One of the most revered times of the year for peace and internal solace, the Winter Solstice is an interlude to elevate the self through practices of solitude and reflection. A rather colder period of time on the East coast, we turn to methods of increasing warmth and nurturing the body with earthly foods and brews. Finding the beauty and necessity in all seasons, the Winter Solstice reminds us of the need for life to be still, ruminate on the seeds planted, and prepare for their impending fruition. We amplify our intentions and focus on our goals for the future, giving them the positive energy and focus they require to manifest.
Though personal contributions to wellness are encouraged throughout the year, emphasis is even more evident during this time as we are challenged with the elements (being cognizant of geography). The beauty of the snow covered trees and crispness of the air prompt our internal constitutions to complement extra care and attention to our bodies, minds, and spirits.
We also celebrate the time of Yule, the Neopagan tradition of lighting fires to symbolize heat and radiance returning to the sun. Revelries in connecting with the natural world honors the sacred spirit and union in all things. Rituals and practice alter our consciousness to redirect the outer world to coincide with our inner landscape. Though there might be a period of darkness, it is temporary, and we are able to delight the return of the beaming and warming sun.
During this season, I am more inclined to practice Trataka or Candle Gazing. Taking in the image of a still flame and “holding” it in your Third Eye Center supports the connection to self-awareness. Find a still and comfortable seat and place a lit candle at eye level. Focus your line of sight at the very center of the flame. Steady your breathing and see it in conjunction with steadying the flame. After a few moments of focus, close your eyes and try to “see” the outline and shape of the flame in the dark blank space. Hold this image as long as you can whilst maintaining your breathing. If the image is lost, open your eyes and refocus on the flame, close your eyes and hold the image once again. This takes time, patience, and practice to progressively extend your time. Namaste.
The Working Yogini