea for personal use. These cold dark days are fecund days for the human soul – days for deep discernment. I intend to honor them by setting aside intentional time each day to listen to the Earth, to the Holy, to my soul. I wonder what will emerge. Will you join me?

2 thoughts on “These Halcyon Solstice Days

  1. “the name of ‘halcyon days’ is given to the seven days preceding, and to as many following, the solstice; as Simonides the poet says:
    God lulls for fourteen days the winds to sleep In winter; and this temperate interlude Men call the Holy Season, when the deep Cradles the mother Halcyon and her brood.” (from: ) I tried asking google to ask Simonides “Holy to whom?” and decided they were holy to Dionysus, who watched over Theatre.

    Here’s a bit more info about the Greek myth:
    “The Halcyon days, a phenomenon also observed nowadays, has its origins in an ancient myth. According to one version, the goddess Halcyon, daughter of Aeolus, the ruler of the winds, insults Zeus and Hera. So, the father of gods transformed her into a bird and condemned her to lay her eggs only in the mid-winter. Consequently, the little birds were hardly able to survive. Crying and praying endlessly, Halcyon managed to make Zeus feel pity for her and so he decided to give her 14 days of good and calm weather in mid-January in order to lay her eggs in security. The Halcyon days were named after this Greek myth.” From:

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