The Winter Solstice: A time to celebrate, a time of re-affirmation, and a time of courage.
Although winter is the season of dormancy, darkness and cold, the December Solstice marks the “turning of the Sun.” The days slowly get longer.
Celebrations of the lighter days to come, and nature’s continuing cycle, have been common throughout cultures and history with feasts, festivals and holidays around the Winter Solstice.
In modern times Christians all over the world celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas Day, which falls on December 25.
Some believe that celebrating the birth of the “true light of the world” was set in synchronization with the Winter Solstice because from that point onwards, the days began to have more daylight in the Northern Hemisphere.
Christmas is also referred to as Yule, which is derived from the Norse word jól, referring to the pre-Christian winter solstice festival.
Yule is also known as Alban Arthan and was one of the “Lesser Sabbats” of the Wiccan year in a time when ancient believers celebrated the rebirth of the Sun God and days with more light.
Feast of Juul
The Feast of Juul was a pre-Christian festival observed in Scandinavia at the time of the December Solstice. Fires were lit to symbolize the heat, light and life-giving properties of the returning sun. A Yule or Juul log was brought in and burned on the hearth in honor of the Scandinavian god Thor.
A piece of the log was kept as both a token of good luck and as kindling for the following year’s log. In England, Germany, France and other European countries, the Yule log was burned until nothing but ash remained. The ashes were then collected and either strewn on the fields as fertilizer, every night until Twelfth Night, or kept as a charm and or as medicine. Schools were closed. Wars were interrupted or postponed. And slaves were served by their masters.
Just as a seed must generate a plant or a tree in the deep darkness of the soil, let us see this time as generating new growth for our times.
As I think about the “turning of the light” or the increasing light into the Darkness, I can’t help but reflect on the opportunity of our current times. It seems the world is under pressure, a pressure to find our deepest values and live them.
For me, the polarization used as manipulation in the mainstream media has left a visible effect on the collective experience with fear-based thinking being our “test” for the end of 2015.
The crazy energy of the holidays is counter to the actual message brought forth in ancient traditions as well as the Christian Story of Jesus’s birth. Many have turned away from the wild energy of the last few weeks to re-build a sense of center, and to reflect on the Grace that surrounds and permeates all of life.
As we see above, the “turning inward” used to be celebrated at Solstice, and for me it is a time of re-affirmation and courage. As we all explore the opportunity we are given in the challenges of our days, I want to say let’s have more curiosity and less judgment.
Let us stay in Discovery.
Let’s allow our curiosity to lead to new innovation and creativity. Curiosity is the natural state of inquisitiveness that drives us to explore and improve through creative thought and action.
Obviously, if we can stay in the moment and breathe deeply, living in response rather than reaction, we can navigate difficult times with emotional maturity. When we pause, and turn inward, we can also allow the grief that is natural when so much tragedy on the world stage is hammering us.
“The Peace that Passeth Understanding” comes forth when we dive deep enough to get to the essential level of ourselves and of life itself. And surprisingly, we come out celebrating and finding that our breakdowns can lead to break throughs.
Sometimes the light must illuminate the darkness in order for new awareness to realize, sometimes painfully, where imbalances lie.
I have realized over the past few months, that if I can stay in the moment, there is no fear. The fear is always about the future or the past. Being present in the moment, often allows for grace, and celebration when I expected something bad to happen.
We each have the opportunity to grow in awareness daily. As the doors of perception are cleansed by courageous seeing, we can begin to address the imbalances with intelligence and love.
We at Growing Spaces® send our best wishes for the closing of this year, and the dawning of the light in 2016.
We celebrate each and every family or client we have had the pleasure of meeting in 2015. Our privilege is to see all those who are making healthy lifestyle choices include our Growing Dome® as a help toward living their dreams.
Blessings and Gratitude to you all.
Puja Dhyan Parsons