As above, so below; as within, so without.
As the universe, so the soul.
Winter often gets a bad rap. A season defined by darkness, its arrival beckons heavier coats, warmer fires, and longer sips of coffee. It replaces the vibrant hues of fall with a sharp, dreary land-scape. The tips of branches newly bare whistle overhead, cold winds prickle the skin, and gray clouds mimic a collective energy that, from the outside, is drained of color. Yet underneath this veil of monotony, new life is building the strength to surface. Nature is having a little party underground--one that will become visible to us only with the passing of time. It's with the sudden flourish of spring's blossoms that we are reminded of the true theme of winter: hidden growth.
The winter solstice marks the astrological kickoff of the season, when the sun hangs its lowest in the sky and daylight is at its shortest. Historically, the start of winter has brought with it a foreboding wave of challenges. A period of desolate farming and hunting conditions, winter's coming used to signal days spent rationing food supplies and fighting off the Spread of disease for many. At the same time, the occasion also symbolized brighter moments to come. After all, once the sun reaches its lowest point, there is no where to go but up.
So although right now, we are drawn to be indoors more, staying warm and conserving our energy, there is an awareness that the return of the sun is coming, and with it, new life and new adventures. As you stand on the threshold of the next six months, you may like to reflect on what you wish to draw into your life.
The Season’s Significance
Under the Chinese five-element system, each element corresponds to a season (with early and late summer being split into two), so seasonal changes such as the solstice have far-reaching, profound effects. Winter is water-in all its engulfing, mysterious glory. It's a time to embrace stillness, celebrate sensitivities, let the tears flow, and address the senses that lie beneath the surface. It's a moment to look within, conserve energy, and take on the liquid’s ability to mold to any vessel.
Energetically, winter is yin (feminine and fluid) as opposed to yang (mas-culine and domineering). It is a slow time to conserve your strength. According to Chinese medicine, water corresponds to the kidneys and bladder, which are linked to the systems that cleanse and moderate what we discard from the body. Metaphorically, this is our cue to gain clarity and get rid of anything that's not serving us. It's also a time of profound planning. Similar to the new-moon phase, it is a blank canvas on which to manifest your intentions, get clear on what you want, and prepare to bring your dreams to life.
The Winter Solstice is a time of reflection and renewal. There’s an invitation here to take a moment out of our normal lives to be still and connect to the bigger picture of where we are in our journey.
This makes the Solstices the perfect times of year to review and energetically release the twelve months you have just journeyed through, and call in what you want to experience over the coming year.
WINTER IS A TIME TO . .
- Slow down, reflect, and start this year from the inside out.
- Acknowledge where the past year has led you.
- Ask yourself what you really want to call into your life.
- Get in touch with your emotions by listening to music that makes you cry.
- Drink hot tea in bed.
- Make your home into a sweet spiritual sanctuary.
- Keep your inner world bright, no matter how harsh your outer one gets.
- Eat warming foods.
- Light candles- lots and lots of candles.
Winter rituals are all about inner refl and quiet progress. They'll remind you that change takes time and nothing happens overnight, while also challenging you to discover and get to know a new part of you. Even more important, they'll teach you to be kinder to yourself, physically and emotionally, so you have the strength to wipe your slate clean and prepare for next year's work of art, knowing full well that it's going to be even more stunning than the last.
I hope that the transition into this season brings you great relief, joy, prosperity and light.