It’s that time of year, when the darkest day is upon us.

Winter Solstice, which happens today just before 5pm (ET). 

The solstices, like seasons, are about non-linear transitions into a new phase of life. Each season brings a new awareness and each solstice a moment to stop and reflect. The winter solstice is about letting go of that which does not serve you. By releasing the gunk in our wheels, we free up the motion to move more smoothly through life. And while that reference can be for any time of year, it is more apparent when winter arrives as it is a time for rest and recuperation. However, if you don’t release it, you will not have a restful hibernation. 

The reason we do this is that our negative emotions and low vibrations affect mother earth. As we release what we are negatively holding on to, we can feel the earth’s presence and movement once again. For without that connection, your life will not flow through your journey. 

Therefore, I always look forward to the winter solstice. It’s like a reminder that I need to shake off the past year, let go of what’s holding me back, and go inside of myself and turn on the internal light of my soul. For the closer we get to the ego, the farther we are from our soul; and without our soul navigating our life we will be the hamster on the wheel going round and round, never to get off until we fall off. And whether the fall is hard or soft is irrelevant. That you had to be thrown from it at all is what matters.

So today, the shortest day of sunlight, allows for the opportunity to take the dark hours and hand over our burdens, as we come to peace with them. The solstice begins just before sundown tonight. That is the time I gather my shamanic tools and bundle Sammy and I up and go out to the yard and prepare to give thanks to the ancestors for their guidance and love and direction this past year. Once the sun has set, we return inside to begin our contemplation of what we need to let go of in order to be a better person for the earth, our family, our friends, and for ourself. And yes, Sammy does this too. 

Remember, our pets are connected to the earth and the moon even more than we are. They know what day it is without reading a calendar, just like a shamanic practitioner would. We know by the vibration of the earth, the stars in the sky, and wind in the air.

Every year Sammy contemplates the last year, releases anything his soul hung on to that doesn’t serve his wellbeing, and decides what he wants to bring about when winter is over and spring begins. For you see he has a soul just like you and me. He has feelings, wants, and desires. He has needs to be met and lessons to be learnt. While I hope he shares them with me, he doesn’t always. 

So what to do when he isn’t sharing?

I just add to my prayers with the Great Spirit, the ability to know what he needs when he needs it. And yes, you can do this too. When the time comes, you might not realize what you are doing is for your pet, but they will. 

The most important part of the solstice for me is connecting to the earth and her kingdom. For without it, we would not exist. And if we lose it, we inevitably have lost ourselves. So my connection to nature is great, and so should yours be. 

And yes, we know it’s cold out. It’s only 16 degrees here in SE Michigan as I’m writing this, but I know it will do my soul good to be outside amongst nature. Listening to the birds, hawks, and owls in the distance. Catching a squirrel here and there. Watching the clouds move by, showing a smidgen of sunlight now and then, grounding myself in the earth I live upon, while connecting to my beloved Sammy with all my heart and soul.

Then we return inside to a nice cup of hot cider, light the yule log (fake or real), and snuggle up together and just enjoy being together. Thanking each other for being on this journey together so that we may grow in abundance. Reminding ourselves what we have to be grateful for, pray for blessings upon our friends and family, and embrace the earth, the moon and the sun as the darkest of times is behind us and the days ahead will grow longer now.

On this lifelong shamanic journey, I have learned to let go of the concept of calendar time, and instead connect to the timing of the earth. Sometimes the earth’s timing is the same as our societal time, and sometimes it’s not. 

This year it is not. 

And that is OK. I will learn to adjust, and so will you.


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