Winter Solstice: Five Tips for Planting Seeds in Yin Time
This is the stillness behind motion, when time itself stops; the center is also the circumference of all. We are awake in the night. We turn the Wheel to bring the light. We call the sun from the womb of night. Starhawk
As we approach the darkest time of the year, the natural inclination is to sleep in a little later and take things slower. At winter solstice, we reach the depth of yin energy: dark, cool, receptive, slow, earthy. Contrary to this yin energy, you may be feeling the pull of the frenzied holiday rush, numerous family and social engagements, and the race to tie up loose ends before January. Our culture’s tendency towards yang activities- bright, hot, expressive, fast, ungrounded- is highlighted at this time of year. Yin and yang are always both present and they ebb and flow in their relation to each other, as illustrated by the “yin yang” symbol, otherwise known as the taiji. Yin is symbolized by the black side of the taiji symbol, which contains the white seed of yang. Now is time to surrender to the dominating yin energy of winter, which is catalyzed by the tiny spark of yang that lights our path toward spring. Think about slowing down, resting, and turning inward. In doing so you may create space to plant seeds of intention and look ahead to brighter days.
We get to unfold with ourselves. We get to experience the turning both of the earth and of our lives. Chani Nicholas
Five Ways to Care for Yourself at Winter Solstice:
NOURISH DIGESTION: Add warming spices to your food and drinks to support digestion and energy during these cold months. Cardamon, cinnamon and ginger are delicious, not just on oatmeal but also as a rub for baked meats and seasoning for roasted veggies. For more savory dishes, use paprika, cayenne, and black pepper. For a sweet treat, try my golden spiced honey recipe (for making golden milk!)
WARM YOU BODY: Take baths (I recommend indulging in Be Real Body’s lovely bath salts and scrubs), wear cozy wool socks, and use a hot water bottle or heating pad to soothe tired muscles and ease contraction caused by exposure to the cold.
WRITE IT DOWN: Reflect on the year by journaling- make a gratitude list or collect favorite memories. Decide what you’re ready to let go of, write it down, and burn it. Set intentions by making a vision board.
SPARK A LIGHT: Help usher the light back in by lighting candles or building a fire. Get a moxa treatment treatment from your acupuncturist- dried mugwort is burned near the skin to warm and activate acupuncture points to reduce pain, increase circulation, and stimulate your body’s yang energy. This treatment is especially helpful if you experience painful menstrual cramps or chronic pain.
PLANT A SEED: Create a solo retreat- carve time out of your schedule to take a day for yourself (if a whole day isn’t possible, find a few hours that you can have all to yourself). Claim a room in your house or settle into a cozy spot at a local cafe and give yourself permission to focus on visioning and let go of doing for just one day. Use this time to assess the past year and plan ahead- this can be very grounding and helpful if you are a business owner but can also be applied to relationships, for students, or any area of your life that gets neglected in the day to day. I’m creating a retreat for myself and plan to follow Julie Wolk’s template for Winter Reflection and Planning.
Winter solstice, like the new moon, is a time of dormancy when we can plant seeds that will grow and be nourished by the increasing light in the coming months. Now is the time to set intentions that may reach their potential at the summer solstice.
Please share your favorite solstice rituals in the comments. And if you’re feeling sore and tired and you’d like to try out that moxa treatment, book an appointment with me or schedule a free 15 minute consultation.