Winter Solstice: The Critical Pivot Of Nature

We have a tradition of honoring the Winter Solstice with gathering around a bonfire. We write what we want to leave behind from the last year on small paper strips and burn them in the fire. Sometimes, it’s a solemn affair of burning the paper quietly. Other times, it gets raucous with the voicing of injustices experienced throughout the year. But in the end, we always pivot towards the light by sending off sky lanterns as symbols of our hopes and dreams for the new solar year.

The Pivot

The quality of nature that is significant at the Winter Solstice is the pivot from the setting sun’s energy to the rising sun’s energy. The ability to pivot to the light rather than the dark is the most critical at this stage.

The energy of the setting sun is an example of the fire within. It represents the deep core energy that is renewed by focusing energy inward. We use the term Mingmen in Chinese medicine, which is roughly equivalent to the adrenals in the West.

The energy of the pivot relates to the Gallbladder system in Chinese medicine. It is a part of us that typically we don’t realize is vital to maintaining our health and well-being.

The Gallbladder System

On a physical level, the Gallbladder meridian runs on the sides of the body. It starts at the outer corner of the eye and traverses along the outer edge of the body all the way to the toes. It is a wave traveling along the side of the body, moving energy down, which is key to letting go so we can move on, and move forward with our lives.

What does this feel like in your body?

The felt sense of the pivot is the ability to twist and turn side to side with ease. We can pivot from the left to the right side without thought, particularly in our neck and spine. Flexibility will also be found in our diaphragm and ankles, bending, straightening, contracting, and relaxing without hesitation. The functions of our body that open and close are also harmonized, which explains the role of the Gallbladder system in functions such as constipation and diarrhea, the pores of our skin, and other places that need to pivot, such as wrists and elbows.

Observing Your Emotions

Feeling what the pivot is like in the body is a significant first step to evaluating what may be stopping or preventing our ability to pivot. If you are curious, take a moment to do a standing meditation/mindfulness-based inquiry to see what comes up.

Moving with the Rhythm of Nature

I talked with a mentor about how long it takes to heal. He gestured to a tree and stated that in a year’s time, we might not be able to observe much change but that the healing was taking place. It may not have fully manifested for several years, but it was happening.

The pivot of the Winter Solstice is a much slower unfolding than it may seem at first. It is very dark the days before and after the solstice, and it takes a full two weeks for the sun to shift enough to be very significant.

The lesson is that there is no rush in moving from orienting to sunrise from sunset. Give it a few days, even five, for you to see what comes up. From there, go with what takes your interest. I’m curious, what will you put your attention to this year?