Winter Solstice: Honor the Season of Slowing Down

As the year quickly comes to a close, we experience winter solstice: the shortest day of the year (or the longest if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere).

Here in the North, the darkness is real. With the Sun setting here in New York at 4:31 pm ET, we’re experiencing 5 hours and 50 minutes less daylight now than we did at the summer solstice in June. Add to that the mercury on the thermometer dropping, and we’re in the apex of winter.

Winter Solstice: Honor Your Past

On top of this already slow, dark, internal time in our seasonal cycle, the cosmos are serving up a serious snowpocalypse-sized dose of heavy-hitting transits. And with so much happening—both here on Earth and in the stars—scaling back and tuning in becomes of the utmost importance.

The solstice, marked by the Sun moving into Capricorn, happens this year on December 21st. In initiating the winter season, Capricorn—a cardinal sign—brings with it assertive (and ambitious) energy. And this year when the Sun moves into Capricorn, it conjoins Saturn there, too.

Now, Saturn just made the ingress into Capricorn a few days earlier, on December 19th. And having just wrapped up a three-year cycle in the sign of Sagittarius, as Saturn changes signs, it asks us to look back at everything that’s happened in that time. Like the saying goes, “We live life forward and understand it backward.” Sagittarius correlates with the quest for knowledge and the attainment of wisdom. What is the dominant story that unfolded in your life since Saturn entered Sagittarius? This question holds the key to your karmic gift from Saturn in Sagittarius. (Read more about that here.)

Hone Your Truth and Tend to Your Heart

Add these two massive transits together (Saturn conjoining the Sun—in Capricorn—on the solstice) and we have a day that could feel incredibly dense. After all, while Saturn—the planet of discipline and structure—asks us to go into deep review of the difficult lessons of the last three years; the Sun, shines a light on and enforces a sense of sobriety in our lives. Together, they ask us to get honest and humblereal and rawtruthful and tender.

Meanwhile, Mercury, the planet that rules communication, stations direct on the 22nd after just about three weeks retrograding through Sagittarius. This Mercury Retrograde asks us to sharpen our aim while Saturn finished its 3-year tour in the sign of the archer. During Mercury Retrograde, it’s essential to take special care of your body, your health habits, and the details of your life. This is a time for slow and steady self-care, with massive doses of meditation and cleaning sprinkled in. As Mercury stations direct, we can expect blinding truth to radiate our vision. Stay on the look out for what emerges the days leading up to and following this Mercury station.

Essentially, the cosmos are pulling the emergency brake during one of the busiest times of the year: during the holidays and as we wrap up the calendar year. It’s a lot! But that doesn’t mean that you need to cave into overwhelm, exhaustion, or defeat. There is a rhythmicity to this thing called life.

A Solstice Ritual: Go Slow to Go Fast

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, now’s the time of year, more than ever, when it behooves us to turn our attention inward and settle into our darkness (or what my colleague Kate Northrup coined as the fertile void).

While Mercury stationing direct will help us to understand what we must do to enter 2018 with a broader sense of wisdom guiding us, we must show up for ourselves in order to receive that message. So, as we move through the solstice and beyond, a potent portal, rich with the potential to claim our intentions for the future, it behooves us to practice presence (and actually enjoy it!).

Three Ways to Honor the Stillness Within You

1. Stop. Right now. Breathe. Go beneath the manic demands of your day-to-day life and access a more profound sense of peace from your soul via stillness. Give up the constant striving (for at least 20 minutes) and instead settle into silence. Know in your heart that your schedule and to-do list do not own you. Your worth is not derived from your accomplishments. You are worthy simply because you are alive. Take some time to be alone, sip some hot tea, and contemplate this (without doing anything else).

2. Embrace Winter as a season to nourish yourself body and soul. Trust that from a place of nourishment all things are possible. Your job isn’t to micromanage the possibility, but instead, to make sure you receive nourishment to fuel your process and progress.

3. Honor Mother Nature’s cycles by going within. Connect with your heart. Meditate or journal on the following questions:

  • What do I need to digest today?
  • What do I need to claim today?
  • What wisdom or vision is coming through today?

Know that you are not supposed to be perpetually in full bloom. Learn to savor (and create) the quiet moments—they become the soil for raucous and loud rebirths. While long nights and cold, short days can definitely take a toll on serotonin levels, great self-care can give a serotonin boost, too. Especially when we give ourselves permission to live a more introverted life this time of year: connected to our inner wisdom, and sourcing our power from within. See this as a season to slow down, to get quiet and understand that this is where our wisdom resides.

I’d love to hear from you. How are you navigating this thick cosmic energy? What advice do you have to offer others? Leave a comment and let me know!

As always, I send you all of my love for today, the happiest holidays, and a blessed New Year!

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8 Comments

  • Danielle

    I love winter. For me it’s always been a time of rest and reflection. And my birthday is January 26 so I consider that to be the actual start of my new year. This is going to be heavy but good year for me.

  • Noelle

    Jennifer! My day started very emotionally and I was able to reflect on this post and the Sun’s positioning like I never have before…and I understand. It has taught me to slow down (literally), to recognize what the stories were in my head and how I was contributing to them, and most importantly, to release it. “Release what no longer serves you”. Thank you to my friend Lila Gonzales who pointed me in your direction. Forever Grateful.
    PS
    If I want to follow the cycles of the moon and journal daily, what do you suggest? Just a blank journal or is there one pre-fab’d?

    • jracioppi

      Hi Noelle, Wonderful! I’m going to be teaching this, for free, later this month. Stay tuned.

  • Kristin N. Voorhees

    You’re genius: “know that you’re not supposed to be perpetually in full bloom.” <3

  • Julie

    I wish I’d read this 2 weeks ago. Learning in reverse!

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