A Guide for Winter Solstice Magic
By Thomas Leichardt, MTCM, DMQ (China) About Tom
Each year, around December 21st, is the winter solstice, marking the longest nite of the year, as well as the return of light and the lengthening of days. In our fast paced technological society, often this is just another day, usually spent focusing on day to day matters, work, family, or holiday plans. All too often, we do not realize the significance of winter solstice, and the powerful and long term influence it has for the year that follows.
In Daoist terminology, winter solstice is wholly Yin, a point of absolute stillness, receptivity, and movement inward. It is a time of contemplation and hibernation, when all the energy of nature is inwardly drawn to its essence, and down to its core. Being the microcosm of the macrocosm, our bodies and minds reflect the patterns of nature, and thus our energy also tends to pull inward into stillness and contemplation, especially when we allow ourselves to be aligned with nature rather than trying to go against it.
We can use this natural current of the universe, riding the wave inward, by doing inner work on ourselves. This work becomes tremendously magnified by being in alignment with the natural forces existing all around and within us. Like a Taiji master that “borrows” the strength of their “opponent” and utilizes it in their next countermove, we too can merge and become one with the inward movement, and incorporate it into our life and spiritual practice.
On winter solstice, Yin reaches its peak, marking a powerful opportunity for deep meditation, stillness of mind, and contemplation. Life is fully drawn inward. Within this dimension of stillness, the creative force is born; first as an image, an intention, a creative impulse; which then eventually grows into physical form. The creative force born on winter solstice can be likened to the power and potential hidden within a seed; containing within its tiny self the capacity, intelligence, and biological will to grow into a massive oak or redwood tree. Just as the creative power of a seed first exists only as an image, an idea, a tiny potential only; it then grows into physical form in its own time, following the timing and purposes of nature. In Daoist terms we say that Yang, the creative principle, is born out of Yin.
Through meditation and contemplation, we return to our essence, and gain greater clarity as to that which is essential and that which is non essential. In deep stillness, we can hear the “whispers in the winds,” or the voice of our higher intelligence, the higher Self, Dao, God, universal consciousness, or whatever words one uses to describe those higher planes of reality. Of that stillness, the creative is born. The divine intelligence is reflected in the still pool of the mind, and thus we clearly see the potentials life has for us in the coming year.
Putting it another way, one can say winter solstice is a perfect time to set intentions, which may take form and shape in the year to come, following the timing and purposes of nature and universal consciousness. The intention is the seed; the stillness of winter solstice is the earth, the fertile soil, in which that seed is planted and born. The return of light and eventual coming of spring are the life and grace that possess and animate the seed, allowing it to grow to its full potential. Like this, we can ride the Solar cycle, catching the universal wave inwards and then riding it back outward, when Yin transforms into Yang and life force moves towards creation and manifestation. Intentions consciously born in this time reflect and merge with the creative currents of the universe, fusing with and becoming one with them.
Practically speaking, in terms of setting goals and getting clear about our purpose, this is the optimal time to sit still and contemplate on lists of intentions for the coming year. Allow stillness, and for the higher intelligence to guide your thinking, and then sit with the intentions that do come. What place are they coming from? Do they support life and the people around you, or are they designed to strengthen a false sense of self? Are they in alignment with your life and purpose, or are they pulling you away from it? In this way, you can come to what is essential and what is not essential. You’ll discover that intentions aligned with your life and purpose, that support life and others, will come into being much easier and with more grace, ease, and lightness. They will also feel brighter, lighter, and less dense in your body. However, be careful what you ask for, as all too often we do get what we want, only to discover we don’t really want it anymore!
The Dalai Lama’s words come to mind: “Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.”
If you did this practice last year, now is a perfect time to reflect on what did come to pass, what didn’t, and to reflect upon the deeper wisdom of why or why not. Was I in alignment with the deeper intelligence of the universe and acting in harmony with it, or was I going against it? In Taiji, when we oppose the energies that are coming at us, rather than merging with them, often we lose our balance and root. Therefore we learn to take everything as it comes, merging with it, and then returning it back to its source, with continual presence and awareness.
I did this practice for the last several years, and it is absolutely amazing to see it unfold. I could see the intentions emerging into form in the spring, growing into fullness in the summer, and coming to maturation in the fall, and finally reintegrating into my being, bringing me back to this moment for another round! When riding the currents like this, it is very important to keep a light heart and a surrendered attitude, allowing things to unfold in their own time, and trusting the universal intelligence always to create the highest reality, even when it seems to go against our personal desires.
“Do your work, then step back.
The only path to serenity.” ~ Dao De Jing
Like the breath that flows in and out, freedom comes from non attachment to the fruits of our actions. We simply allow the transient experiences of life to come and go, with stillness and awareness. The nature of the game, as far as I can understand it at this time, is to come into greater and greater alignment with universal will, so that our intentions are a perfect reflection of universal intention. Meditation and spiritual practices are for this, and the unfolding grace is the peace and love that shine through our heart and mind when Life moves through us; unhindered, uninhibited, and unadulterated.
“Life is the dancer and you are the dance.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
Winter solstice is a very auspicious time for spiritual practices, as it represents a time of diminished light. Therefore we are called upon to find the light within, to allow our inner light and the light of universal consciousness to pervade our heart and mind, and to create our reality from that place deep within, from where the light emerges into the world just as the Yang emerges from the depth of Yin.
About the author: Thomas Leichardt is available for consultations in all things energetic and spiritual. As a holistic medical practitioner, he applies various modalities to help restore his patients’ natural alignment with health, vitality, joy, and clarity. Thomas has an acupuncture and energy medicine clinic in San Jose, CA. He also teaches classes in energy medicine and is faculty at Five Branches University. Make an online appointment, or for more information, visit the author’s main site.