Today is the shortest day/longest night of the year. Before any organized religions existed, people celebrated this day as the returning of the light after a season of shorter days. It’s the end of harvest and the beginning of the yin-most season, winter. It’s the season of facing mortality, of gathering seeds with intention to plant new beginnings.
Ancient ruins show us that cultures around the world (from native Americans both north and south to Irish and British to Mediterranean and more, I’m sure) were savvy enough to build structures to mark and hold ceremonies for the solstices and equinoxes.
In those times, communities were more tenuous, and starvation in winter was a real possibility. Gatherings on winter solstice must have included the last feast before winter began in earnest, prayers for survival, requests for blessings from the higher powers, and of course, recognition of our complete dependence on nature, on Gaia, on the mysterious ways of the Universe that brought this astronomical event every year without fail but left so much more seemingly to chance, in somewhat random cycles of life, death, and rebirth.
When the religions came into existence, not being able to compete with astronomical, seasonal facts of solstice celebrations, they supplanted winter solstice observances by piling on their own holidays — Saturnalia, Hanukkah, Yule, Christmas, New Year’s, and more. (For a full listing of winter solstice observances, read the Wikipedia entry for winter solstice.)
In many ways, the new year actually begins today. This day may well be the most powerful day of the year for looking at your present life and allowing your intent for the coming year to make itself clear — bringing light into the darkness.
What do you intend for the coming year? What do you want to learn? What do you want to create? What direction will your life path take you?
Much of the future, of course, must remain dark. What fun would it be if we knew everything that would happen? No surprises, no trusting (or fearing) the universe will bring you just what you need. No challenges to help you rise to the occasion, to assist you to define and refine your character and expand your resourcefulness.
Recently I posted about beauty, and this is one of the 50 reasons why you are beautiful:
3. Beauty is a daring action. One that is built on your authentic intention instead of being attached to the outcome.
Being attached to the outcome leaves no room for the unknown and invites disappointment. Consider that the unknown making itself known may reveal even more beauty than you can possibly imagine.
Building on your authentic intention creates a direction that your actions can then follow, until it’s time to change direction.
Please let yourself dream today, and get in touch with the silent stillness that’s always available — just an intention away. Tapping into the silent stillness allows intentions to arise and clarify. Intentions are the seeds of action. What kind of new year can you intend for yourself?