The season of Yin and Yang arrives in Minnesota. The short, dark winter days of December, combined with the quiet beauty of a blanket of snow, personify Yin energy. Add Yang energy with glowing holiday lights that brighten and twinkle, and you have a season of Yin and Yang. In balance, Yin and Yang contribute to the beauty we so enjoy at this time of year.
But just about the time holiday fervor is threatening to create an imbalance of Yang energy, along comes the Winter Solstice. The Winter Solstice marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year and represents the official beginning of winter. Yin energy reinstates itself!
Saturday, the 21st of December, I attended the annual Winter Solstice celebration hosted by dear friend. Our participation connects us with the energy of other cultures around the world that have celebrated solstice festivals since ancient times.
Our hostess invited each of us to shine a light on what we were grateful for this year. A candle was lit, bringing light to the darkest day of the year. As the softly glowing candle was passed from one woman to the next, intimate stories of healing and insights were shared. Each person talked about both accomplishments and challenges experienced during the year and how the difficult times brought the greatest lessons learned. The light shone brightly for each of us in gratitude for the subsequent insights, wisdom, understanding and connection gleaned from hard-earned lessons.
After sharing gratitude, we participated in the solstice tradition of writing on a piece of paper what we wished to release before entering a new year: arrogance, ego, selfishness, poor health, self-doubt, negative thoughts and so on. These pieces of paper were then tossed into a fire to be set free. This ritual creates a powerful sense of release.
I am grateful for friends who afford me an opportunity, in the midst of the holiday rush, to take time to pause and acknowledge the transition to a new season, to appreciate nature’s celestial beauty and wisdom. I am grateful for having the opportunity to speak my gratitude in the presence of others, to symbolically release what did not serve me well in the ending year and to set positive intentions for a new year, and, auspiciously, the beginning of a new decade!
“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.” — Albert Schweitzer
Happy Solstice! Happy Holidays!