Tomorrow, Monday, December 21, 2020, the sun enters the sign of Capricorn, initiating the winter solstice and the longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere. Scroll past this article for a free 25 minute yoga practice to inspire quiet reflection at this solstice time.
The winter solstice occurs when the sun sits at its farthest declination from earth and there is a disconnection from the light. In Latin, sol means “sun” and sistere means “to stand still.”
It is a time of pause, rest and introspection. A blanket of snow covers the ground, temperatures drop and many animals go into hibernation, encouraging us to do the same.
But if darkness can teach us one thing it is that the sun always rises again. Therefore, the winter solstice is also a rebirth of the sun (Son in Christianity), or a “return of the light.”
When I think about the winter solstice and the meaning behind cycles of darkness/grief/despair and light/joy/happiness that come with being human, the following Alan Watts quote comes to mind:
“The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.”
The word “Panic” stems from the Latin word pan meaning “all.” When we are in the darkness with no light in sight, the fear and loneliness can be all-pervading, as in "pandemic."
In Greek antiquity, Pan was born half-man, half-goat to Messenger God Hermes. Despite Pan’s lowly mortal looks, his father accepted him among the Gods.
Pan went on to be revered by all for his gift of music, love of the woods, and critique of theater. He is known today as the constellation Capricornus.
Now, as the season transitions into the sign of Capricorn, we may meditate upon the idea of man’s unending search for money, wealth, power or fame as a source of fulfillment.
The story of Pan teaches us that if we can release the pressures of society to be more than we already are, we open ourselves up to the well of gifts that are inherent to each of us.
The grand conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius, which also happens to occur tomorrow, inspires the idea that achievement and prestige are not only measured in material terms.
This rare 200-year elemental shift from earth to air inspires us to see intellectual innovation, originality, and community drive as the new barometers for success.
May this new cycle bring humanity a sense of hope, a chance for peace among all people, and a new way forward via science, knowledge and inclusion.
May this time of the winter solstice bring us the strength and support necessary to sit with ourselves in the dark so that we can see and share our own light with others.
Sending many yuletide blessings to you and yours,
P.S. Below is a free prerecorded 25 minute all-levels Winter Solstice Yoga Practice which will inspire quiet reflection.
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