Winter Solstice: Its Request of You, and Yours of It

Rebecca Grace Kehl – revised copy for December 24, 2016

Mistletoe / holly: "Ancient druids believed mistletoe had magical properties because of the way it grows, never touching the ground and without taking nourishment from the earth... The tradition of kissing under the mistletoe at Christmas comes from the belief that mistletoe has fertility magic." (Photo by Christopher Furlong)
Mistletoe/Holly: “Ancient druids believed mistletoe had magical properties because of the way it grows, never touching the ground… The tradition of kissing under the mistletoe at Christmas comes from the belief that mistletoe has fertility magic.” Photo by Christopher Furlong

More and more people are learning about the Solstices and Equinoxes, and how they are the original holidays and celebrations of which modern holidays, like Christmas, and all it’s flashing lights and noise, were created.
Let’s revive what this time of year was about for so many before the modern, debt-incurring, anxiety-stricken, younger sibling came along.

This year the Winter Solstice happened on December 21st. In all honesty, t’were my students who told me about it 3 days ago as I smelled the paper money burning outside the school wafting into my classroom at 2pm.

These solstices were important to people for crops, and ultimately, survival. So, there was a lot of thanksgiving and praise for things more powerful than human existence.

Solstice is a time of darkness (not evil), of yin, stillness, and contemplating the year that has passed. It’s a time for planting seeds and ideas, wishes and desires for the coming spring so they may germinate under ground and begin their unobserved growth.  Dreams, like seeds, need to push down roots and have inner nourishment and attention paid, so they can grow sprouts after the last snows have thawed.  And so now is a time of getting to know what you want for the coming year, and allowing inner growth that will come to be in the new year.

It’s not a time to exhaust yourself by:
~ pushing yourself when you don’t feel like it
~ perfection
~ feeling you have to do something, otherwise you’ll look bad
~ trying to cook and dress to impress as if you feel like it might not be good enough if you don’t

4 women winter solstice

“We have generally taken our energy away from our inner worlds and poured it into the outer.  But the inner world is where we need to reclaim our lush forests, our mossy knolls, our dreams.  When there is warmth, and moisture, and light, and soft nights again inside, nurtured by care and attention and self-love, we will thrive again, and the world around us will too.   So you have to ask yourself, what is the nourishment my inner world needs in order to grow lush again?  Is it … a book you need to read, or more hot baths or laughter, or crying, or walks in the rain?  Without a plan, without knowing how you would live this out next week or for the whole year, what does your body, your animal self, need or want right now?  Right this second does it want to lie down?  Does it want for you to kick off your shoes, or to feel warm water rushing down your skin?  A deep breath?  Does it want to eat something, or something hot to drink?”
— Jennifer Posada

Here is what you can do to really make use of the solstice:

  1. Congratulate yourself! 🙂  Make a list of all your accomplishments and growth in 2016. Can you feel your sense of pride about yourself growing? You did a great job this year! So many of the things you put your mind to, you did! I’M SO PROUD OF YOU!
    Put this list where you can see it. Celebrate you! Feel your greatness everyday for a couple weeks.
  2. Make room:
    – For 3 days, go through your house and find a few things each day to give away, donate, sell, compost. It could be clothes, old papers, clutter, and especially objects that remind you of experiences and people you don’t want to be reminded of. Take them outside your environment and feel your energy rise.
    – Let go of negative emotions like disappointments. Do a ritual or meditation to clear yourself spiritually and emotionally. For example, on a piece of paper, write the experience you had that you want to let go of, and rip the paper up! Maybe burn it! Perhaps flush it down the toilet! 😉 Feels better already.collect-stones-in-the-land-for-a-path-to-somewhere
    – Lastly, let go of people who haven’t been treating you the way you would like. Or just being honest with them about their behavior.  They can have the chance to shape up.  Or shape out.
  3. Planting seeds:  What would you really like in 2017?  What is planted deep in your heart that needs sunlight, warmth, and water? Sit with yourself for a solid hour and ask yourself what you truly want. Write them down, the minute and the profound. For myself, I want to buy land with a home in my home country of Canada and practice permaculture and land restoration on it with the man of my dreams. I also want to continue practicing Wingchun and plants trees. These are a couple of the profound ones. But, what do you want?
  4. Take Small Steps Over the Winter: Pour over the seeds you are planting… What do you need to nurture your seeds? Any steps to take, paths to walk, things to learn? Start now, a little at a time.Both winter and summer solstices are a time for rest and stillness. Gain energy, relax, and enjoy the peace and quiet you can cultivate within and grow around you.
thought seeds
A thought or desire is a seed. Periodically revisit to add water and sunshine. Just allow it to grow, and it becomes a plant. Later, a bush or tree with flowers & fruit to share with all.

Happy Winter Solstice!

Rebecca Kehl

Canadian expat enjoying the beauty and people of Formosa. Interest in healthy living, animals and trees, and finding ways to de-plasticize our daily lives. Writer, teacher, salsa dancer, wellness enthusiast, coffee-lover, daughter, true friend, human, soul, stardust... ;)

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