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We received a long, dark Winter Solstice last night. This occurs when the earth is tilted on an axis and the northern hemisphere leans farthest away from the sun. An ancient definition of solstice is “standing still sun,” but it is also thought to be the rebirth of the sun, which coincides with Christmas, the birth of the Son. Ancient cultures believed that sunlight would not return unless they performed rituals and vigils on the solstice.

For us, it still can be a magical time, full of introspection and contemplation. Many still regard it as a night of spiritual ritual and reconnection. Though it does not come with the notoriety of Christmas, Hanukah, or Kwanza, it still is regarded as a deeply meaningful date–one to celebrate rebirth, renewal and appreciation for the coming light after the dark.

shutterstock_471052571Solstice and winter is a time to turn inward; to face the darkness and unknown. Look to your intuition and trust your inner voice. Think of it as you being in a dark room and feeling your way when you can’t see exactly where you’re going. This is a time to reflect on all that has happened and what may come.

Falling in line with embracing the darkness is learning to let go. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.” Chase the darkness away in your own way whether it’s writing down things you want to do away with in your life and then burning them, or simply recognizing them and making a mental note to make a change. “Hello darkness, my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again,” sang Simon and Garfunkel. Greet darkness and sit with the feelings that arise.

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This is also a time for celebration! It’s the holidays, so decorate your home, spend time with loved ones, and make sure to take some time to take care of yourself. It’s easy to get wrapped up in buying gifts and jetting around, and can be difficult to remember to be grateful. This is an ideal time for considering what you’ve learned, goal-setting, and next steps.

“The Solstice is a time of quietude, of firelight, and dreaming, when seeds germinate in the cold earth, and the cold notes of church bells mingle with the chimes of icicles. Rivers are stilled and the land lies waiting beneath a coverlet of snow. We watch the cold sunlight and the bright stars, maybe go for walks in the quiet land. . . . All around us the season seems to reach a standstill — a point of repose.” – John Matthews

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