Happy Yule (winter solstice) and a big, beautiful full moon to all my Southern Hemisphere friends! Yule has traditionally been a very sacred time to come together around a fire and practice spiritual ceremonies to invite the sun back into the world.
How bright is your inner light shining out to the world?
What is out of balance in your life that is dimming that light?
What skills do you possess to help balance out those areas?
What loss has your psyche experienced in the past 12 months that needs to released?
What do you need to “throw out” to invite the light back into your life?
In the Druid Tradition the Winter Solstice is called Alban Arthan, a time of death and rebirth. Ceremonies called for people to “cast away, whatever impedes the appearance of light” and things would be cast down onto the dirt before the flint was struck to symbolically bring the light back.. As the longest night of the year approaches we can link our own inner journey to the journey of the seasons.
What do you need to let go of so that you can move forward into the light of a new year?
What do you need to “cast away” to allow a new cycle to begin?
How are you holding yourself back by still holding onto something that is unhealthy for you? This could be a relationship, a memory, a habit, a pattern of behaviour etc etc..
How can you heal this shadow and “dark side” of yourself? What do you need to stop suppressing? How can you express your shadow side in a safe and creative way when things are difficult and the pressure builds up too much to bear?
What do you need to surrender to?
If you’ve had to see the dark side of humanity it is essential you come back to this experience and deal with it. Suppressing the memories will only lead to further suffering. Reflect on your experience and discover what you’ve learnt from it and how it has transformed you. Try writing about it. Surrender to the feelings of grief allows you to move forward. I mention this in direct reference to the Orlando mass shootings and the collective grief around the world.
What grief surrounding sexuality, relationships, feelings about your body, shame, sex, love, endings, beginnings and family do you need to let go of?
Here’s a meditation to try for the next 24 hours..
Try repeating this to yourself, “I notice everything that has been and I let it all go…”
or “I surrender….. I release….. I heal…. I invite the light back into my life..”
Perhaps light some candles, breathe deeply and relax and ask yourself, “What do I need to release right now to invite the light back into my life.” Keep your mind calm and relaxed and see what images, colours or thoughts drift into your mind’s eye.
How can we rest in the stark stillness of the season without grasping for a plan or rushing on to the next big thing?
You could even try writing onto paper the things you need to leave behind. Then throw these messages into a fire. Perhaps you’d like to write messages and wrap them around the Yule log. The Yule log is a long standing tradition in Mid Winter in many European countries and fire was symbolic of bringing new light back into the new year.
“In the yearly cycle it’s winter, in the daily cycle it’s nighttime, and in the monthly cycle it’s the new moon and menstruation that give us the opportunity to practice dying. However, these little deaths that compel us to grope through the dark nights of our souls are what most of us avoid the most. We’d rather just take a pill and be happy all the time than feel the searing pain of loss and of being lost. But there’s a huge folly here. If we don’t surrender and let things die away and dissolve into mystery and darkness, there’s no space from which anything new can be reborn.
..We haven’t just thumbed our noses at winter repose because of our prejudices about becoming soft and rested; we have also done this because we’re afraid to face our own shadow sides. We’re afraid of uncertainty. We don’t want to look our sadness, our anger, or our fear in the eye and really ask what each has to teach us. When we avoid facing these less savory parts of ourselves, we’re missing out on the opportunity to become who we truly are. Yes, it’s messy. Yes, it feels uncomfortable. But by going to those depths you call in the light. You heal the parts of yourself that you have never wanted to acknowledge, much less learn to love. You must become the loving mother who calls all her lost children, or the estranged parts of yourself, home.”
Sara Avant Stover
Please note– psychotherapy and art therapy uses all sorts of “roadmaps” and frames of references to help people navigate their own path of self discovery. In this case I’ve used the seasons as symbolic metaphors to understand our inner workings. This can be relevant regardless of your spiritual, religious or aetheist beliefs.