By Alicia Genna
“Tired eyes on the sunrise, waiting for the Eastern glow.” — Robert Plant
The winter solstice marks the end of the annual cycle of birth, growth, and decline. It is a time of hushed darkness, internal rewiring, and deep meaningful dreams.
The days approaching the winter solstice are of dim, shallow light. The nights are prolonged and “the beads of time pass slow.” Movement that is unhurried, steady, and calculated is characteristic of this time. It is a turning point marked by a bone-penetrating cold that gives birth to warmth again — the midwinter moment from which new life seeds. From this deep mood, the days are reborn and slowly begin to grow. It is Yin transforming into Yang in nature.
Solstice derives from the Latin “solstitium” which means stopped, stationary, or still. Though there is always movement in nature, to the naked eye, the sun appears to be suspended in the sky during this time. Here in New York, the sun makes a bashful appearance above our horizon for a mere nine hours.
The darkness, slowness, and deepness should encourage us to remain quiet, still, aware, and reflective. This is a time to meditate, for as perspective is most profound in the winter of one’s life, so will be perspective at the end of the seasonal cycle. We are in a space between death and rebirth, the most mysterious place. You can find volumes of knowledge here.
In this time surrounding the winter solstice, go to sleep early and rise later, as hibernation is the way of winter — let the sun’s rays warm the atmosphere before you expose yourself to the elements and let your dreams fill the night. Find respite from your stressors — allow the best potential for your immunity by decreasing its antagonists. Pamper your body, mind, and soul with slow practices — Epsom salt baths, warm massages, hearty broths, meditations, and introduction of rituals.
Following the solstice will be a new beginning. Continue the practices discovered in your wise, old season. Continue to listen to and nurture yourself. From this point forward, the darkness will recede. Replant yourself into the world on the best platform as the sun slowly begins to take the stage again.
Oh, and don’t forget… “dance in the dark of night, sing to the mornin’ light.”