Today marks the Winter Solstice in the Northern hemisphere, the longest night of the year. In Chinese Medicine, we would consider this the time of the year most associated with yin energy. It’s dark, cool and drawn inward. Similarly, Winter is the season associated with the water element. Water runs deep into the earth for nourishment before the onset of Spring, when the wood element comes to life.
These reflections in nature are found throughout Chinese Medicine and many other ancient wisdom traditions. They are there to help guide us and remind us that we are intimately linked with the natural world. Culturally in the western world, the holidays have many of us focusing outwardly on gifts, parties, end of the year work loads, gatherings and all forms of doing. What is really needed during this time is the reminder to reflect, rest and keep a more internal gaze.
Ultimately, we are here to experience the full range of existence, both times of darkness and full expression of light. There are gifts for us in both. We need both. Rest and activity. Reflection and guided action. Intuition and knowledge. Moon and sun. Essentially, these are all aspects of yin and yang.
Now is the time to gather your energy in the depths of the Winter Solstice and enjoy the stillness that it brings. In Latin, the word solstice refers to the sun standing still. Remember that after the darkness, the light returns and the cycle starts again as we move towards the fullness of the Summer Solstice, yang energy.
Just as you cannot take a full breath without a complete exhalation, you cannot stand in your full brightness without a deep experience of darkness. It’s beyond one experience being good and the other bad. It’s “both and” as you move forward towards integration in your being.
Here are a few ways to honor yourself and the Winter Solstice today:
- Spend a few moments in silent meditation
- Complete 21 cycles of deep breathing
- Journaling to reflect on what you are releasing from the past year
- Journaling to plant seeds of intention for the new cycle
- Light a candle to honor the light that shines within
Blessings for the Winter Solstice! If you found this helpful, please share!