On Thursday 21 June 2018 The Winter Passing will officially be published and I’m talking today in a bit more detail about the solstice symbology in the novel.
Available for eBook pre-order now the paperback will be available shortly. The date of publication is relevant within the story with the Morrigan’s being particularly tied to solstice and as with other symbology this is explicitly and more subtly woven throughout the story.
As I don’t want to post any spoilers I thought I’d just share a little about the symbology and importance of solstice, and some of the qualities it is often linked with.
Summer solstice symbology
Not to get too basic but solstice happens twice in a calendar year and is also known as midsummer and midwinter. From an astronomy perspective it is when the sun reaches the most northerly or southerly points in the celestial sphere. Occurring in June and December along with the equinox it’s a date we form the seasons around and for many have spiritual or special meaning.
The summer solstice – also known as Litha – is a thought of as a time of renewal and intensity but there is much other solstice symbology. It is often linked with or represented by fire – itself a symbol of renewal, action and clarity.
For the Morrigans – the bloodline at the centre of The Winter Passing – key points in the calendar are linked to their magic, and are marked in special ceremonies. While The Winter Passing takes place in the run up to and on midwinter (the shortest day, considered as 21 December) Centaury Morrigan was born on summer solstice, 21 June and its qualities may be seen in her.
The House of Morrigan mark solstice with a ceremony at their island home. Before dawn they make their way to a sacred place, and for years the ceremony they perform has attracted tourists from both the magical and non-magical communities. Looked upon as performance, or quaint ritual there are few that understand the power behind it or channeled through those carrying it out but rather enjoy it as an entertainment.
Solstice has been marked by ceremony since the earliest days of humanity, across cultures, religions, and countries. Most broadly linked to path of the sun ceremonies take place in sacred spaces, communally or individually. The Morrigan then are just one group, one way, of marking this event and linking to it mystical (or in their case magical) meaning.
Solstice – both midsummer and midwinter – are key to the story of The Winter Passing but more widely in getting to know the House of Morrigan. And like other symbology and hidden meaning you’ll find them woven into the story and the series.
The summer solstice in The Winter Passing
Here’s an excerpt from the story as Centaury and her mother walk to the Morrigan’s summer solstice ceremony, on Centaury’s 13th birthday:
As we climbed between the slabs of rock I looked out over the headland at the flat outcrop toward which we were heading, its stone pillars standing like dark sentinels against the blue of the sea. My mother turned round, still smiling at me, and reached for my hand. As I took it I felt her heat as a shock against the cold of my palm, as comforting as it was uncomfortable.
She followed my gaze out toward the sea before looking back at me. “It’s going to be a beautiful sunrise Centaury. A beautiful birthday for you, my midsummer.”
She smiled again, the gleaming gold eye-shadow creasing around the corners, the pink, white and green of the crown soft against her forehead. She squeezed my hand, her smile turned to one of reassurance from the pride she’d looked at me with before, her voice serious. “Are you ready to stand with me at the Sanctuary of Gudemain?”
We both looked at the outcrop of rock in the sea, the thinnest line of white circling it where the surf broke. Beyond it on the horizon the sky was beginning to brighten, the first sign of dawn. She gave my hand another squeeze and smiled again, pulling me on along the path as she spoke.
Her voice was soft and melodic, like distant birdsong, “I remember my first midsummer standing at the Sanctuary. I was reluctant just like you are. But this is a very special moment Centaury. I can’t explain to you but you’ll see. You mustn’t be worried. Everything is about to change.”
The Winter Passing is available to order as an eBook and it’ll be delivered direct to your Kindle or Kindle App on publication day – 21 June 2018. Order your copy here.