Makar Sankranti and the Winter Solstice

Solstace and Equinox image[I was recently asked in a study group] to write something about the approaching Winter Solstice celebrated in India as its most important cosmological ritual, the Makar Sankranti. As most of you will know by now, the Solstices and Equinoxes are the balancing points of our journey, both individual and collective, around the Gnostic Circle. Indeed, we reproduce the movement of the Earth in its revolution around the Sun on the basis of the laws of correspondence in which “a day equals a year”. The Solstices and Equinoxes mark off the four divisions of the 24 hour day as Dawn, Noon, Sunset and Midnight. Those of you who have observed your passage through the Circle on the basis of these divisions will appreciate the accuracy of this Cosmic symbolism and also the indispensable need of an accurate measure to insure the correct starting point of your journey.  The need of a true measure becomes even more important when applied to collectivities because even a slight inaccuracy can make the difference between Dharma and Adharma, truth or falsehood.

India, as you know, suffers from an adherence to an old and inaccurate system of zodiacal measure known as the Sidereal or Nirayana system which uses the Constellations as the basis of its measure.  According to the Nirayana system and its progressed Ayanamsha or Zero point, the Makar Sankranti falls on 14 January, some 23 days/degrees from the actual Winter Solstice, shortest day of the year. The true measure, according to the Vedic sages, is based upon the Tropical or Sayana system which uses the unchanging  Ecliptic measure to mark the Sun’s passage from sign to sign and season to season. According to the Sayana system, this year’s Makar Sankranti will occur on 21 December at 5:25 pm. At this very moment the Sun will move into the Cardinal sign Capricorn; the days will begin to lengthen and the light will begin to increase.

As important as the cyclic measure is to our study of the Cosmic Harmonies, there is another, more hidden aspect of the Makar Sankranti which relates to the occult dynamics of Contraction and Expansion or the convergence of directions known as Involution and Evolution. We know for instance that in the months approaching the Winter Solstice, the days grow shorter and there is contraction of the light. We might imagine this contraction as an involutionary pressure  compressing  things toward a “Point” or Seed which will then evolve after a certain threshold in Time has been crossed. Since the Convergence conference in September and the Autumnal Equinox, we have observed this process of contraction or compression first hand in both the global credit crash as well as the Mumbai attacks. And now, with the approach of the Makar Sankranti, we are nearing that point of reversal and an increase of the light. One can only imagine what events lie just ahead but to me the greatest gift Thea has given us is to be able to SEE whatever happens in the context of these eternal Cosmic Harmonies.

Robert Wilkinson
9 December 2008