“Now we light candles and rejoice as they burn, and dance the dance of the sun’s return!” (From “The Lord of the Dance” – Traditional Song)
By the middle of October, it’s very noticeable that Nature has begun to withdraw her energies and turn inwards for a period of rest and reflection over the coming winter months. The long nights and dark mornings reflect this, as do the leafless trees, the lack of vegetation and the hibernation of certain animals. The ancient Celts understood that the earth needed to sleep in winter in order to regenerate her energies after all her efforts in the previous seasons.
Throughout November and December, the sun sinks lower and lower on the horizon. Then comes the Winter Solstice which takes place on December 21st. This marks an important turning point where not only do we in the Northern Hemisphere experience the longest night and the shortest day of the year, but also, most importantly, Planet Earth tilts on her axis causing the sun to appear to climb higher and higher in the sky each day. Winter Solstice was a very auspicious time for the ancient Celts and much feasting and celebration took place because they believed the Sun had overcome the darkness and was being reborn They burnt huge logs called Yule logs to symbolise the increase in light and feasted and made merry because they knew that spring was coming and that would bring new growth and plentiful food. Many of our Christmas celebrations are based on these ancient Solstice traditions, like bringing evergreens into our homes to symbolise life, bestowing gifts, and gathering together friends and family
The change in Nature’s energy output is often reflected in our personal energy at this time of year, and we may become aware of tiring more easily; or have a sense of slowing down. We may not want to do some of the things we usually do and therefore accomplish less. We may go through patches of believing that nothing is happening and that our lives are a bit dull. It’s often a time when we may lose heart, forget our courage and strength, or feel sad and lonely and empty.
When and if this happens, we’re simply experiencing the darkness that comes before the light. This is a time when we may enter into the mysterious and shadowy unknown where it’s hard to see where we are. In the same way that familiar objects assume strange shapes in the gloom, making it difficult to see what they are or find our bearings, in this season we may sometimes struggle to hold our balance or feel the security of the earth beneath our feet.
Winter is a period of gestation – of waiting in the darkness before moving forwards and into the light again. When things are shrouded in darkness, we no longer see their separateness because they all merge into one. But however uncomfortable and scary this might feel, remember there’s always a positive side to it. So, if you feel you’re wandering around in a shadowy inner winter landscape, what’s happening is that you’re going through a period of integration which is actually GOOD STUFF! Just go with it and trust that what you’re doing is “composting” various thoughts, ideas and experiences from previous months and remind yourself that this process is providing fertile and nourishing ground for new things to emerge in the spring. It’s as if you need to lose your way before you find a better route; or feel a sense of loss before you are able to realise just how much you have.
When life gets uncomfortable and you lose your way, there are always things you can do to get back on track again. Those of you who have read my book “Finding the River” or who have been keeping up with my Newsletters and Blogs will, by now, have learnt countless different ways of helping yourself to get back on track and move into a more positive frame of mind. Aside from the many different exercises I’ve taught you over the months and years, there’s also the indispensable technique of EFT to fall back on to dissolve difficulties and negative thoughts. Also, giving yourself Reiki is one of the best forms of TLC around. It will soothe your energies and help to bring you into greater sense of well-being. If you haven’t learnt one or both of these techniques yet, maybe that’s something you could build into your list of Things to Do in 2014!
If you are suffering from feeling a bit stuck or stagnant or you’re finding it hard to manifest the things you are setting your sights upon, remember that just because you can’t SEE anything happening, it doesn’t mean that nothing is going on!! Think about all those roots and bulbs buried in the earth outside which are now beginning to sprout new shoots deep underground ready to burst forth in spring. When you look outside into your garden, it may appear to be just a green soggy mess, but below the earth and out of sight, a great deal is happening.
It’s exactly the same for you! New things are in the process of growing towards their time of birth. Despite the darkness, we still continue to grow, and fresh insights and perspectives and understandings will come with the return of the light in the spring.
Why not tune into the vibrations of the Winter Solstice and let yourself be uplifted by thinking about those roots and shoots inside you which will be responding to the growing light as we move towards spring? When you have a lull over the coming festivities – perhaps gazing into the burning embers of a fire, or enjoying a walk in the crisp air – try reflecting back over the past year, making sure you pick out the most positive aspects of it for you. Make a note of where there’s been a shift for the better, clearer understandings, a spurt of creativity, new views, etc., etc. and write a list of what you find. Notice where there’s been a release of guilt or anger or resentment, where you’ve let go of some old baggage, and where you can see there have been beneficial changes. You don’t need to have had spectacular achievements to prove you have grown. The smallest shifts can make a huge difference. Remember: “From little acorns great oaks do grow!”
Tune into the lengthening days and allow your heart to lift with the increasing light. Rejoice and celebrate the return of the sun/Christmas/ Solstice/New Year or what you will. Give thanks for all the good things in your life and give your blessings to all people and things which are important and dear to you.