Celebrating the winter solstice

We are in the few days approaching the winter solstice at the moment.  The winter solstice is the point in the year when the sun rises in the northern hemisphere for the shortest amount of hours in the day.  From about the 22nd December onwards, the amount of daylight hours will then increase until we reach the summer solstice in June.

Since moving to the countryside, I have felt even more deeply connected with nature and the rhythms of the earth.  I have a sense of the in and the out breaths of planet earth more keenly at certain times of year and the solstice is one of these times. I get a sense that the earth breathes in and out just as we do.  The earth has a rhythm.  Each day, we have an expansion and contraction of energy.  The expansion is as the sun rises and this continues until the peak of the day (which at the moment feels like its approximately 12.30/1pm) and then you can sense the drawing back in, the contraction of the energy of the day.

Within the solar year, we can sense the expansion of the energy (the inhale) of the earth which starts very slowly from the winter solstice, this peaks around the summer solstice and then draws back (exhales) towards the winter solstice.  At the points of the solstice, there is a stillness for a few days.  If you are familiar with meditation or breathwork, you will be aware of this pause at the end of your in-breath and the pause at the end of your out-breath.

I also notice the inhale and exhale of the earth when I am at the beach.  Each wave comes and goes, expands and contracts, and alongside this, we have the tides – the energy of expansion as we are coming towards high tide – where we then have a few moments of it peaking at high, before the gradual contraction of the tide towards low tide.

We also get this rhythm reflected by the waxing and the waning of the mooning.  The waxing moon replicates our inhale, which leads up to the full moon where the energy is greatly expanded.  When you are in tune with the energies of the moon, you will notice you have more energy, passion and motivation and find it easier to be out in the world and more sociable.  As the moon wanes (exhales) towards the dark or new moon, you can then feel your energy contract and you wish to be quieter, reflective and more within yourself.

At the winter solstice, this is our deepest time of pausing, of turning within, of reflecting and contemplating.  For me, this is the ‘new year’.  I love to spend some time over the winter solstice reflecting upon my achievements this year, the lessons I might have learned this year, to reflect upon the past solar year – to let go of any regrets, any leftover negativity, frustration or resentment I may have allowed to build up and any perceived traumas that I might be hanging on to.  This for me, is the time of year that I love to do a new vision board.  To refocus on what I wish to be doing in the next solar year; what I would like to have more of in my life; where I wish to focus my energy; evaluate my self-care regime, my work, my family life, my friendships – what needs attention, and what is doing ok.

This is still a quiet time of year though, so even though I might have renewed my intentions and focus, I will remember to allow my ideas to ground and develop roots throughout January.  To gather energy into the festival of Imbolc in February when the sap is just starting to rise again.  And to allow them to grow in preparation for the spring equinox in March when the energy and passion from the earth is bursting forth and with that these plans can fly.

Do you mark the winter solstice?  I know this is such a busy time of year, especially if you have a lot of family and work too.  But I would highly recommend carving out some time to light a candle and to allow yourself some loving reflective time to congratulate yourself on everything you have achieved, or if it’s been a challenging year, you might congratulate yourself on what you have survived this year; the people you have loved and cared for and the love you have given yourself.  Try to then focus on your hopes, dreams, intentions and goals for 2020.  This can be great to do with a friend or a small supportive group of friends.

I am running a workshop on 18/19th January in Sussex entitled:

‘YES YOU CAN create a life you love’

to help you kick-start your new year with focus, intention and some effective and  innovative techniques.  More information can be found on my website www.elainegibbons.co.uk.