The solstitial feasts (from “sol” sun et “stare” stopping) correspond to the celebration of two privileged moments of the star moves in the sky. Feasts of sun and light, they are symbolized nowadays by the night fires of the summer Saint John and the log burning in the chimney around the winter Saint John or Christmas. Symbols as rich as they are old, they are in close connection with the realization of the being.
The two Saint John were solstitial feasts traditionally associated with the double face Roman God, Janus. He was, at once, the warden of the two solstitial gates (from the Latin
janua which literally means gate) related to both phases of the annual cycle of the sun and the Master of initiation into the “mysteries”:
- Summer solstice Saint John refers to the initiation to “little mysteries” producing a being centred in himself and really human. The outer fires of the summer Saint John are as many sources of the visible light, which is only a pale reflect of the true invisible Light.
- Winter solstice saint John recalls the initiation to the “great mysteries” where the individual has rejoined not only his own centre, but the Centre of the world. The inner fire of the log in the chimney symbolizes the supra-individual Light of the being fully accomplished or total.
The custom of lighting the log with a brand of the former Summer saint John's fire refers to the subordination of the human to the total being state. The visible light in connection with the first state is totally included in the spectrum of the invisible Light related to the second. The total being does not exclude the human being, he incorporates him.