Today is Winter Solstice. At noon, the Sun will appear at its lowest altitude above the horizon. The name solstice means “Sun stands still.” Today in the Northern Hemisphere, the Sun hugs closer to the horizon than at any other day during the year, yielding the least amount of daylight annually. Winter Solstice is the great stillness before the Sun’s strength builds, and days grow longer. Worldwide, interpretation of Winter Solstice varies from culture to culture, but many cultures have held a recognition of rebirth, involving holidays, festivals, gatherings, rituals or other celebrations around this time.
Winter Solstice is a time to rest and reflect. It’s the fruitful dark out of which new life can eventually emerge. The darkness itself is the spiritual cradle into which the Sun is reborn. Everything lies dormant in the silent night, a sacred time of rest before the awakening, and the slow build toward longer days. The longest night is a fruitful time for setting intentions, to be birthed with the newborn Sun.
The Winter Solstice presses us to consider and reconcile the realities of darkness and light. Albert Camus wrote, “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” Perhaps today you will be compelled to set your resolve to confront and address your own darkness – to address the root cause of your own suffering, to take on the personal work necessary to heal a deep wound or repair your relationship with yourself. Consider creating a small ceremony or symbolic act to accompany your new intention and resolve. Share your intention with a friend.
Albert Schweitzer wrote, “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” Winter Solstice is also a time to remember that each of us is a light one to another. Our actions of compassion, care, solidarity, and loving-kindness helps spark the flame of hope within others.