Winter Solstice 2021
The winter solstice is a day within the larger cycle of the year that has been celebrated and worshiped throughout human history. It is the invitation to go deep within oneself, journeying in and down to that very sacred, dark, vibrating silent part of ourselves where we can plant the seeds we want to care for and tend to in the coming year. This day is where we plant the seeds we want to nourish and witness growth over the coming cycle of seasons. Now, the planting of a seed does not necessarily guarantee success and manifestation. Growing a magnificent tree does not just happen overnight, within a year or even a decade. It is a slow, rhythmic, and dedicated practice that shapes and forms itself as time continues, with commitment, with devotion.
It is somewhat counterintuitive, during these long nights and short days, to be tending to dreams and desires so fragile and new because our awareness can so easily be distracted during this season of consumption and gathering. Yet the very place that conceives and nurtures the spark of new beginnings lies within the darkness of the night. While the holidays can be wonderful and celebratory; they can simultaneously present us with our share of challenges. Our energy resources tend to become depleted, or pulled in too many directions, while our emotions rise and fall and our bodies can shift out of rhythm with the break in routine. Old wounds, unconscious patterns, unresolved familial issues resurface and the shadow side can peek its mischievous head out and do its best to coax us out of our center. It's real, it's challenging, yet if we accept the opportunity to tend to change, it becomes an essential aspect of our healing work.
The yoga tradition talks about inner work not as “work” but as abiding within our natural state of equanimity, living as peace within the darkness. If we are but a smaller version of the vast universe, then everything exists within us. The unseen work we do during the Holidays becomes patterns within the great cosmic tapestry, rippling and reverberating out into society. How the Microcosm reflects and influences the Macrocosm! When we pay attention, when we listen to that quiet, inner voice, we can discern if the change is manifesting and also be aware of when it is not. The external world is in massive transition during this time with many of its presentations appearing as negative and not uplifting at all. Still, if we listen and witness, pockets of light are being created, silently unifying and rising up together. With this vision in mind, remember that each of us is being invited to do that inner work, especially the parts we have been putting off for weeks, months, or years. We can shift this approaching darkness together, and it begins from the inside out.
The potent power of the element of fire has the capacity to illuminate, warm, and nourish us with food. Fire also has the ability to transform one substance into another, as desired in the alchemical processes of turning lead into gold, or marshmallow, chocolate, and crackers into smores! Fire also has the ability to be a courier of the light of our prayers, carrying them up into the skies, into the universe, and to our unseen, yet ever present, guardians and gods. We burn the light, longing, pain, dreams, losses together, offering the pain in our hearts and requesting for it to be transmuted and released...we can offer it all into the fire.
Today on the winter solstice I have the honor of offering and burning 2 prayers at fire altars. One was created by the women of Steady In The Fire Retreat, which took place in late November. The work that each of these women stepped into over the weekend was beautiful and amazing to witness. The medicine of connection & sisterhood, the reflection that arises when we step out of our day to day rhythms to immerse ourselves in yoga, embodied wisdom, soulful sharing & nourishment manifested as the authentic prayers and contributions each of them offered into the Despacho (prayer offering) that will be burnt today. I am humbled and grateful to be the guardian of these prayers and will send them up with memories of our time together. The other fire altar was made today by my husband Chandler and myself. It is a living, visual expression of our love, of our commitment to to stand in the fire together, as we always have…especially over these past 22 months. It also contains prayers for the support of our visions, practices, needs, and strength to sustain during these radically transformative times. There are seeds planted for continued healing, for deepened understanding, for greater community, for connection and sharing, and for a new world to arise out of this shared pain, built from our hearts, by all of our hands.
This precious day, as we turn our awareness slowly and sweetly back toward the light of the sun, take a moment and ask yourself, symbolically what are you ready to burn as an offering? What can you turn back into light? What inner work have you been neglecting that is ready to be tended to? Maybe even write these thoughts down on paper and burn as a commitment to the ever approaching future.
Please enjoy this solstice playlist I made as an offering of my light to your days.