Winter Solstice – what in you wants to grow?


Every solstice, a small group of women, of which I am one, gather together to mark the occasion. In the summer, we meet in the early pre-dawn, walk down a beach track by torchlight and witness the sun as it rises on the longest day. We meditate, write words and phrases in the sand with driftwood and watch them dissolve in the foam, and then dive shrieking into the waves, before heading back for coffee and a shared breakfast.

In the winter, we gather around a fire and journey into the underworld in a visualisation, where we look at what we need to let go and what wants to be born within us. We drink chai, eat, and exchange gifts, and talk and laugh for hours, warming up the longest night of the year.

This is, I think, the 4th year we’ve been gathering like this, and the group has grown over the years from just three of us, to  seven. Mind you, you need to be dedicated to get up before 4am in the summer for our early morning ritual!

Those of you who have been reading me over the years will know of my frustration with most of our cultural rituals. As Europeans transplanted into the Southern Hemisphere, we’ve inherited a whole bunch of northern hemisphere cultural practices (Christmas, Easter, Halloween) which have strong seasonal significance – in the Northern Hemisphere. It feels so wrong to me to have a Spring ritual in Autumn, an Autumn ritual in Spring, and a Winter festival in Summer – it puts my teeth on edge.

The truth is, I identify less and less with our accepted cultural rituals. However, this poverty of options means I truly treasure our solstice rituals. I commit to them, because they provide an important gauge, a pause point throughout the year where I can reflect and check in with myself.

  • What do I need to look at? What may I be avoiding?
  • To what do I cling? What is holding me back from moving forwards?
  • What am I prepared to let go of?
  • What new growth is demanding my attention?
  • Where do I need to put my energy?
  • What seeds do I wish to sow?

This is not the time to rush out and DO anything. It’s still midwinter, and it’s not time to bloom. Send shoots up too early, and the frost could kill them. Instead, incubate your new kernel of understanding, that fragile discovery, whatever it is. Meditate quietly upon it, nurture and make space for it to emerge, naturally and in its own time, like a butterfly coming out of its cocoon.

I wonder, what is blooming within you?


 

8 comments

  1. Wonderful to read you, twice in a day! Hip hooray. Winter Solstice. I honored it quietly, solo this year. My son, under the floodlights of his soccer training looked quizzically at me when I spoke of the solstice…are you sure mum? it does not feel like it’s that dark yet. [artificial lighting] [also I think experiencing Europe short winter days last year has forever changed how we experience the darkness of winter]. A 2018 evolution of a Women’s Circle that has been gathering here in the King Valley in different ways over the past 15 years or so, has been to gather each Full Moon. It has been a wonderful deepening, still silence meditation as the full moon rises over the horizon, our conversations and connection enveloped in the soft moonshine overhead – often woven in with campfire light. Winters touch for me often asks two clear things; quiet nourishing, still, solo time, less out in community, more inner being in my close proximity. And then interestingly, but physically soulfully importantly, a commitment to active energetic well-being. So I am most often yoga-ing, jogging and in recent year or so group-fitnessing in the dark early mornings of winter. The union of the two has been my most nourishing seasonal combination yet. In answer to what is blooming within me…well a window of 2 months no work (the first this year) is opening back to my core work of being in nature in ways that are therapeutic to myself and others. This week, a step in speaking from this space – a new peer supervision project that I am involved in, is exciting and I cant wait to see and feel the flowering! X Kate

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    • Hi Kate! Twice in one day 😊
      I agree – winter does call for a more introverted response, and like you, I have also been inspired to keep active, walking or yoga ing most days. I’m working full time at the moment, so I need to keep moving, but also I tend to get a bit sluggish when it’s cold, so keeping moving fixes that.
      Thanks for sharing about your beautiful women’s group ❤️ meeting monthly sounds lovely 💙

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  2. You make some very good points. Being from the Northern Hemisphere originally, it has been quite the adjustment over the last 35 years. Even more important, I like your questions, which, for the most part are exactly what has been happening inside me the last few weeks. Thank you. It is comforting to know this is normal!

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    • Yes! I think if we are in the flow of nature and seasons, we will be naturally more introverted, and maybe a little dark, a little weary, a little doubtful. But at the same time, if we tune in, there will be something waiting to be born. Imagine if we didn’t tune in – what would we miss?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Rather than making festive season New Year resolutions, the reflections and check points you suggest make sense to me. If we work with them we have the opportunity to appreciate where we’re at, or shift with confidence if necessary. I tend to follow the seasons, moon cycles, and the solstices are an extension of that for me, I suppose. I enjoy my own personal style of nostaglic celebration of Christmas & Easter honouring the memories it evokes for my child self. This year we are doing Christmas in July for my step-son and grandchildren as an antidote to the commercialised December event. The horticultural analogy appeals to me, often understanding comes from applying natural logic to ourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Christmas in July sounds lovely Dale 💗
      Yes, I very much orient towards the seasons and the moon as well, so I guess that’s why the seasonal mismatch creates such dissonance with me. I am well aware that most people don’t feel the same way!

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