The Winter Solstice can be seen as the deepest point of the year; the darkest, densest kernel of What Is. There isn't room for much else at this Solstice.
The opposite, the Summer Solstice is all about abundance and energy and by comparison this one might feel like a Solstice of lack. A more helpful way of looking at it would be as a Solstice of the essential.
The Winter Solstice corresponds to midnight, the new moon and old age. All of these are times when, in different ways, we release our hold on all that is extraneous and re-aquaint ourselves with what isn't- with what is at the core. Just like the plants and animals around us, our teachers, we sink a taproot into the heart of life and let everything else die.
In a society that leans all of its weight on who and what and why we are, just be-ing is likely to feel like stark, bone-chilling failure. We're supposed to Do things, Think things, Produce things, Stand For things, Belong to things- and winter asks us what we are when all of that disappears? What remains?
As ever, Nature holds the answers for us.
If we look to society for guidance, we'll see only the relentless productivity it is designed around- impervious to seasons or fatigue or whim. It's important to remember that society is a man-made structure. We're Nature, and that's where we'll find the guidance we seek.
As animals snuggle down- minimizing their activity to conserve energy- and plants retreat to their roots- often letting all that exists above ground die back- we can practice doing the same.
Here is a meditation to help with this. I really wanted to give you a recording, but apparently that isn't possible on this platform.
Lay comfortably and warmly on the floor- as close to the Earth as you can- and gather all your energy into your center.
As you breathe slowly and deeply, feel around for that dense core of Self in your center- breathe into it, engage it with curiosity, observe its characteristics: is this kernel of your being hard or soft, dark or light, damp or dry? Take your time.
When you feel ready, begin to breathe roots from this core, down into the Earth below you. Feel them grow longer, feel them penetrate the soil- do they have to snake through a cement foundation or several floors before they reach earth?
However they get there, absorb their sense of homecoming when they do finally sink into the land. Feel how the land welcomes them.
And now, with each breath, release. Release all of your extraneous selves into the soil. Release all of the striving and acting. Just let these drip from your body, into your roots, into the soil. This is compost.
When you need them again, you'll be able to bring them forth, but for now, just feel what it is to let them go. And then, as you release with each exhale, I want you to start bringing nourishment up from the Earth with every inhale. Breathe in acceptance, forgiveness, clarity. Breathe in love for who you are even when you aren't all those extra things. Breathe in peace for the little kid who developed these traits as defenses or coping mechanisms or strategies for winning love and approval. Right now, there's absolutely no need to try. You are, by society's standards nothing, and by nature's standards, the fertile, holy nothingness out of which all life springs.
Breathe. In and out. In and out. The exchange between you and your Earth moving up and down, up and down. You are shedding so much weight, so much of your excess and feeding it to the Earth. In return, she is feeding you with all of the emotional nourishment she has limitless reserves of.
Soon we'll begin to retract these roots back into our bodies, so take a moment first to thank the Earth for this communion.
Now breathe your roots back into your core. Slowly, slowly, let them make their way back the same way they came, until they are back in your body, then finally nestled back within your kernel of being.
Stay here for a moment. You are still your essential self- nothing more, nothing less. Feel the enormity of that. Somehow, without all of the padding, all the posturing, you are infinity itself. You could never be nothing. Let your every cell steep for a moment in the knowledge of your vastness. Let it tingle.
The padding will be back, but you will take with you the knowledge that it is optional, that it isn't your true or best self, that it is just an outfit that you can put on and take off as needed. The true you is safe and strong, deep within. Your roots, which connect you to all of creation, are where your magic lies.
When you're ready, with your eyes still closed, bring your awareness back to where your body is. What is this body feeling? Slowly move something: a toe, your eyeballs, your tongue. Gradually expand these movements until you feel yourself fully returned. Roll your hips from side to side for a deep spine twist, then return to regular life.
I hope you always remember your magic, dear ones. It's always there.