Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter Solstice- a time for introspection

Today is the winter solstice and shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Due to the tilt in earth's axis, the sun is shining directly over the Tropic of Capricorn- its southern most point. Now the sun's migration changes direction and begins to move north again. Our days will start to get longer tomorrow.

In pagan and earth-based cultures, the Winter Solstice is a celebration of the feminine and the goddess. They celebrate this time of maximum darkness to awaken and acknowledge the unbridled power of the dark element in nature and themselves. The dark element represents the feminine, primal, yin, internal, rest, night, cool, dream, and receptive.

The Winter Solstice is when the dark element's dominance over the light element hits is peak and begins to wane. It surrenders to the light element. The I Ching, Hexagram 24- "Return/ The Turning Point (Wilhelm-Baynes translation) describes this, "The time of darkness is past. The winter solstice brings the victory of light." And later in the hexagram, "Therefore seven is the number of young light, and it arises when the number of six, the number of the great darkness, is increased by one. In this way the state of rest gives place to movement."

In one tradition of the Native American medicine wheel, Winter solstice represents the place of the north. It is a time of introspection for us to go inside and evaluate our life over the last year. It is our year's existential crisis where we soul-search what is truly important to us. We can then assess whether we have been living our life consistent with what is important to us. If not, it indicates that a change is necessary for the new year.

So what is most important to you? Is the way you are living your life in harmony with that? If not, it may be time for an adjustment or change for the new cycle. It is, after all, the perfect time of year to reinvent your life.

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