The winter solstice is something I’ve never paid much attention to, however, after a particularly tumultuous year, I felt called to dig deeper into its meaning and significance. During my search, a post came across my Facebook feed, accurately depicting everything I had been feeling and sensing.
During the past few weeks, I had been desiring alone time and a quiet space to process the darkness of the past year. My usually extroverted self tired amongst the crowds. I felt like slowing down. This is when I finally saw the solstice for exactly what it is meant to be—a gentle reminder that even on the shortest day of the year, the light will return, and continue to return. And that it’s okay to just be.
This year, the solstice coincides with the full moon, reminding us there is always light to illuminate even the darkest of days.
When I read the following passage, I felt instantly at ease. Happy Winter Solstice, everyone. Here’s to brighter days ahead.
“Life is being drawn into the earth, painlessly descending down into the very heart of herself.
And we as natural human animals are being called to do the same, the pull to descend into our bodies, into sleep, darkness, and the depths of our own inner caves continually tugging at our marrow.
But many find the descent into their own body a scary thing indeed, fearing the unmet emotions and past events that they have stored in the dark caves inside themselves, not wanting to face what they have so carefully and unkindly avoided.
This winter solstice time is no longer celebrated as it once was, with the understanding that this period of descent into our own darkness was so necessary in order to find our light. That true freedom comes from accepting with forgiveness and love what we have been through and vanquishing the hold it has on us, bringing the golden treasure back from the cave of our darker depths.
This is a time of rest and deep reflection, a time to wipe the slate clean as it were and clear out the old so you can walk into spring feeling ready to grow and skip without a dusty mountain on your back and chains around your ankles tied to the caves in your soul.
A time for the medicine of story, of fire, of nourishment, and love. A period of reconnecting, relearning, and reclaiming of what this time means brings winter back to a time of kindness, love, rebirth, peace, and unburdening instead of a time of dread, fear, depression, and avoidance.
This modern culture teaches avoidance at a max at this time; alcohol, lights, shopping, overworking, over spending, bad food, and consumerism.
And yet the natural tug to go inward as nearly all creatures are doing is strong and people are left feeling as if there is something wrong with them, that winter is cruel and leaves them feeling abandoned and afraid. Whereas in actual fact, winter is so kind, yes she points us in her quiet, soft way toward our inner self, toward the darkness and potential death of what we were, but this journey if held with care is essential.
She is like a strong teacher that asks you to awaken your inner, loving elder or therapist, holding yourself with awareness of forgiveness and allowing yourself to grieve, to cry, rage, laugh, and face what we need to face in order to be freed from the jagged bonds we wrapped around our hearts, in order to reach a place of healing and light, without going into overwhelm.
Winter takes away the distractions, the noise and presents us with the perfect time to rest and withdraw into a womb like love, bringing fire and light to our hearth.”
~ Brigit Anna McNeill