Today December 21, 2011 at 10:30pm Arizona time will mark the winter solstice. It’s a time when the Earth’s northern pole is tilted the farthest away from the sun which generates the least amount of daylight in the northern hemisphere. In other words, it produces the greatest amount of time we spend in the dark.
For millennia, astronomical events like the winter’s solstice have held great significance to many cultures as evidenced through monuments like Stonehenge in Brittan and Newgrange in Ireland. As early as 46 BCE, Julius Caesar established December 25th as the date of the winter solstice. Since then, many cultures and religions adopted observances related to the winter solstice, including Christmas, Hanukkah, and Yule.
In nearly all traditions, the winter solstice observance revolves around the theme of rebirth and new beginnings, since the day marks the shortest day of the year and the return of more daylight. Yet, it is the time of greatest darkness that may hold the greatest opportunity for emotional and spiritual enlightenment.
Metaphorically, the subconscious as well as our creative and feminine aspects are linked to the night and the moon. In western culture, these aspects of ourselves are often repressed and subsequently feared, since that which is unfamiliar is ripe for misunderstanding and anxiety. Yet, for those who are brave of heart, I invite you to take this year’s solstice as an opportunity to begin to explore a deeper connection to your emotional and spiritual bodies, which exist as sure as your physical body does.
The process is simple. There is really nothing to “do”. You only need to “be”. It starts by sitting quietly, in the “still of the night” if you will, as you listen to the soft whisper of your inner voice guiding you with a wisdom beyond your own. Yet, for many this by itself is a daunting task in an age of electricity that literally turns night to day and further represses our creative subconscious. To be still and gaze into the darkness is so unsettling that many choose to avoid it, reinforced by society’s mantra of “just do it”. For those willing to try, change that mantra today to “just be it” and see what can happen.
It’s likely that you’ll discover a feeling of relief as if the weight of a great burden has been lifted from your shoulders. Your body will physically relax and your blood pressure and heart rate will likely lower in response to this new relationship to your being, rather than doing. It will feel like a more natural state of existence. After all, we call ourselves “human beings” right? When was the last time you were called a “human doing”?
In this simple exploration, you can experience directly the connection between your physical body, your mind and what ever you envision as your spirit or greater consciousness. In my experience of working with a variety of clients over the years, increasing one’s awareness of this relationship is directly proportional to the increased level of wellness one experiences in their daily life.
So take what ever time you can spare on this day of rebirth and renewal to shine your own light into the dark recess of your awareness and discover new connections to yourself. Embracing the darkness today, can help you become healthier and feel more vital in the daylight of the months to come.