This beautiful description was written by our dear sister and collaborator Samut Abata.
There is a time and place for all things under the sun.
A time to rest
to grow, and
The winter solstice marks the time of a new beginning.
The winter solstice represents the turning point of the solar cycle. On December 21st we experience the shortest day and the longest night. The word solstice is Latin for “Sun stands still,” as the Sun appears to stop moving once it reaches its position in the southern or northernmost part from the equator, and the angle between the Sun's rays and Earth's plane appears to stand still. On December 25th the sun is reborn as the first day of its upward trajectory, manifesting longer days - Christ - the light + mas - increase - gives us the the holiest of holidays - Christmas - where we celebrate the return of the light. As the Christmas songs say, it is indeed the most wonderful time of the year.
The winter solstice also represents a turning point in the cycle that governs our spiritual development. This period where we experience the shortest days of the year also offers the greatest opportunity for illumination if we turn within. These four days are magical. Magic, as defined as turning nothing into something, or something into something else, is possible during this heightened state of abundant yin, symbolizing profound possibilities and the unlimited ability to manifest our dreams, drawing from the rich soil of night.
The winter solstice is all about how we align with and manifest peace, joy and our visions for the future.It is an opportunity to harmonize with the cycles of nature - to renew, to revive. It is a time to commune with the goddess of nature, as well as the divine spirit dwelling within us all.
So how can I use the winter solstice to support new beginnings in my life?
The goddess of Nature works her magic through cycles and the cycles of nature are regenerative by design. There is a time to sow and a time to recap. The seasonal change marked by the winter solstice indicates that the harvest is complete and we now select the seeds that we want to sow, as well as identify the "pests and weeds" that we will prevent from growing in our garden.
This is a time where we can gain the insight required to see the vicious cycles in our lives and to imagine the virtuous cycles that will propel our lives toward abundance, peace and joy. The reason that this time of year is special is that it represents the maximum level of inner illumination. The darkness and decrease in solar energy in the external environment supports that ability to see within. It is akin to being able to see bioluminescence on the darkest days of the new moon. When we can go within and deepen insight, we have the opportunity to shed light on what it is that we really want, what it is the we really need - to see things clearly - to have an epiphany.
This is s time to consider fundamental questions in your life:
What would our lives reflect externally, if we no longer had inner conflicts?
What if we could we manifest in the world by mastering our emotions so that instead of manifesting stress, fear, worry and grief, we could automatically, without conscious effort, manifest peace, resonate joy, experience gratitude and reverberate wisdom and spiritual power in response to all situations in life?
Identifying your vicious cycles
We use the winter solstice to take stock of our inner garden. To identify, without negative judgement, where the weeds remain and celebrate where they have been removed. We then identify the root causes that perpetuate vicious cycles in our lives. These vicious cycles are the patterns that result from inner conflicts that have not been resolved - where the conviction to change the pattern is not rooted deep enough in the psyche to rewire the vicious circuit.
We know we have an inner conflict when there is a distinction between what we want (or what we will to achieve) and our ability to execute in order to manifest that desire in our lives. A cycle is vicious when it is extractive and degenerates instead of regenerates.
For example, the success of a new business enterprise requires that we maximize our executive functions and have a vitalized life force to sustain the energy required to manage multiple moving parts and mitigate risk. This requires presence of mind and those who are best at it often have a strong pre-frontal cortex. While we understand this intellectually, there is a vicious cycle present in our psyche:
At this stage you have the option to choose a response that perpetuates a vicious cycle or propels a virtuous one - what will you choose?
Respond to a situation of conflict with a stress response that uses the adrenalin generated by the sympathetic nervous system to generate the tension and energy required to “address" the conflict.
Succumb to fear that the conflict will happen again which manifests as worry
Uses alcohol or desserts to chemically alter the body to support manifesting a relaxation response and/or to generate joy, resulting in a degraded pre-frontal cortex, fogging thinking, a devitalized life force
Devitalized life force and degenerated prefrontal cortex from alcohol and sugar intake detracts from the presence of mind and vitality needed to support launch of new business.
The winter solstice is a time to reflect on those thought patterns in your life that are resulting in a devitalization of your life force. What are the ideas that you implant in your mind that depress your life force? Do you believe that people, circumstances and conditions in your external environment are required for you to be happy in life? That external circumstances are the cause of stress, anger and heartache? If you answered yes to this question that means you have given your power to others. This is a weed thought that when it takes root in you mind will trigger a vicious cycle where if the person, place or thing that you association with stress is present, you will become tense, you will release cortisol into your bloodstream, you won't be able to think clearly and you may take an action that you will later regret - like eating that chocolate cake even though you are on day three of your 10 day commitment to detoxifying your body.
Imagining your new virtuous cycles During the winter solstice we have a heightened ability to not only identify vicious cycles but to imagine a new virtuous one. Consider the old cycle a weed seed that you will dig up at the roots and the new virtuous cycle that you imagine will become the seed of regeneration that you will implant during the solstice. A helpful visual is planting a corn seed that has the ability to produce multiple ears of corn, generating hundreds of new seeds. Or an orange seed that has the ability to become a tree, producing blossoms, sweet fruits and new seeds for continually regeneration
Next you need to rewrite that vicious cycle, to flip it into a virtuous circuit that connects ideas and images that will produce a peace response instead of a tense response.
Conflict encountered At this stage you have the option to choose a response that perpetuates a vicious cycle or propels a virtuous one - what will you choose?
Goal: When you encounter the person, place or thing that was a source of stress - instead of linking them to tension - link them to peace.
Notice that your body is experiencing tension and will yourself to relax.
Take time to slow your breathing - breath in for a count of four, tense your lower abdomen as you breathe out and chant Aung to a count of four. Repeat this breathing four times, while in the situation.
Mentally recite a truism that you have memorized. For example:
"I am grateful that my nature is a peace that no thing, no one, no thought can shatter. I am 100% in control of my emotions. I choose to radiate the healing emotions of peace, gratitude and joy to bring harmony to this situation.”
Next feel yourself smiling inside, radiating love from your heart, (and if possible) have a smile on you face because you have been victorious.
Do the opposite action that you took during the vicious cycle (i.e., instead of arguing, walk away from the situation and/or instead of reaching for sweets/alcohol, engage in a behavior that will strengthen your life force - drinking green tea, going for a run, etc.)
Next imagine yourself enjoying a situation that you have long wanted to manifest in your life, one that sparks joy for you and is a source of nourishment/abundance for others.
When you imagine this new cycle, understand that you are imagining in the ever present - in the now - which is all that exists. The release of tension is strengthening your vitality and allowing you to be fully present to intuit a win/win solution to your challenge. At this imagined moment, you are healing yourself. In the moment, you are divine. So chart a new course within your psyche that enables you to be well now. Be happy now. Be joyful now. Use the magnetic energy of this cycle to attract these energy states perpetually.
In conclusion, the winter solstice is a time to use your imagination and bioluminescence to remove the old, worn-out ideas that you no longer want to manifest. To dig them up at the root and to plant a new seed thought and image in the soil of our imagination. This is the opportunity and promise of the solstice. Take the time to be the creator of your personal universe of peace and joy. Be one with the sun, moon and stars as the sky stands still. Design the turning points that will bring a fulfilled life, full of virtuous cycles that generate a radiant life force full of joy and unlimited potential. Use the winter solstice to give birth to the divine spark within to bring the imperishable star to the earthly plane so that we may all shine - together.