Shamanic Practitioner and Arts Counsellor

A Winter Solstice Ceremony

“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.” — Aristotle

Each phase of the Celtic calendar is special and for me, the Winter Solstice is the most deeply personal, as such an inner time of personal focus and reflection.

For me, it is time to honour a great mystery: of the seeded darkness and of the beauty of light reborn. At this time of year, the sun which has warmed and enlightened us through the turning seasons seems to stand still for several days. This is the time of greatest darkness, but also the time of greatest hope: the time when we have the opportunity to be the most fertile in the depths of our soul.

The gifts of mother Earth at this time are like seeds that grow in the darkness. In darkness is seeded the new. And in the still depths, we know that the inner sun will rise again in our hearts. This time of year was sacred long before the birth of Christ, the early church chose it for one of their most important holidays.

At the Winter Solstice, the balance has tipped as far towards the dark as it can go. We are ready for the light to come back and we must do all we can to help it. On Solstice night many people stay up to help Mother Earth to give birth to the sun, the New Year from her night sky womb. Those who can’t stay awake, ask for special dreams as they sleep in the womb of the Goddess.

This festival is not a beginning in a linear sense, but part of a cycle. Deep within the earth and ourselves, roots have been growing, bringing stability. The outer world has darkened and the inner worlds can expand. Now there is a change in that direction.

I have made an Upper World Journey – see below.

From the point of the Winter Solstice,  the days will lengthen, being part of this cycle means that we can bring our inner wisdom out of the dark consciousness, to grow with the increasing light. Things that I do to welcome the sun’s strengthening and rebirth could include creative work, writing or journeying. It could also be by practicing some of the Andean energy exercises I use in my daily practice. It is a time to birth our visions, name our dreams and make resolutions for the coming months. At Winter Solstice sunrise, we can make a pledge or wish to affirm these intentions.

Winter Solstice is a chance to come out of hibernation, be loving, generous and sociable. Celebrate each other and being alive. The old year has died and the way is now prepared for the rebirth of activity and expansion out into the outer world.

“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.”  Og Mandino

I will never forget my first experience of the Winter Solstice some years ago. I had watched the sunrise on the beach with my fellow Earth Keepers and we were cooking breakfast together. At the time of the actual still point of the year, we did a shamanic journey into Pachamama, to a place where we could set our intention for the growing light within ourselves, like sowing a seed of light.

I vividly remember that stillness, the point between the in and out breath of the earth that I felt viscerally in my body. I remember how nourishing and supportive it felt to have Mother Earth holding this sense of bright expectancy for me and the year ahead.

This experience led me to sharing the connection to this still point of the earth with many others over the years that followed, especially through sound baths. For me, the quality of sound heightens the quality of cosmic light energy available to us at this time, when we relax and allow the sound waves to wash over us.

Whether it’s singing bowls or gongs, these sound waves move through our bodies and help us to release whatever we are  still holding onto. This happens in a very subliminal way, so we may not be conscious of these subtle shifts until a couple of weeks later, when our anxiety around an issue may have lessened, or our heavy feelings may have lifted. The extremely high frequencies of sound also help us to welcome the light and healing available to us from the cosmos, for our bodies and our energy fields.

At this time of year, there is a huge amount of light available to us from the Cosmos and the stars. From my understanding, traditionally the Celts would be doing their inner work all throughout the dark Winter months and the return of the sun is a way that the active, masculine principle can begin to move forward once more. This is once we have tuned into what’s best for us on our journey. It’s important to align ourselves with our highest good.

Come and join myself and Sound Practitioner Joanna McKewen for a Special Winter Solstice event on 21st December at 11am. This will be a deep healing sound bath. Enter the stillness of Winter Solstice with ceremony, journeying and time for reflection. Take some time out for yourself to relax and recharge. We will be sewing our seeds and intentions at this special time of year.

the seeded darkness and of the beauty of light rebornMay we find hope in the lights we have kindled on this sacred night, hope in one another and in all who form the web-work of peace and justice that spans the world.

In the heart of every person on this Earth burns the spark of luminous goodness; in no heart is there total darkness. May we call forth from one another the light and the love that is hidden in every heart. Whatever you are doing this Winter Solstice, may you take the time to nourish your spirit and soul.

Winter Solstice Blessings.

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