The word “solstice” is Latin for “Sun standing still”. Indeed, this is a day (December 21-22) for stillness and preparation. There are deep pagan roots to this powerful moment marking the beginning of winter in the northern hemisphere. We are asked to confront our greatest fears on this, the longest night of the year symbolically imitating the expression, “It’s always darkest before the dawn”.
With the promise of longer days ahead, this time is celebrated as the return of the Sun. It is an invitation for major rebirth of the Self. There is maturity and a ripening from all that we have learned since the summer solstice.
This day also corresponds to the first day of the Sun in Capricorn -- the sign associated with our inner fears, demons, guilt and sense of responsibility. We often feel compelled to take a more somber and mature approach to life under the wise auspices of Capricorn’s guidance. But can we do this without becoming negative, cynical or pessimistic?
This is a time when we often feel the greatest despair, restriction and depression. We must honor this as a natural part of the death-rebirth cycle and not fear the feeling of recession in our overall vitality and optimism -- attributes of the Sun that are in short supply during this period.
Be sure to surround yourself with loving family and friends and infuse your home with warmth and light. It’s a powerful day for stillness, so any kind of meditative or introspective ritual is highly recommended. Great wisdom and growth are possible during this evening’s womblike vibe. Consider it a cosmic creative vortex, an offering from the gods of winter. Take advantage of how effortless it is to retreat to the still point today-- that deep center. Reflect on the gift of life’s rich and humbling lessons in 2011.