Our ancestors had a sense of how the natural cycles of the earth affected their health, strength, survival and spiritual growth. They honored their environment and were grateful for the abundance of the earth. Being aware of the changes of the seasons and the light meant survival for the community. Although our modern world does shield us from the cold and darkness of the winter, it also inhibits our connection to the rhythm and pace of our natural world and our natural way of being.
You may think that you are an evolved, modern human being. And you may be. But…you are living in a primitive body. For instance, you are wired for a flight-fight response to perceived danger. Your body may perceive danger while you are driving or when you are in unfamiliar places. You may perceive danger while processing your emotions during a visit with your family at the holiday season. These reactions help you to survive.
Besides the internal signals affecting your physical body, you are also affected by the rhythms of nature and the changing light. Your body is aligned with the circadian rhythms of the planet which circulate throughout a 24-hour period. Why is that important? Circadian rhythms can influence your body. Your natural sleep cycles, hormone release, eating habits and digestion, body temperature, and other important bodily functions are all affected by light and darkness.
Are you aware that the first day of the winter season, on December 21, is the shortest day of the year – the longest night? Our ancestors knew. And they celebrated that day. From the ancient Egyptians and Celts to the Hopi—winter has been a significant time of ritual, reflection, and renewal. Throughout history, this was a time to go inward, to create meaningful rituals to nurture the soul. It was a time to cultivate deeper relationships with self, friends and family. These ancient cultures understood that our fundamental experience of reality was one that is spiritual in nature. The ceremonies and teachings focused on bringing one closer to a fully awakened state, towards enlightenment or ascension.
The winter solstice celebrates the longest hours of darkness which are followed by a renewal of the sun, the cyclical order of the cosmos. This rebirth of the sun is believed to hold a powerful energy for regeneration, renewal and self-reflection and a knowing that our lives are part of something that is always changing, always renewing.
This is a time of quiet energy. This is a time where you get the opportunity to look within and focus on what you want and need. It’s a time to set goals and intentions for the coming year, to examine and let go of your past. It’s a time to make changes within yourself. Reflect on your whole self, including the parts that you keep hidden from others – your shadow self. Acknowledgement of your own darkness is powerful. It opens a door of communication between conscious and subconscious. Ask yourself, “What am I ready to release? What do I need to leave behind in the darkness?” And then ask yourself, “What do I want to bring into the light? What do I need to create?”
Embrace the darkness. Reflect. Think deeply about yourself, your past and your future. Turn inward. Realign yourself to making progress in your journey.
#solstice #longest night #creativity #reflection #renewal