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A Winter Solstice Prayer

A Winter Solstice Prayer

For our ancestors, the beginning of winter marked a sacred and deeply symbolic time and is now celebrated by many as Winter Solstice. It falls on the shortest, darkest day of the year and begins our return to brighter weeks ahead.

This year's winter solstice takes place tonight, Thursday, December 21st, and it beckons us to reflect and to surrender. In my house, we take this time to nourish ourselves with warming, wholesome soup, and connect more deeply through meditation, pranayama, and quiet walks outside.

Nowadays in the Western world, the shift to winter barely registers for most people - except that maybe it's time to haul your heavy coat out of storage and turn up the dial on your thermostat.

However, when we carry on living the same way regardless of the season, we lose the opportunity to connect with nature... and with our deepest selves. Even though we can control the climate indoors, it's vital that we pay attention to the lessons that the earth is sharing with us outside.

Ancient cultures like the Egyptians, the Māori, the Maya, the Celts, the Druids, the Inca and so many others - each celebrated Solstice. In the Chinese Taoist tradition, winter solstice is considered the most yin (dark / feminine / damp) day of the calendar. Energy comes to a momentary point of pause, before it gives birth to yang (light / masculine / heat).

Yin and yang form the basis of Chinese medicine and according to this school of wisdom, one cannot exist without the other. These two seemingly opposite forces are intimately connected and complementary.

I love this concept. We need times of darkness, quiet, stillness, healing and rest, as much as we need activity, noise, and light.

Here is a lovely prayer / poem from the French philosopher and author Albert Camus, that speaks to the spirit of this shortest day of the year.

In the depth of winter, 
I finally learned 
that within me there lay 
an invincible summer.

― Albert Camus

A fun homework assignment for you - do a little research on your own ancestral roots and find out what your relatives traditionally did to celebrate the Winter Solstice. You may find something truly special :) 

Stay curious,

Nick Polizzi
Host of Healing Kitchen: Let Food Be Thy Medicine
& Founder of The Sacred Science

Credit

Nick Polizzi is the founder of The Sacred Science, a website and blog dedicated to explorations of alternative healing modalities and indigenous healing traditions. His work stems from a calling to honor, preserve and protect the ancient knowledge and rituals of indigenous peoples around the world. He has spent his career directing and producing feature-length documentaries about holistic alternatives to conventional medicine. His work illustrates the power we humans possess to overcome the many challenges that life can bring when we own our truth.

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