Written by: Dr. Julianna Englund, ND, LAc
The Northern Hemisphere’s Winter Solstice arrives on December 21, 2021. It is marked by the moment when the hemisphere is tilted as far away from the Sun as it can be, resulting in the shortest day of the year. The day marks the end of predominating darkness and the promise of more light and longer days to come.
In terms of yin and yang and traditional Chinese medical theory, the yin energy and darkness give way to the beginning of the crescendo of the yang energy or light. In the absence of the exuberant energy of the sun, the energy of Nature moves into the season of Winter.
Photo credit: Allen Tsai: https://www.htg.tartu.ee/~b1reedik/Dao/Why%20does%20the%20Yin%20Yang%20symbol%20look%20this%20way.htm
Ancient Chinese philosophers believed that humans are microcosms of the larger surrounding universe, and are interconnected with nature and subject to its forces. They based their medicine on two principles: 1.: the human being is One: Body, Mind and Spirit; and 2.: The human being and Nature are One. So within the expansive darkness on the Winter Solstice, nature and our Being calls our focus inward.
Within each of us, nature’s yin and yang forces are interplaying. When the seasons turn from Fall into Winter, our energy continues to follow the path within. Gone are the outward and active days of the yang and summer time of year. Since winter is the most yin time for nature and our bodies, the dark, cold, slow, inward energy draws us deeper.
The significance of the Winter Solstice is symbolized by the 24th hexagram of the I-Ching.
This hexagram , referred to as "Turning Point" or "Returning", is composed of two trigrams: thunder and earth.
In the hexagram image, the trigram of thunder is under the trigram of earth, symbolizing the force of thunder residing in the center of the earth. One interpreter described the meaning of this interaction as: “In Spring, it (thunder) will come roaring to the surface, awakening everything to vigorous growth. But for now, the fields and the borders are closed; it is time for introspection, not for business as usual. This hexagram doesn’t herald a triumphal return, but a gradual recuperation and recharging. The spark of life needs nurturing in stillness.” (reference: https://www.onlineclarity.co.uk/reading/hexagrams/24-returning/)
The yang energy that sustains our doing and outward potential is just at its beginning now and must be strengthened by rest. If used prematurely, we cannot renew ourselves to endure the coming months with clarity and sustained energy. Treat the winter solstice as a time for reflection of how to best nourish the soil for your body-mind-spirit during the coming Winter months so that the return of the sun and months ahead may lead to a flowering of your health, intentions and ambitions.
Consider December 21, 2021 the portal into the natural time when there is great opportunity for renewal.
photo credit: Background photo created by wirestock - www.freepik.com
Take time to shed habits, beliefs, emotions and other attachments that are depleting you. Like the last leaf that falls from the tree during Autumn, leave what no longer serves you behind. Winter has begun. Turn your focus inward to your True Self and begin embracing the new. Take time to rest and nurture yourself, knowing that you can choose your state of being at every moment. With your sustained intention, the new way will bring your internal Light from your depths and like a thunder bolt, the force of your intention will crackle into reality.
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