Every season is a gift from the Creator with its own special purpose. Winter is the season for quiet. For stillness. For restoring reserves. As the light wanes and the days grow colder, the season of stillness wraps around us like a down comforter. In nature, the seed lies deep under the earth, undisturbed. Although it seems dormant, special changes are taking place within the seed, preparing it to develop and shoot up strong in the Spring. Interrupting or interfering with this important process during its cultivation stage puts the seed at risk of never realizing its full maturation. So we allow it to remain secluded and sheltered to develop in peace and quiet. That is what is appropriate and needed for this stage.
Likewise, there is a place deep within the very center of our consciousness where our soul develops. It is the place of awareness of our authentic essence. Winter is the perfect season to reconnect with your original self, your true soul essence, and to rest in its power and beauty. It’s a time to foster this profound awareness – quietly, peacefully, perhaps with ritual or ceremony. And Yule is perfect for ritual because it arrives right at the deepest point – the very center – of the season. We feel the need to go within and incubate the seeds of our heart’s desire. To remain quiet and undisturbed. To create. To cradle our hopes and dreams in the protected place of our inner stillness. To tenderly embrace our soul as it matures and grows toward the light.
In the story of the goddess and god (who both had grown old by the Fall season), the god voluntarily gave up his life in the Autumn to sustain the people. He became the seed of grain in the womb of the goddess (the earth), who has once again become the Great Mother and will give birth to the new Sun King. He has been incubating in her womb since Autumn and will be born again at Yule, the Winter Solstice. From his birth at Yule, the sun’s light grows stronger and the days get longer. The goddess will nurture her son and keep him sheltered until she presents him to the world at Candlemas, heralding the beginning of Spring.
For your ritual, lighting candles is fitting – maybe even necessary – as this holiday is one of the fire festivals. After all, it signals the return of the light to the world. Put yourself in a meditative state and ask yourself, “What do I instinctively do to stay connected to my light? How do I keep my light burning during this darkest and coldest of seasons?” Then, spark the embers of your soul with a new creation. You might write a poem or story; sing your gratitude with tones and sounds that come from the depths of your heart; paint a picture that brings you to the feeling of stillness and peace; write a prayer; gracefully move or dance in a way that makes you feel both tender and strong.
Whatever your creation, offer it to Creation Source with your deepest respect for the power of life. Life is the power that shines the sun and stars; swirls the seas and grows the trees. It is the power that pumps your heart and circulates your blood. It is the power that molds your muscles and shapes your brain. It is the power that keeps you alive. This is the season for Life to take those long deep breaths of restorative sleep. So let yourself rest. Contemplate. Meditate. Embrace the dark.
The magical paradox of Winter Solstice is that it is both the longest night of the year and, simultaneously, the return of the light to the Earth. The pure white snow falls and blankets the land in a special stillness that protects all new life incubating within the Earth Mother. It signals us to get quiet. To go within. To seek peace. We rest. We recharge. We incubate the dream that lies growing in power and beauty within us, reconnecting us with our own soul’s essence.