Today is the Winter Soltice, the day when the sun is the furthest away from the northern hemisphere. At 11.44 today to be exact. Way in the north of Sweden, the sun doesn’t even go up for 24 hours. But from tomorrow, the familiar hot ball of heat starts getting closer again and we move towards the light and from January 1st it’s visible in the sky at some point all over Sweden.
Moving towards the light is a big deal for the dark countries like Sweden. In Swedish folklore, the winter solstice was a dangerous night when animals could talk and supernatural spirits appeared. Animal sacrifice was common to appease the gods and beg them to bring the light back. Today’s not as extreme as that but it is a topic of comment -on social media, in coffee rooms and on the cover of most newspapers who emblazon the phrase ‘now we’re going towards lighter times’.
It’s astronomical but also metaphorical. After all that’s happened this autumn and winter, it feels positive that the forces of light are gaining more strength.
For a while at least.