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Finding the Light Within the Darkness of Winter Solstice

Along the way through the years, as we progressed through our spiritual journeys and became more aware, we naturally became more in tune with the physical energies of the Earth. We gradually learned how to flow with these energies and use them to our benefit. Suddenly, the wisdom of our family and ancestors made deeper sense. Whenever it was possible, we would use these earthly energies to enhance, support, and/or supplement our energy work. (This is similar to someone who will not make big purchases during Mercury retrograde.) It is usually more efficient to work with the energies then against them.

In addition, the symbolism of ancient mythology stories from many cultures took on significance in relation to these shifts because many of the stories were written to explain physical phenomena. From an energetic and/or symbolic point of view there was truth buried within the stories. Sometimes when looking for direction or inspiration, we would turn to mythology to find the answer.

Why are we sharing this? Here in the western hemisphere (northern) we will be experiencing the Winter Solstice during this coming week on December 21st. The eastern hemisphere (northern) will experience the Winter Solstice on December 22nd. (FYI: When we experience the Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere, the Summer Solstice is being experienced in the southern hemisphere (down under). This is very interesting from an energy perspective.) Both hemispheres are moving through an earthly energy shift (cycle) that will peak on this day. This is not new information. The importance of the solstice is evident in locations like New Grange in Ireland, Stonehenge in England, and Cahokia Woodhenge in Illinois. These locations have stones or timbers that are aligned with the solstice sunrise and sunset for a reason.

From a physical perspective, during the winter solstice, the earth is tilted as far away from the sun as possible. The sun’s pathway is at it lowest in the sky and as a result we experience our shortest day (light) of the year. The winter solstice symbolically represents the death of the sun. The word ‘solstice’ means ‘the sun stands still.’ The majority of time during this day is spent in darkness. Many cultures consider the solstice as the turning point of the year. We flip from decreasing daylight to increasing daylight. The sun is reborn. Some celebrate the day as the beginning of the new solar year. At the same time, the day also represents our first day of winter. We experience death and rebirth at the same time.

According to Greek Mythology, this is the day that Persephone enters the underworld to be Hades’ queen for the next six months. It is no mistake that she enters into the darkness of the underworld on the shortest day (light) of the year. In Celtic mythology it is the mark of a great battle between the Oak King (light) and the Holly King (dark). In Germanic traditions, the belief is that evil spirits emerge because the veil between this world and darker ones is at its thinnest. The winter solstice has also been referred to as the darkest night of the soul. In some of these ancient traditions, people would stay up all night to avoid encounters with these darker spirits. Another perspective is they were avoiding interacting with their shadow sides. Which is the darkest part of the human experience that we all have within us.

Now, we do not expect you to encounter darker spirits on this day. Usually for us, there is relief and release within the Solstice. However, we will say that this flipping does leave room for a lot of energetic activity to occur. Within the longer hours of darkness lies the opportunity to see into the deeper parts of the soul. The dreaded part of everyone’s spiritual journey is entering into that darker part of the soul that everyone possesses. We are made up of both lighter and darker parts that together create the complexity of being human. To complete our journey around the heart, we must explore both the lighter emotions as well as the darker ones. This can be very challenging and is not for the lighthearted (pun intended).

A yule wreath with holly sitting on a chair

The winter solstice offers us the opportunity to align with earthly energies that will support us as we go within and become familiar with darker aspects and emotions of our true, whole essence. Our true whole self includes both the lighter and darker aspects of ourselves. To become whole, each of us at some point will need to consciously explore what many refer to as our shadow side. Embracing the darkness or shadow allows us to realize our deepest personal truths. Why not let the earthly energy of the winter solstice assist us in this? During the process, we find the light within the darkness. As we become comfortable with the darkness within us, we will feel stillness and peace. We also become comfortable with the darkness within others. Regardless whether we stand in the darkness or light, we realize that we are the same person within both these aspects.

Remember the choice always lies with you. You move forward in your journey when you are ready. If you are not ready to embrace the darkness, or your shadow side, you can use the solstice as an opportunity become more aware of the shift in earthly energy and celebrate the birth of the new solar year. There is always next year! (Or really any time you choose!)

Grianstad Sona Daoibh!

Trish & Leila Briggs

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