|NASA Goddard Photo - The Winter Solstice - 12/22/2011|
Circles, cycles, wreaths and rings; round and round we go. Seasons are cycles and cycles are circular and "to everything there is a season." It is no surprise that the wedding ring represents the everlasting commitment of marriage with no defined end. Likewise, wreaths - circles of evergreen boughs symbolizing eternal life - are fitting celebratory decorations for the Christmas holiday. Winter is a significant part of the year’s cycle.
After the holiday madness is over, the winter solstice should be a time for all of us to go inside during the darkness and take a respite – to pause, rest and renew. Just like the metabolic slow down of hibernating animals during winter or the dormancy period of many plants, humans benefit from this down time also. The cessation is important and is a great gift – we can rethink, reevaluate and revive. During winter, the sleeping seeds of inspiration may later sprout into a garden of delightful changes or ideas. Use the darkness well. In a few short months the next season will be upon us; days will get longer and longer and take back the darkness of winter.
The New Year’s celebration and the fitting image of Janus – the two-faced god looking forward to new beginnings and glancing back on the past – is perfect. Our past is a part of our present and future; it can be the ground from which we grow and change. I think it is important to ponder what is no longer working in one’s life and say good-bye mournfully - then slowly over time reinvigorate it with the surprises life springs upon us.
When we were children we believed anything could happen in our lives – all was possible. The New Year gives us this mimicry of youth and new beginnings every January. It is a chance to give birth to the possibility of a new self. This is the best present of all! Happy New Year and Bonne année!