Life Transitions Counselling

Winter solstice: the Dark Night of the Soul

The winter solstice is a time of spiritual transformation, when darkness begins to depart and which can be a catalyst for great healing.

In the native spiritual traditions of Northern Europe, the winter solstice was associated with the beginning and ending of a rotation of the seasonal Wheel of the Year. It is the celebration of the darkest night and shortest day of winter, the true beginning of the year because we re-emerge from an underworld of the cold, unfruitful darkness.

It is the metaphoric Dark Night Of the Soul and a time of personal reckoning from which spark fresh hope and meaning. As we use this time for meditation and reflection, our regrets and “unfinished business” can be burned away; we take with us into the new year all that still serves us, as we start a new yearly cycle.

Choosing what to bring into the new year implies deciding what we want to give over to the fires, or to transform: where we want this process of metamorphosis to take us.

Reflect on the ups and downs of the seasonal cycle you have just finished with — what has served you and enriched your life, taken you closer to the completion of your goals, towards personal maturity and an authentic voice? What darkness has this past year brought you, what hidden spaces have shown up again, what relationships, patterns, losses, mis-steps or injustices have caused you grief?

Reflect on the year past, and the lessons each difficulty has birthed, because the obverse of any challenge is opportunity for growth.

Then comes the “pointy end”: the decision we make to go forward with our lessons, to practice self-forgiveness, to unload resentment and anger towards another lest we carry this poison into our future. Letting go of any self-sabotaging patterns and toxic behaviours, excuses we make which limit our lives, our perfectionism removes emotional and spiritual anchors which weigh us down. These excuses and anchors hold us back from developing to our full potential.

What impacts our psychological wellbeing is a sense of personal identity, efficacy and a purpose for existence. When we lack that sense of meaning in our life, we flounder and can be burdened by despair and depression. Consider this: do you have a purpose or vocation so compelling that it taps you on the shoulder every day, and inspires you to excel, gives you a reason to get up every morning?

Use this symbolic space to take a measure and reset your life.

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