Saturday is the Winter Solstice, also known as Yule. On this day the tilt of the Earth’s semi-axis is furthest away from the Sun, creating the longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. This is a sacred day that predates Christmas by thousands of years, and is the day where we welcome the merging of the darkest time of the year and the emergence into the newborn light. The word “solstice” comes from the Latin solstitium, meaning “point at which the sun stands still.”
So often we forget the pause, the empty space between tasks, or even the empty space between thoughts. But on Saturday, when the sun stands still, we are reminded to not overlook the pause, but to savour it.
Deep in your consciousness may be an ancestral memory, a part of your spiritual DNA, that still senses the cosmic significance of this day.
And I’d love to share a Winter Solstice ritual that you will help you connect with that memory.
- Gather with your family in your home. Everyone should have a flashlight and a smaller candle. Light a large, central candle that everyone can stand around.
- Go through your house and turn off all the lights, so that there is darkness everywhere except for your candle.
- Gather back to your central candle and then blow it out.
- Pause in the darkness and reflect on the stillness and the celestial pause happening today. Allow yourself to feel how darkness is important for our growth, our evolution. You may wish to share what has been in the shadows for you over this last 6 month period. True consciousness comes from embracing both the darkness and the light.
- When complete, re-light your central candle. Sense into the spark of illumination that is expanding around you.
- Everyone, one at a time, should light their smaller candle from the central candle. Share an intention or desire that you wish to manifest over this next 6 month period.
- Celebrate with some food and music!
On the Solstice the mystical forces of transformation are deeply present. Taking time for ritual, however simple or short can be a powerful way to receive the gifts this sacred day offers.
Today’s newsletter is short. The truth is, I’m pretty exhausted. It’s been a challenging few days – late last week my mother tripped and fell, cracking her pelvis in two places. She is in the hospital recovering and my dad has been home alone and not able to drive. So I’m visiting for a few days to help figure out next steps and support them wherever I can. So many lessons about patience, change, compassion and letting go.
I’m so grateful that I have my practice to support me through the waves of difficulty. Remembering to breathe consciously. Meditating each morning. Being sure to move my body, especially when I sense contraction and armouring creeping in. Visualizing and inviting the healing that is needed right now for everyone.
So on this last full moon of 2019, I invite you to pause and reflect on all the ways your practice supports you during challenges. Can you intentionally call in more of what you need and at the same time, release the habits that keep you stuck? You can keep it super simple: light a candle, center yourself with a few breaths and speak words that both call in and release. And then finally, trust you will receive exactly what you need.
This morning during my morning practice by the river, I was sensing into the power of my energy field as I was connecting to everything around me. In that moment I felt so joyful, grateful and centred. I felt deep within me that this was my natural state of being. It was a moment of true bliss.
And I would like to share this practice with you so that you can also drop into the presence of your heart today.
Begin by giving yourself space from all distractions. Stand up and shake your body for a minute letting of any tension or holding patterns accumulated in your day. Take a few deep breaths in and sighs out.
Connect with your heart centre. In Sanskrit, this is called Hridayakash, the space of heart consciousness. From this space send down your energy into the Earth Star Chakra below your feet , and then send it right into the heart of the Earth, into the centre of Mama Gaia.
When this connection feels present, come back to Hridayakash and send your energy upwards into your Soul Star Chakra above your head, and then continue upwards into the sky and cosmos above. Right to the heart of the Sun.
Allow yourself to feel completely aligned and anchored between Earth and Sky/Sun. And sense that you are a pillar of light between these points. Your energy body strengthening and building like a broadband cable, so that you can receive the energy transmissions from above and below with more ease and grace.
Inhale Spirit. Exhale Matter. Inhale Light. Exhale Earth. Inhale Shiva (the masculine). Exhale Shakti (the feminine). Inhale Vision. Exhale Manifestation. Inhale Sun/Sky. Exhale Earth.
And then just pause, as the pillar of light, the Divine incarnation of you, and simply allow yourself to be.
Have you ever walked a labyrinth? A labyrinth is a walking meditation or spiritual practice that can be traced to many different ancient traditions. The earliest labyrinth designs are more than 5,000 years old. Unlike a maze, a labyrinth has no dead ends or wrong turns, rather its path meanders in and out, eventually bringing you into its centre.
The experience is often likened to walking towards one own core, the centre of one’s soul. As we embark on the journey to connect with our inner being, we take slow, intentional steps. Sometimes we find ourselves closer to our centre – with a sense of ease, embodiment and connection. Other times we find ourselves more in the outer path – distracted, disassociated and busy.
The weaving of the labyrinth mimics and symbolizes the life experience of the practitioner and the inner movements of the psyche. The fusion and flow of dynamic opposites (ease/agitation, contentment/unhappiness, trust/worry, etc), and the ultimate connection and resonance with our inner being, the Divine within.
So the next time you find yourself struggling, pause, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths into your belly and picture a labyrinth in your mind’s eye. See how you, in that moment, may be in the outer spiral – fully experiencing your human-ness and whatever life is throwing at you. Know that this is just temporary. And then see yourself taking a step, and then another, and another…all bringing you closer to your centre.
This month in the Embracing Shakti Temple our featured embodiment of the Divine Feminine is Sedna, the Inuit Goddess of the sea and shadow. She represents thankfulness, providence, nature and abundance. The mother of the sea, Sedna origin story is quite tragic and she became a very important figure in Inuit mythology as the provider of nourishment for both the body and soul.
Sedna also represents our capacity to discover what is in the unconscious. When we dive down into the depths of our inner ocean, we often find a hidden treasure, beneath the debris that we have accumulated inside. By exploring our own inner shadow land, we can discover and reintegrate precious aspects of ourselves. We can become Sedna’s of our own inner ocean.
If you would like to evoke the energy of Sedna to connect to her magic and power, here are a few suggestions:
- The next time you are experiencing deep, big, uncomfortable emotions, instead of dissociating from them or chastising yourself for having them, can you pause and take a few deep breaths? Then allow yourself to feel everything exactly as it is and notice what is below the surface of the emotion. Go into the depths of your experience and just witness what is there. Something powerful might be waiting to be discovered.
- Take a walk beside a body of water and think about everything you are thankful for, as this is one of Sedna’s themes. Bonus points if you can help pick up trash along this walk to show your gratitude for all the gifts that Sedna and wild, flowing water provides.
- Create an altar to Sedna using dark blue to represent the ocean, decorate it with sea shells and Lapis Lazuli, burn Jasmine incense (this scent corresponds to water) and even place a bowl of salt water upon it. As an offering of comfort, you may also want to bring a comb for Sedna’s hair. Meditate at your altar during the full moon, as the water element flows from this lunar division. Be open to her messages, as she may challenge you to embrace your inner self and aspects from within that you normally might ignore.