Thursday, December 21, 2017 at 16:28 GMT heralds the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. The Winter Solstice is an astronomical phenomenon that takes place when the earth’s axis (North Pole) is tilted the farthest away from the sun for those residing in the Northern Hemisphere, resulting in the shortest period of daylight with the longest night. During this time, the sun is located directly overhead of the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere and is closer to the horizon than at any other time in the year, which creates the illusion that the sun is standing still. In fact, the word “solstice” is derived from the Latin word “solstitium”, meaning “sun standing still”. For those who live in the Southern Hemisphere, their December Solstice results in the longest period of daylight with the shortest night, and the Winter Solstice will take place on June 21, 2018. Remember when one hemisphere is experiencing summer the other is experiencing winter - they run opposites.
This longest night of the year beckons us to turn our point of observation inward. Cold weather and shorter periods of daylight assist us in focusing our energy into the very core of our being, creating the ideal atmosphere for introspection, contemplation, and reflection of our inner universe. One way to do this is by performing a simple, yet impactful, meditation practice that redirects the stimulus of the external sensory organs back into the chakra system, therefore, enlivening vitality and cultivating vast amounts of pranic energy. Following the list below, begin with the sense of smell and instead of experiencing the flow of energy from the nasal passages/olfactory receptors (including association with the limbic area of the brain) to extend outward into the world of the senses, guide the flow of energy to return the the Muladhara (root) Chakra and sense or perceive the energy expanding and renewing this vital center of survival and security at the base of the spine. When the Muladhara Chakra feels recharged, move on to the sense of taste and the Svadhisthana (sacral) Chakra.
|SENSE||CHAKRA||ESSENTIAL OIL FOR BALANCE|
|Non-Physical||Sahasrara (Crown)||Lotus, Blue Lotus|
|Sight||Ajna (Brow)||Clary Sage, Bay, Helichrysum, Sandalwood|
|Sound||Vishuddha (Throat)||Eucalyptus, Amber Cashmere|
|Touch||Anahata (Heart)||Rose, Bergamot, Thyme|
|Intuition||Manipura (Solar Plexus)||Rosemary, Ginger, Lemon & Jasmine|
|Taste||Svadhisthana (Sacral)||Ylang-Ylang, Musk|
|Smell||Muladhara (Root)||Myrrh, Cedarwood, Red Amber|
As the Winter Solstice delineates the beginning of the astronomical winter, this also signifies that the time is ripe for Shadow Work: facing our fears, exploring the aching depths of our hearts, as well as wading into the deepest, darkest aspects of our personalities; it is through this process that we learn how to truly accept, love and nurture the totality of who we are in this incarnation.
What is Shadow Work? Any time that we ignore, hide, or bury the aspects of ourselves that we are uncomfortable with, we are denying elements of our shadow selves and no matter how hard we try to suppress them, these traits will eventually resurface and express themselves in a myriad of behaviors that are usually neither helpful nor healing-ful (although sometimes highly amusing and intriguing). Have you ever had moments where you did or said something that almost felt like the reasonable, kind, or loving part of yourself had gone to sleep and some other part of yourself was running the show? Instead of seeing, acknowledging, and taking responsibility for these disowned traits, many times we unconsciously project these qualities onto others, which are then reflected back to us as a mirror for self-awareness. Until we choose to confront and reintegrate these shadow pieces of our personality, we are caught in a miasma of suppression, projection, blame, and creating additional suffering for ourselves.
There are many ways to approach Shadow Work that can actually be creative and enjoyable! Begin with any practice or activity that makes you feel calm, clear, and centered. Next, choose one shadow aspect of your personality to work with and enter into a dialogue with it, giving it a voice and means of expression through journaling (or recording) a story about the evolution of this aspect of yourself - it can be serious, action-packed, suspenseful, humorous, or any exhilarating combination you can imagine. One example would be to identify the first time you remember this trait expressing itself in your life and be the author of your own heroic journey, guiding yourself from the negative influences of this “character flaw”, to the lessons that have been learned along the way, and the deeper truths that have been revealed about yourself in the process. This process turns enemies into allies, and transforms the unfamiliar, obscure, and unsettling shades of our personalities into gifts of the Soul.
Winter Solstice also connects us with the continuous rhythm of renewal and rebirth, as we approach the end of one cycle or season, and the beginning of a new one. Reflecting upon the sacredness of our relationships, the commitments we have made to ourselves and others, contemplating our spiritual agreements, noticing where we have been focusing our time, energy and attention, and revisiting or setting healthy boundaries, all serve to bring closure where it is needed and to prepare for the birth of a new season of our lives. One of my favorite ways to do this is to bundle up, make a steaming mug of hot tea or cocoa, sit outside and connect with mystery and the awesome revelatory nature of the night sky. As the luminous glow of the moon and stars emerge and then are seemingly consumed into the yawning darkness of the celestial sphere, it serves as a reminder of the incredible vastness, contrast, and cyclical harmony of life.
At the end of the longest night dawns the New Sun, where we begin to manifest our dreams, intentions, goals, and mission for the upcoming year. There are many powerful ways to call in the Light and energize our intentions: creating a vision board, meditating on a meaningful image or a candle flame, gathering with family and friends to celebrate and share intentions, attending a spiritual circle or drum event, the possibilities are as numerous as the promises of the new season...
May the magic of the Winter Solstice guide you through the long night of the shadow and the heart of darkness, to be reborn as the radiance of illumination that you truly are.
Walk in Beauty,
For another look at how the seasons affect us, look at Brook's Vlog on Balancing Your Energy Through Nature's Seasons here.