What Does Winter Solstice Mean to Me?

Winter Solstice occurs on Dec 21st. This is the shortest day of the year. In Minnesota, where I live, the sun will rise just before 8am and set by 4:30pm that afternoon, leaving us just over 8 and a half hours of sunlight.  This may seem like a strange thing to celebrate, but our ancestors did celebrate it. Just as they celebrated the Summer Solstice in June. Let me share with you what this day means to me.

Winter Solstice is the celebration of the return of the Sun. After this date, the days (amount of sunlight) will begin to grow in length. This is why Christians decided to celebrate Jesus’s birthday at this time of the year, the return of the Son. Back in a time when there were no electric lights, it must have been a great thing to know that the amount of daylight would soon increase in length.

For me Solstice means:

  • Hope: I realize that we have turned the corner and are heading for more light and the return of warmer days. If the cycles of life provide for improved daylight ratios, as well improved temperatures, why would I not believe that anything and everything else can improve too. For me Winter Solstice is a celebration of Hope.
  • Duality: There is also Summer Solstice that is the longest day of the year. Duality exists in all aspects of our life. There are times to cry and times to celebrate. Dark times and light times. Time to play and time to work, as well as a time to be young and a time to be old.
  • Patience: The seeds are laying dormant under the earth. They are patiently waiting for spring when they can stretch and start to grow. Everything has a season and this is a season of waiting.
  • Reflection: This is the time of year to go within and learn more deeply who we are, What can we change about ourselves and what should we embrace.
  • Strength: A strong will is required to survive the winters of old. To me, Solstice is also a celebration of the ‘force of will’ to persevere through the cold and dark winter months, knowing that in time, the sun will return.
  • Rest: The fields lay dormant. The work is done until the snow melts and the seeds are ready to be tended. Of course this is no longer the reality for most of us. We work just as hard in the winter, but the quiet dark days encourage us to rest.
  • Purity: The white blanket that covers the earth in the part of the world where I live, makes me think of purity. The white snow glistens when the sun shines on it. We are all pure. We are all worthy of love. We are good. We are enough.
  • Family: Because of all of the gatherings of family and friends (that feel like family) at this time of year, I feel Solstice also symbolizes this love. That warm feeling you get in the heart when you think of those you are bonded too.

Whatever this time of year means to you, I wish you a very Happy Winter Solstice. Look forward to the Sun returning and the daylight hours stretching in length. Be still within yourself and allow this time of year to reveal its personal meaning to you. It is a magical time of year.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May the cycles of life give you comfort, as if by magic.

*Photo was taken in Brentwood, TN.

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What Does This Time of Year Mean To You?

During this time of year, between Thanksgiving and the New Year, there are many different holidays that are celebrated depending on your faith or your family heritage. What does this time of year mean to you? Do you like it or does it make you feel stressed out? Do you have a strong sense of community or do you feel more alone than the rest of the year? Does it bring back fond childhood memories or does it bring feelings of sorrow and loss? I think over the years I have felt all of these various emotions at sometime or another during December.

If you go way back before the birth of Christianity; people celebrated holidays according to what they called the wheel of the year. Winter Solstice, which happens on approximately December 21st, was a celebration of the light returning. The days getting longer again. The wheel of the year was based on the farming year. This time of year was considered a time for rest and reflection. It was not a time to start new things, but rather a time to evaluate how the last year went and what to do differently when the Spring Equinox rolled around again and it was time to start preparing to plant the crops. That being said, many of our ancestors used this as a time to go inward. It is in such contrast to the busy hustle and bustle of the holiday season of today. For many this is the bushiest time of the year. Many people pick up seasonal jobs to pay for the gifts they have to buy. Holiday parties and get-togethers fill up all of your free time. There is shopping and baking to be done. Lists to make and check twice. Children are in holiday plays or other performances. It is all very busy and much more focused on community and others, rather than that inward journey.

Please be aware that if you are feeling like it is all too much, this just might be the ancestral roots within you. They may be calling to you to say; “shhhh, just be quiet for a bit now”. They may be asking that you rest, gather your strength, and prepare for the spring. Having clear communication with others, when it gets to much, can help you set boundaries for yourself around this. Have a dialog to clearly express what you need during this busy season. Perhaps you want to delay that get-together until after the first of the year, when your calendar is open. Maybe it is setting limits on gift giving or, as I said on a friends post, “giving the gift of not having to exchange gifts” with someone. You are not alone. Many people are feeling the stress and expectations this season places upon us. My hope for you is that with clear communication and firm boundaries, some of the stress of the holiday season can subside and you can return to reflecting on what does this season really mean to you. How do you best want to enjoy this season?  There is much beauty in this time of year. Find the peace to be able to enjoy it.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May the peace of this holiday season infuse you to the core, as if by magic.

*Photo was taken in our back yard

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