It’s finally here! The Winter Solstice is this week and I am so glad. This year the Solstice is happening on the 21st at 9:30pm pst. This works out beautifully for me. So often the actual moment of the solstice it at a far less convenient time (like the middle of the night or while I’m at work), it’s nice to have it at a time when I’m normally awake and not busy. Now I just have to decide how I’m going to mark the occasion.
Over time my practice has evolved away from formal rituals and towards more simple, intuitive practices. While in the past I have done formal rituals (calling quarters, formal workings, offerings, etc.) to celebrate the Solstice, it just doesn’t seem quite right anymore. I think I’ll spend this solstice in meditation – I’ve got some internal quibbles I need to look at and I can’t think of a better time. Oh yes, this will be a shadow worker's solstice.
The Winter Solstice is the longest night of the year, which makes it an ideal time to work on themes of self-examination, exploration of blocks and negative emotions, banishing, and old wounds. I think I’ll spend this Solstice thinking about all the things that have held me back over the last year, things that have kept me from achieving my goals, and things that have left me unsatisfied. So many metaphysical practices focus on always looking at the light, being thankful for what you have, examining the steps to making things better that they forget that it’s impossible to move forward until you’ve fully addressed the hurts of the present.
I’m going to take the longest night and honour my wounds - my shadows. Yes, I’ve had some amazing triumphs this year and I’ve given my thanks for them, but I’ve also had to deal with an astonishing amount of pain and stupidity. The bad times are as much a part of our lives and are as necessary, if not more necessary, for our growth as the good times. I’m going to think about and honour the challenges I’ve faced. I’m going to look at the lingering hurts and self-doubts that they’ve created. I’m going to acknowledge them, figure out what put them there, and honour them. Those dumb insecurities are there for a reason and if I don’t accept that reason then I’m never going to get rid of them. If I don’t look at why things hurt me I’ll never learn how to address them (as opposed to just avoiding them). I’m going to look at my own weaknesses and appreciate what they can teach me about myself.
I’ll do all this sitting in the dark before the moment of the Solstice and then, just after the moment has passed (when the sun is as farthest from us) I will light a candle and appreciate what sitting alone in the dark has taught me. And then I’ll get up, turn on the lights and figure out how to move forward. Not the world’s most exciting Solstice, but a meaningful one.