Agni, the Sacred Fire, and the Winter Solstice

The winter solstice, December 21, marks the rebirth of the Sun in its journey through the year. The Sun represents our inner Self as the Divine Light in yogic symbolism. This means the Sun at the winter solstice is its child form, which is Agni, the flame of the sacred fire. That small Divine Flame then grows and expands through the increasing length of the days to the Summer Solstice and its highest light.

This movement from the small flame to the vast Sun symbolizes our soul journey from darkness to light, from the shadowy material world to the boundless light of universal consciousness. Such sacred fires can be done at any time, but are especially powerful during this renewal time of the year. Another good date is the full Moon coming up on December 26.

Agni as the Divine Child

Agni at the winter solstice indicates the birth of the Divine Child of Light. He is equated with Skanda, the second son of Shiva and Parvati, who has the nature of fire and removes all the forces of darkness. Agni symbolizes our inner flame or Consciousness (Chidagni), the Jivatman or individual soul, the reincarnating being.

The time of the winter solstice is that of the sacred fire with many sacred fire rituals throughout the world, particularly in indigenous cultures. The fire is also the messenger to the Devas and allows our communication with them.

Honoring Your Sacred Fire

There are many ways for us to honor your sacred fire. This can be as simple as burning a special fire outdoors. Traditional cultures have their sacred community fires. In Vedic traditions there are many special sacred fires, yajnas and havans, some performed in elaborate ways. Such fires are built with special wood and given special offerings along with special mantras.

You can simply light an oil or ghee lamp, or candles. But remember to honor the sacred fire. Energize it with your intentions, what you want to achieve for the year ahead, not just in terms of outer gains but in terms of inner realization, insight, creativity and illumination.

We can also make inner fire offerings into our flame of consciousness within us. We can visualize the Agni in the root chakra and draw it up to the spine, becoming a flame at the top of the head. We can use the mantra OM on inhalation to draw the Agni up to the top of the head. Then we can use the mantra HREEM on exhalation taking it down to rest in the spiritual heart.

May your inner Agni awaken in this season of renewal! May your flame of higher aspiration rise up to new heights. May you connect to all the Agnis within you of body, prana, senses, mind, intelligence and consciousness. My you connect to all the Agnis of nature as fire, lighting, sun, moon, stars, and the secret lights hidden it the plants, minerals, and every aspect of this universe ruled by light!

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