Tonight is the night of the Winter Solstice which marks the longest night and shortest day of the year. As soon as tomorrow the Sun will begin to move from its lowest point in the Northern Hemisphere and each day will gain a bit more daylight.
For centuries various cultures have observed this day with celebrations of the returning of light. Solstice is celebrated around the world – the Polish celebrate Gody, in Pakistan they celebrate Chaomos, Guatemala celebrates Santo Tomas and across the world people will be lighting candles and fires in celebration. Our own culture is known for celebrations throughout the month of December and light is a symbol of the holidays. Chanukah is known as the Festival of Lights, Christmas is filled with symbolic decorations of lights, Kwanza includes a Kinara (candle holder) to hold the 7 candles of the season (Mishumaa).
The dates vary as we move through this season but the actual date of when the longest night is known and that date this year is the evening of December 20th. As we are all part of the universe there is an energetic significance to working with the energy of the Solstice. It is beneficial to find a few moments to be with this energy and to participate with the millions of people across the planet who will be involved in ceremonies.
There is high level of suffering, stress and fear throughout the world as we end 2016. A few minutes spent a meditation will help to ease anxiety. Lighting a candle along with soothing music while mentally celebrating with positive minded people throughout the world will add to a more humane and loving vibration. It will be a benefit individually and can serve as a prayer for the world.
The Sun in Jyotish represents the soul of human beings. The soul which is not hampered by the fears and aversions of the ego. The soul never wishes harm on others and can guide us through the darkest of night – all we have to do is to be mindful of its existence and give it some attention.
We can take a few moments to close off the left nostril and breath only through the right nostril as that will stimulate the” pingala nadi” which is the energetic solar channel running through our spines. We can write down our fears and aversions and offer them to the fire of the Sun. We can do physical yoga or simply dance to music. No matter what we choose to do we can do this knowing that the Sun, which represents light, is gaining in strength and that we can gain strength as well.
The Sanskrit word for the Sun is “Surya” (Sooree-ya) and for those who like to chant “Om Surya” can easily be chanted as a Solstice celebration. Those who have experience with the Gayatri Mantra can chant it as the Gayatri is considered one of the best Solstice mantras. It is a long mantra which can be downloaded if you do not know it or have a copy of it. Krishna Das fans can listen to Shri Ram Jaya Ram (Ram is a word for Sun). Any technique can be chosen as long as the goal is to add to positive energy and allow the strength of joy to into our lives.
I hope that you can take advantage of this night of the Solstice and let the energy carry you through the Holiday Season and into the New Year!