- Julie Hannon, Shaman
Winter Solstice — 3 Practices for This Sacred Time of Year
The days here in the Northern Hemisphere are short right now. The nights are long and dark. That doesn’t need to feel bleak. Don’t get bogged down in darkness. This is a time of wonder, a time to turn inward. It’s a time to release. It’s a time to find comfort in the stillness and the dark, and a time to find all the glorious light within you.
We are preparing for the sacred Solstice and honoring both the light and dark within you. Which is getting more attention — light or dark? Neither is wrong. I often find challenges with the darkness. This year not as much. I’m noticing the light this year even on these darkest days. What are you noticing? Honor your own experience.
Embrace the Darkness
You can start with the dark outside. It gathers early. Walk under the stars and moon. Sit by a fire under the night sky. Notice the natural world in this season. Notice how much color there is in the dormant world. Notice the feel of the earth under your feet. Has it changed since fall or summer? Notice the feel of the air and the smell. What are the sights and sounds, smells, and feels of the world around you at this darkest time of year?
Mary Oliver said:
Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.
Can you find the gift in the darkness?
Go to the darkness inside. I invite you into your sacred center. Breathe into the darkness there. We all have darkness within. We can sit with it, know it is part of the balance, and notice how much light there is even when things are darkest.
Release the Old and Clear your Chakras
With the approach of the new year, we often think of new beginnings—goals, new habits we want to take up, new ways we want to be. In the earth-based traditions, Solstice is a time of the new year coming. Before we bring in the new, we release the old.
What are you ready to release? You could write it on paper and release it to fire. Pair the light of burning wood with the physical practice of release.
Prepare your system for the season change. If you’re ready to release old habits, old imprints, and unhealed wounds, turn some attention to clearing your chakras.
What will you release? Honor whatever needs to end and what is beginning.
Welcome the Light
Winter Solstice marks a change, the return of the light in the Northern Hemisphere. (I shared thoughts on the Summer Solstice and the shortening of the light that could apply to those of you in the Southern Hemisphere … or any of us. The light keeps shifting.)
Welcome back the light by lighting candles or enjoying a bonfire. Welcome back the light each day as a bit more lingers. Welcome back the light by slowing down and noticing.
Welcome back the light by finding your light within. Meditation can help.
Where is your light right now? Welcome it, with gratitude.