Winter solstice marks the beginning of a new season with the shortest day and longest night of the year.
It’s a day in which the earth is positioned at her furthest point from the sun and the sun makes its lowest and shortest trek of the year across the sky. Solstice eve gives way to a dawn in which the rising sun’s light grows stronger and brighter with each passing day until it reaches its peak on the summer solstice in June.
This season, more than any other, reminds us that from the darkness comes light.
Winter makes evident that without periods of dormancy, there can be no renewal. It’s a potent teacher of the cycle of life, death and rebirth; A stern but loving wayshower who befriends and honors death, secure in the knowledge that from the ashes of all that passes, new life will spring forth. He’s a wisdom keeper who shows up to share the lessons of the season, no matter how difficult, so that we might become better equipped to participate in our own process of renewal.
It’s a time rich in healing potential.
Our job is to simply align ourselves with the core characteristics of the season and allow movement to give way to stillness for a time so that we can see and understand the potential that lies within- potential not unlike that of the seed burrowed into the frozen ground whose job it is to gather strength for the journey towards its blossoming in the spring. Like everything else in the natural world, we too are called to use this time to shore up our reserves in preparation for our own future flourishing.
It’s a season whose tendency is to challenge, confront and shine a light on what can and must change.
Inviting us to take time for contemplation, the solstice provides an opportunity to gain clarity on all that’s come to pass as the year culminates and lends itself to setting our intentions for the year ahead. Coming into alignment with the energy of the season brings us into greater harmony, balance and peace within ourselves and the world around us. I’ve designed a seasonal writing ritual to assist with this process.
Start by setting aside an hour in which you’ll be free from distraction. Create sacred space- a peaceful sanctuary that supports quiet reflection. Have your journal or notebook handy. Close your eyes, take a few deep cleansing breaths. Set your intention for how you’d like to close out this year and what you’d like to achieve in the year ahead by writing it in your journal. Then ask yourself the questions below. Allow time between each question to really consider your answer before recording it. Answer each question as honestly as possible.
– What do you need to let die away in order to create the conditions that will allow you to live more fully?
– Are you living courageously and in alignment with your deepest desires? If the answer is yes, record the ways in which you’ve been brave as an act of acknowledgement for taking those leaps of faith. If the answer is no, in what ways can you take greater responsibility for your own happiness?
– What can you forgive in yourself and others?
– How do you harm yourself? How can you heal yourself?
– Are you living in a place that feeds your soul? If not, what steps can be taken to change that?
– Is the work that you’re doing fulfilling? If not, how can you better align your work life with your heart’s path?
– What causes do you feel passionately about and how can you be more proactive in being the change you wish to see in the world?
Conclude this ritual by closing your eyes. Breathe deeply and slowly. Meditate on the process you’ve just completed for 5-20 minutes (set a timer if helpful). Once finished, make note in your journal of any insights, downloads or messages that came through. Lastly, give gratitude for the time, space and initiative you’ve taken to close out the year and begin a new one with consciousness. In a year’s time, look back on what you recorded in your journal today to gauge the progress you’ve made.