Like a lot of people, I suffer a little from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Before I had heard of that diagnosis, I just thought that gray days got me down…and lots of gray days in a row got me way down. Knowing that I have a disorder really doesn’t change that much. The gray days of November and December still give me a little touch of wistfulness, a case of the blues and a longing to get away to warmer and sunnier climates. I think that is why I make it a practice to honor and celebrate the Winter Solstice.
With so many holidays being celebrated this month, we may forget to observe the Winter Solstice (December 21). It marks the shortest day of the year (in the Northern Hemisphere) and is an important holiday to those of us who follow nature’s ways and the cycle of the earth.
The Winter Solstice is a crucial part of the natural cycle. In a real sense, the sun begins its journey toward longer days, times of new growth and renewal of the world once again. In a spiritual sense, it is a reminder that for a new path to begin, the old one must end. For a person with SAD, it reminds me that my world will fill with light once more.
These long dark days of winter are a time to honor the darkness of life’s mysteries without losing faith. It is a time to recognize the seeds of growth within us and nurture them in our own way until light returns in all of its strength. We learn, in these dark days of winter, to find the healing energy that is always available to us from the divine.
For some of us, holiday days are not merry and bright. We may be missing a loved one. We may be feeling a lack of financial or physical ability. In these dark days around the Solstice, we can ponder many things.
Long winter days are good for contemplation and asking for directions. It is a good time to think on these things:
What do I want to manifest now in my life?
How can I change my thought patterns to create this manifestation?
What old habits can I release to aid me in this effort?
What are the best ways that I can refresh myself, physically and spiritually?
What parts of me will awaken as the rebirth of spring arrives?
How can I best focus on the blessings of this season?
What do the dark places of my life teach me about light?
As you ponder these questions, light a candle. It is a symbol of the light returning. And remember, the days will get longer. And the sun will return. Blessings in this season of Yule.