Sunday, December 20, 2009

Winter Solstice

Photo found here

If the dark days have been getting you down, rejoice! Today is the Winter Solstice, which in layman's terms is the shortest day of the year. Now while that may not sound like means for celebration, the result is that every day from now until the Summer Solstice will be longer and longer (Wondering when the Summer Solstice is? It's typically on June 21st - 6 months from the Winter variety). More scientifically speaking, the Solstice is the day that the earth's axis is tilted at it's most extreme degree either towards or away from the Sun. In today's case, we in the northern hemisphere are leanin' back like Fat Joe (if you don't get the rap reference, we're leaning back a lot) while our friends south of the equator are leaning in for a kiss of sunshine.

The Winter Solstice has been celebrated in countless ways by cultures around the world for well over a thousand years. Many interpretations of Sun Deities are honored at this time - such as the the Incan sun god Inti, or the sun-goddess Beiwe who was believed by the Saami (the indigenous people of current-day Finland, Sweden, and Norway) to travel across the sky through a structure of reindeer bones. Many cultures and faiths have viewed the Winter Solstice as a time of rebirth or renewal - including various Neopagan and Christian sects which celebrate the rebirth/birth of prominent figures of their faith during this symbolic time of year. Whichever tradition you choose to carry-out this season, it's likely rooted in the current angle of our round, spinning home.

If the change in weather and the stress of the holidays has you down, why not celebrate your own renewal of spirit today? Do something that helps you feel rejuvenated - be it heading to the gym to sweat out toxins, drinking a big green juice to revitalize your body, or booking a massage to rub yourself anew. Honor yourself by being mindful of your needs as you prepare for the winter ahead. Don't forget to be patient with yourself; the short days and long nights may affect us biologically, mentally, physically, and emotionally. And even at the most challenging of times, remember; it'll only get brighter from here.

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