For eons, humans have marked the longest night of the year, Winter Solstice (Dec. 21 this year) as a sacred turning point. The return of the sunlight, bit by bit, is a promise from Nature that a new growing season will return. Nature uses Fall & Winter - the seasons when nights are longer than days - to compost and fertilize. It literally devours the remains of the previous cycle to generate the next cycle. These darkest days are essential to Nature's fertility and to our own psyche/consciousness. It is in the dark that gestation occurs. It is in the dark that we dream. This is a highly potent time to examine our values and how we intend to act in accordance with them as the light (and our energy) returns. What "You" do you want to grow in the coming year??
In our modern electricity- and convenience-filled world we do not remember how stressful this time of year would have been without them. Fields lie fallow, what we have managed to harvest and store in the cellar is what we must survive on until the next growing season. In ancient myths, this is the time of descent into the underworld - a time of great uncertainty and coming face to face with our very mortality. It is no wonder that huge celebrations and rituals of celebrating light occur all over the world in the darkest months, and especially in relation to the return of the sun (birth of the Son of God...God of Sun...) around the winter solstice.
Historically, the unique lessons of the dark months were literal and involuntary and put us in direct relationship with the essentials of survival. Facing uncertainty or fear with courageous vulnerability, getting resourceful with what we have on hand, submitting the to greater cycles of nature, and knowing the light will come again...all this fosters great humility, trust and resilience. It is in times of scarcity that we realize the simple joys of being alive, and having food, shelter, and good company.
These days, as part of a conscious life striving to be in tune with nature, we must voluntarily connect with these lessons. Our holiday rituals and celebrations are a reminder, and there is more. We must take time to get to nourish our depths, to find the riches in the fertile soil of our being. It takes a whole season to do this, and gets deeper and more nuanced each year of our lives.
If you would like to learn how to experience the Nurturing Source in meditation, I am available for one-on-one sessions.
Pluck the squash warm from the vine,
and celebrate the harvest time.
Do not mourn the fallen fruit,
now on the ground to nourish the root.
We've bloomed and we've bled,
we'll commune with the dead,
curl up in the darkest hours.
Compost your fears
through the end of the year,
and awake with a heart full of flowers.
Author, Nicole Becker
Yoga Therapist, Retreat Leader, and Heart of Yoga Teacher, Nicole Becker offers yoga and self-care insights and tips.