Winter Solstice/Yule...Embracing the Darkness and Welcoming Back the Light
For me, the Winter Solstice is truly one of the most magical times of the year. Although our ancestors celebrated this special time for thousands of years, for many it is essentially ignored due to the hustle and bustle and the demands of consumerism and overindulgence. At this time of year, for many of us, daylight is only glimpsed through the windows of our workplaces. We go to work in the dark and return home in the dark. Our inner selves are craving more rest, more sleep, and more silence. Added to this is the stress of the cultural Christmas holiday that has us making endless shopping lists and standing in long lines to purchase more "stuff". The constant advertisements on television and social media push the message to buy, buy, buy! It is an emotionally and physically exhausting time of the year and can be filled with pain and/or loneliness for some. Many are searching for ways to reclaim the magic of the season and more importantly...how to share that magic with our loved ones. We can look to our ancient roots to rebuild what our culture has lost and forgotten.
Winter Solstice and the beginning of the Twelve Days of Yuletide falls between December 20th & 23rd. On this Mid-Winter's Eve, darkness is dominant as we embrace the darkness of the longest night and shortest day. It is a very ancient practice of honoring the return of the sun after the longest night of the year. The return of the sun brings hope and the promise of ongoing life, the coming warmth, and the reawakening of the earth. In ancient times, this was a time for going within, a time for storytelling by the fire, a time for quietness and planning for the future. Nature has embraced the silence and the slower pace of winter and Nature is our greatest teacher. The stillness of the earth, of winter, is medicine for all of our wounded spirits, our wounded hearts.
If we look deeply, there is a fragile and luminous beauty at this time of year like no other. Without all of the decorations, bright lights, and constant noise, we can see the true beauty that we're missing...the shapes of the trees, amazing sunrises and sunsets, the joy of making memories with others, the softly falling snow and the silence that it brings. And there is a wonderful bravery in each of us that rises again and again to live, despite our "death-dealing" culture. We struggle every day, each in our own way, to proclaim the coming of the light out of the darkest time imaginable. We are all Yule lights shining in the darkness. Whatever you celebrate at this time of year, spend some time in Nature, in solitude, and plant some "seeds" for the future. Find some nature crafts to do, adopt a slower lifestyle, and truly see the beauty and healing that is available to all of us.
What seeds will you plant on this Winter Solstice? What will you leave behind that no longer serves you?
Blessings of Solstice,