Solstice greetings one and all – six months on from publishing The Winter Passing and with midwinter the background to a major moment in the story I thought it was time to share some more thoughts (but not spoilers) about solstice in the story.
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I wrote back at midsummer about symbology and what solstice means to the Morrigan but as the wheel of the year turns again I’m thinking more about what midwinter means particularly.
Solstice in The Winter Passing
“…I mean it’s not as if midwinter solstice has extra significance for someone looking to do no good is it? Oh no, just a regular old day…”
The Winter Passing takes place in the run up to, and on midwinter. The solstice ceremonies are key moments in the year for the Morrigan, linked to their power and their role in the world. As dawn rises on the shortest day it is Centaury, who is at the centre of the story told in the novel, who must find a way to bring back the light, leave behind what no longer serves, and herald a brighter future.
The Morrigan ceremony is described in the novel – the place on their island home they go to, how the head of the bloodline and heir symbolise night and day, the light and the dark. While magic exists in the world they inhabit, and is normalised in the magical community, it isn’t something recognised by most people for what it really is. For years the Morrigan had played on this curiosity but ignorance and allowed normal people to come to their island home and watch the ceremony – seen as a quaint old ritual, a performance put on to delight and intrigue. Hidden in plain sight they worked their power, watched but not seen.
This reflects a theme running through the novel – what you think you see and understand isn’t always the full reality. Our experience of the world is unique, our personal perspective shapes how we understand it, and adding magic doesn’t always make things easier.
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