“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” - Albert Camus
The Solstices are my favorite 'power days' of the year. Here in the northern hemisphere, the December Solstice is our winter solstice, and in the preceding weeks we move deeper and deeper into the womb-like cave of long, dark nights. On December 21st, the earth reaches its tipping point, and we welcome back the gradual return of the light. Connecting with this natural cycle, and energetically linking our own shedding and transformation with it, is tremendously powerful. Its the reason so many cultures around the world have linked this day, and the period around it, with retreat, contemplation, and transformation.
From an energetics perspective, I like working with a 6 week window, 3 weeks before Solstice and 3 weeks after, in a very conscious way (although I view the whole Solstice energy ramp-up as being felt about 6 weeks before.) So right now is the perfect time to begin your Solstice transformation, if you have not already done so. This year has been feeling especially potent to me, so to support you in this, I am offering a FREE Solstice preparatory meditation through Meditate Like A Girl on Thursday December 12th at 6pm PST/9 EDT. You do not need to listen live to participate - if you register you will receive the recording afterwards, and can do the meditation, and adapt it for your own needs, as many times as you like during the Solstice transit. Linking our intention and awareness together through group work of this type creates even more momentum and light for us each to draw upon.
In this post, I wanted to offer you some ways to prepare for this meditation, and for your own Solstice transformation. The first step is linking your awareness to the energy of this time. Symbols are one of the best ways to do this, as they speak to a deeper part of our awareness, our subconscious if you will, which is also the part of us most intimately connected with our subtle and intuitive awareness levels. By focusing on symbolic representations of the process we wish to initiate, we plant the seeds in our subconscious and subtle body for the work to begin. There are two symbolic representations of the Solstice shift that I like to work with:
Think of yourself, and your life over the last year, as in a caterpillar stage. You have been eating and eating, accumulating new experiences, some joyful and some painful. Through your personal work on yourself, you have also accumulated wisdom. You have come to see old emotional patterns as limiting. You have seen blocks and wounds that you previously had not known were there. Perhaps challenging situations have triggered you deeply, pulling you into some of these old wounds. Perhaps joyful situations have brought you to happiness you never thought you would feel. Either way, you are full and ripe - ripe with experience, with energies, with emotions - with life.
You are ready to move into a cocoon with all this fullness. You are ready to go inward, and transform all of this life into a new you. The dark days of pre-Sosltice are your cocoon. In the days and weeks following Solstice, you will emerge as a butterfly, beautiful and transformed.
The fascinating thing about the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly is that the caterpillar completely liquifies inside the cocoon, and then gradually from this liquid, the butterfly is formed. It is not like the transformation of a tadpole into a frog, where day by day you can see the gradual change - the legs emerging, the tail shrinking. If you could see inside the cocoon during the liquid phase, you would never guess a butterfly would emerge.
This is what the days and weeks leading up to Solstice are about - pulling in, welcoming in, all of our vast array of emotions and experiences from the past year (and before), into a bundle and inviting them to transform. The focus is not on release, or even healing (although both will naturally take place as part of this process.) The focus is on identifying, welcoming, and bundling all of the parts of ourselves that we have been working with. Instead of relating to these parts of ourselves as aspects we need to rid ourselves of, or even that we need to change, we simply gather them together, and allow the transformation to take place - we trust that it will, although we also generate some momentum towards our new awareness.
To work with this model of Solstice, spend some time contemplating what has surfaced for you within the last year. What energies and emotions within yourself have you been facing over and over? What have you sought to change or avoid (and can you gently let go of that urge to change or avoid these parts now, in order to simply be with them?) What internal tapes or patterns have you outgrown? What feels right to shed? Sense where you feel each of these energies within you, and prepare to bundle them together in your pre-Solstice cocoon.
Now think about what is ready to awaken within you. What are you ready to become? What would you like to become? Try and feel this, don't just think about it. Feel the awareness and energy you would like to spend more time living within. Try on the change, don't just think about it - gradually become it.
The Tipping Point:
Another useful symbolic representation of Solstice is the tipping point. Picture a seesaw that is very slowly shifting from one side to the other. On one side is all you have been working with this year. On the other side is what you can become. Solstice is a tipping point, when the balance finally shifts, and all the weight - the baggage - you feel you have been holding on to finally begins to lift. As it does, you naturally tip towards the other side - the lighter, freer you.
Working with this model is very similar to working with the cocoon model - you can use the same inquiry questions and contemplations. Sometimes the tipping point visual feels more relevant, especially if you have been working with very old patterns and wounds for a long time, and feel as if you are finally ready to let go of them, and the associated 'story' completely. If this is the case, often in the weeks leading up to Solstice, you feel very triggered - you feel as if very old internal voices and emotional patterns, ones you had long since moved past, have taken hold again. It is like a 'last stand' as the final residue of these energies rises to the surface and dissolves.
I hope you will join me for the Solstice preparatory meditation this month to continue and deepen this work. While culturally we are urged to set goals and make resolutions for the New Year, truly on an energetic level, the work is so much deeper - and so much more rewarding. I hope that many of us can come together to empower this process for all. We will welcome back the light, and begin the movement towards summer, both outside and within.
Questions welcome in the comments! Namaste-