Published on New York Spirit
The sun is getting bleaker; the white snow and the grey skies are covering up the whole landscape. The heart is seeking different hues other than the predictable monochromes. Maybe that’s why we wear all the bright, colorful shades in winter. Even though we want to hurry up and make it to spring, there must be a reason why this season comes into our lives. Everything in nature has a purpose!
The December solstice marks the longest night and shortest day of the year for the Northern hemisphere. It is falling on December 22 at 4:48 UTC. So, for New York, it is December 21st and for India, the 22nd. The winter solstice is a phase of spiritual enlightenment through the language of cryptic symbols. This day is the celebration of return of hope as the sun makes a turn to the longer daylight. Although, it will still be few months until spring, the journey has started.
Throughout the world, we can find numerous folklore which indicate the significance of this day. In an esoteric sense, the sun’s cycle represents our soul’s growth in consciousness. The rebirth of sun has symbolic meaning in all cultures through the birth of divine spirits in this period: Horus in Egypt, Mithras in Persia, Jesus at Christmas, Gwion in Celts. Druids celebrate Alban Arthan on this day; there is a tradition of reading poetry and eating pomegranates in Iran, and Guatemalans have a ritual known as polo voladore, or the “flying pole dance”, in which three men climb to the top of a 50-foot-tall pole and perform a risky dance to the music of flutes and drums.
When the sun sets on the winter solstice, its rays align perfectly with the central Altar stone and the Slaughter stone of Stonehenge. Thousands of people visit every year to witness this mystical event. Similarly, during the sunrise on the winter solstice, the sun illuminates the main halls of the Newgrange monument in Ireland and Maeshowe in Scotland. Two gates at the Goseck circle in Germany cut into the outermost circle align with the sunrise and sunset of the winter solstice. One of the buildings in Tulum, Mexico contains a small opening at its top that creates a star-burst effect when the sun rises on the solstices. Many researchers have inferred that these monuments were built to celebrate this special day of the year.
The winter solstice encourages us to face our fears, encounter our darkness and shadows and triumph over them all gradually. Each one of us goes through the same cycle of learning lessons, yet in many do in diverse ways. Our beautiful bright moments come only after facing a dark phase. The dark phase is the birth of a powerful event which is yet to unfold in our lives. And when it unfolds, we will blossom, we will shine–just like the spring sun.
This period is the time to gain wisdom. To understand the depth of the black nights; the power of compelling dreams in the long peaceful sleep, to be in the trance of imagination and creativity, to discover sacred darkness inside each of us which will gradually make us heal our wounds.
Fill your home with solar vigor with symbols of the sun.
Light candles at night; sit for few minutes silently looking inward. Forget the chaos around you. Just reflect deeper within you. Who are you? What is it that you are here for? Reflection is important. You won’t get an answer on the first night, but slowly you will realize that your subconscious self will begin the true journey you are here for. You will feel that after few months.
Sit with your partner in the darkness, holding his or her hands. One candle around your space. Close your eyes. Feel the warmth of those hands. Think of how you met and all the ups and downs you faced together. Think of joys, laughter, pain, sadness and the struggle. Everything you made, rebuilt and everything you are still building. The love, the sacrifice, the bond, the smile amidst those tough times…all. When you come to the present moment after traveling your beautiful journey, and a tear trickles down your face, know that you both are on a transcendental journey together. This phase of solstice is a birth of a coming spring, you will see; just hold on. Just be together and you will pass through this, too.
Even though it is a time to go deeper within ourselves, it is also a time to lift our energies by letting go of what doesn’t serve us in those meditative moments–be it the old wounds and pain or the stubborn box of thinking we trap ourselves in. Celebrate the lightness by being cheerful. Get festive; decorate your house with nature and candles and seasonal decor. See how truly joyful it feels!
May the light of the winter solstice brighten your lives with wisdom, courage and determination!