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Winter Solstice


china garden in winter

Since ancient times, the solstice has given people the opportunity to face the play of darkness and light, to celebrate their unity with nature and to show respect to transience of all natural phenomena. The winter solstice was particularly important because the night of longest darkness heralded the return of light and with it the renewal of hope. The pulsation of nature taught our ancestors not only the natural course of the fading darkness, but also the importance of patience in waiting for the light to be reborn. Thus, it was transmitting the same sentiment of the growth and birth as the one that an expectant mother has while patiently waiting for a new life to be born.

 

In winter, nature's voice seems to become louder and its calls to slow down reach every corner and every living creature. The Earth becomes still and quiet, providing a haven for every seed and animal to rest, or sleep. And while all living beings obediently follow the voice of nature and begin to retreat into silence, most people remain deaf and oblivious to the message she sends them. Yet, being nature themselves, they cannot prevent the message from seeping into their every cells, even if their thinking mind covers their ears like a thick blanket, thus muting the music that nature plays. But also when they intuitively feel the message that vibrates deep within, people passionately try to resist it, falling into an ever-increasing sense of inner discomfort that occurs when nature and mind are in disharmony. As long as there is an imbalance, also the relief of emotional or mental discomfort will be sought in the wrong places. Namely, disharmony also prevents self-regulation, which is why people resort to artificial means by taking medications, stimulants, relaxants and all kinds of drugs.

 

In contrast to winter's call for slowing down, contemporary culture supports uninterrupted activity. Hyperactivity and excessive chatter are considered instrumental for success, while silence and slowness are associated with laziness and social ineptitude, which ultimately lead to failure. Such approach is incorporated into fabric of cultural conditioning that is hard to break. Yet, the success achieved this way, is like a soap bubble – short-lived and without resistance to natural changes.

 

Being made up out of rigid mental formations, conditioned patterns turn into prison that separates “this inside” from “that outside”. Yet, a sense of separation is just an illusion because no matter how sophisticated conditioning is, it cannot stop the natural currents that flow within us - moving and retreating, advancing, and receding, rising, and falling. However, due to lack of the flexibility and quick changeability, conditioning poses an obstacle when intense energies are acting out.

 

Regardless of the source of such energies (natural catastrophes, pandemics, wars, cosmic events), our internal currents will intensify under their influence. However, the degree to which we will be affected by them will depend on our individual constellation, the length and duration of the repeating intervals and collusion with other phenomena.

 

It is therefore important to acknowledge the energies that occur in nature, especially the powerful ones currently acting on the Earth. Namely, since 2019, the Earth has been exposed not only to regular periodic changes but also to changes related to rare celestial events. One of these was the planetary constellation during the 2020 winter solstice, when Jupiter and Saturn came so close to each other that they appeared to create a "double planet" in the night sky. This spectacular event last occurred nearly 800 years ago, making it significant in terms of both astrophysical and metaphysical implications. In addition, the solar activity that began in December 2019, when the Sun entered its 25th cycle, also contributes to the current cosmic influence on Earth. Furthermore, the solar storms, which have been raging for weeks, will continue their activity for another year, reaching the so-called "solar maximum" between January and October 2024.

 

Our conditioning blinds us so that we don't even notice the subtle changes caused by geomagnetic forces. However, we cannot escape their influence and some of our inner currents will be triggered. In fact, planetary and solar tidal forces cause powerful bursts of energy that acts as giant power grid that amplifies tiny changes that are already playing out within tapestry that encompasses our thoughts, emotions, perceptions, and spiritual insights. While the physical plane gets washed away by the mighty torrent of charged particles, energetic vibrations pierce through us and the cosmic and inner processes bland with each other taking shape in accordance with our personal state of body, mind, and spirit.

 

Due to the countless nuances of changes that will manifest in different dimensions of consciousness, the newly created formations are mostly not tangible or easy to comprehend. Indeed, although the modern age is dominated by the belief that nature can be fully grasped and controlled, present knowledge, does not possess necessary capacity to understand full complexity of natural forces. Consequently, the influence of celestial energies on humans will be largely denied. In fact, as lower the level of awakened consciousness and the greater the Ego, as stronger will be denial.  

 

Regardless of our ability to understand and quantify the powerful cosmic energies, their impact will always be highly transformative. Yet, the direction in which our transformation will unfold will be determined by the energies within us which are amplified or accelerated. Thus, some people will experience increased clarity and purpose, while others will be overwhelmed with anxiety, irritability, and restlessness. In other words, the state of our body, mind and spirit will be the decisive factor for manifestations caused by celestial energies. And although this means that for many people the dark energies will be triggered, at the same time, it also means that we can use cosmic momentum for amplification of inner light.

 

Therefore, contemplation, practice or rituals during this winter solstice can greatly contribute to achieving a higher level of consciousness. The very awareness that we are going through the longest night of the year can also lead us to the realization that the processes we observe in ourselves and in nature are strongly intertwined, and bound by the same principles. We witness their continuous flow, change and transformation, but also their deceleration which enables the renewal and regeneration of primordial energy.

 

This retreat into inner depths and silence is not an easy path, and therefore we should welcome the energies that rule winter with the greatest gratitude. Namely, winter, which is characterized by yin energy, and is associated with darkness, coldness and slowness, facilitates reorientation of the natural processes towards the center and thus pulls also our energies in that direction. And although not everyone willingly surrenders to its pull, with the subsidence of the sounds of everyday life, we also inevitably plunge into the silence that confronts us with pulsating inner currents that are often similar to rapids that instill fear.

 

Since the roots of fear are interwoven in a complex network of emotions and reactions, when triggered by intense energies, they can also activate other intertwined emotions. As a result, the root cause of the manifested reaction, especially when self-awareness is low, is not always easy to identify or is misinterpreted. In fact, many manifestations of desire are often just a disguised fear of silence.

 

In the noise of everyday life, it is easier to hide traumatic memories, toxic emotions or mental formations, but when the noise subsides, silence creates an inner mirror in which everything that makes us up is reflected. Hence, silence is a witness to both our suffering and alienation from our own nature.  This is one of the main reasons why people feel an aversion to meditation or solitude - for fear of facing themselves and what isrelegated to darkness.

 

Thus, when the winter period directs us toward our inner space, most people will turn with all their might in the opposite direction. But the fight against the natural flow is a fight against our selves, and the more we resist the emotional rapids, the harder will be to escape their vortex. Ultimately, whether we like it or not, winter will force us to face the darkness. Amid this, it will also lead us to realize that darkness always carries a spark of light within. This realization becomes the source of the greatest hope and faith in the indestructibility of light. But one of the most difficult lessons that nature teaches us is to accept that darkness and light are inseparable. When we gain these insights, we become better equipped to deal with darkness, both our own and others'.

 

Such insights, gained through generational experience, are the result of observed cyclicality in nature, which not only teach us about the transience and impermanence of everything, but also about repeating patterns. Our ancestors noticed these constant changes due to a symbiotic relationship with nature, which enabled them to gather insights and create a solid foundation on which knowledge, spirituality and wisdom grew.

 

Although modern man often takes for granted the source of the ancient wisdom or even looks down upon everything that was created before the technological era, the wisdom that we still profit from even after thousands of years, was not easy to achieve.  Throughout history, humanity has gone through periods of extreme darkness, caused by inner demons rising from the depths of the human hearts. And yet, precisely such darkness carried the potential for personal and collective transformation because it strongly shook the human core, thus awakening them from a deep sleep.  As in the past, the same natural principles are at work also today, but the direction in which the world will move will depend on the level and extent of consciousness already awakened.

 

Therefore, a focus on awakening consciousness is extremely important especially when nature slows down its pace, and darkness reaches its peak. Therein lies the greatest effort we must make in harmonizing the energies acting on the macro and micro cosmic playgrounds. Thus, the winter solstice turns into an instrument for harnessing potent cosmic energies. Through contemplation, meditation, and ritual we allow the silence and stillness to align our body, mind and spirit with cosmic energies and create powerful conjunction which incites our introspective journey and deepens our spiritual practice.

 

With each inhalation and exhalation, we take on the rhythm of nature, whereby the separation between what we believe to be inside and outside us disappears. Thus we become only a vessel for the cosmic play, while the breath flowing through us vibrates almost tangible words - "The light always returns."

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