When one of the Earth’s poles is at its maximum tilt away from the sun, we experience what’s known as the winter solstice. Sometimes referred to as midwinter, this moment marks the shortest period of daylight and the longest period of night. The solstice itself occurs in just a specific moment (usually falling between December 21 and 22 in the Northern Hemisphere), but the term itself refers to the day it happens. From the moment we pass the solstice, the length of daylight increases as we make our way to our next milestone, the spring equinox.
Symbolically, the winter solstice represents the death and rebirth of the Sun. It’s a reminder that even though we can experience some of the darkest moments in life, the light will always return. Every belief system acknowledges this idea in some way. Every path of deeper understanding recognizes the everlasting light that is within us and shares this through their own stories and traditions. Christians celebrate the birth of the saviour (light) at Christmas, the Jewish observe the Festival of Lights during Hanukkah, Hindus celebrate the Sun during Makar Sankranti (marking the end of the month with the winter solstice), Iranian people have Yalda Night (longest night of the year), and of course there is the Pagan tradition of Yule, where most of the Christian traditions stem from.
This time of year, regardless of what you celebrate, is a time to go within. During the winter solstice, the world around you is turning inward. Plants and trees go dormant, animals hibernate, and everything slows down. We even experience this in ourselves: we spend more time at home, we get tired sooner and may even feel the need for more sleep.
When we tune into the natural rhythms of nature, we turn into our natural ability to grow, to transform, to heal. But the pressures of our high-tech digital world pushes us to do more. Social events are at a high when our energies are feeling low, and the pressure to spend and buy and give (outward energy flow) is strong when the natural rhythms of nature are telling us to receive and nurture ourselves (inward energy flow).
Let’s be clear here, none of the festivities of the holiday season are bad, in fact the social aspect can help lift our spirits when our energies are pulling us down, but there needs to be a balance between how much we give to others, and how much we give to ourselves.
We’re about four weeks away from the winter solstice, and already many of us are feeling the need to go inward. Tomorrow I’ll share with you three things to do during the winter solstice season that will help you nurture yourself and set you up for a prosperous new year.
Want to spend the Winter Solstice weekend with me? Click here to find out how!