As we approach the Winter Solstice on Wednesday, December 21st, this cycle is drawing to a close. The sun is setting on this cycle.
I think it is important to be aware of this shift and honour what it means to us and how it affects us.
In ancient times holidays were placed at these key times of the natural yearly cycle. They are still close if you look deeper than what to shop for.
For me, these final days of the solar year are a time of letting go. The falling away of the old, a dying of sorts. This is the winter of my life. And that’s okay. In fact it is a very natural cycle I feel each year and I have come to not resist it as much.
What that means is that the old ideas of myself, my purpose and how I express that are open to change. Like a snake shedding it’s skin, an old layer, and old image is peeled away. Thank goodness because the roughness and scratches that have been built up are gone and a fresh thing is about to emerge.
Time heals all wounds. I think this is how. With each passing year, the old fades away into an even more ephemeral memory. A date goes by without the recognition of an event that happened in the past on that same date. It is just another Tuesday and a new life is lived on that day, free from the past.
This is the gift of falling away. Clinging to what used to be prevents the full acceptance of what is, right now, and the accomplishment of future dreams and aspirations. Old leaves fall off the tree; new energy is being stored up for expansion at the right time. That time is the beginning of another cycle.
I always honour the Winter Solstice each year, in fact I look forward to it. It is the day when the days go from getting shorter to getting longer. It is the turning point from down to up. Even though “New Year’s” day shows up on our calendar on a day called “January 1st”, in my heart it is not the real new beginning. The Solstice is.
The evening of the Winter Solstice is the longest night. The largest gap between the sun’s life giving light. In many ancient traditions people would keep candles going all night to stave off the darkness and carry the light into the new day and new year.
This is why every year, for the past 5 years we have held a Winter Solstice party at our home. We invite our friends and spiritual community to join us in generating warmth, love, joy and camaraderie in this darkest hour. The light of their smiles, the new friendships made, the open heartedness in the songs we sing makes me feel great. We do a ritual and ceremony that involves passing the flame of a candle to another person and acknowledging the light inside of them as the true light, the light that never fades regardless of the day of year. It is beyond the cycles of growth and decay, of contraction and expansion. The eternal flame that is in every being.
That’s the true gift of any falling away. Seeing what’s left. How precious it is and knowing it is still there, the same as always. I guess I forgot. Thank you for reminding me, Mr. Sun.
The next morning I get up early and go to the parking lot of a mosque on hill nearby. I have an amazing view of the horizon and wait in anticipation with my snow pants on and sipping my Tim Horton’s coffee. When the time comes I stand outside alone and behold the beauty of birth of the new Sun. The vivid colours of pink, orange and the energy of pure light penetrate my eyes into the depths of my being. I breathe in the cool air and bow to the greatness of life.
I smile and give thanks for the simple things, like the sun’s light growing the plants that I eat. The friends and family I celebrated the night before. A fresh start, a marker for a new beginning. And That which compels me to move forward into my next cycle, just like the sun, the earth, the moon and the stars in the sky whose persistent light is now shrouded by the glorious blue of this new clear sky.
Blessings on your journey around the sun,
Please leave a COMMENT below sharing your experience of this time and shift. What are you letting go of? What is naturally falling away in your life? And how will you celebrate this? Share and give others permission to do the same!