On the heels of Winter Solstice, which marks the longest night of the year here in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s easy to fall into daydreams about endless sand dunes, salty beaches, and sweet fruit. But despite the frigid weather, the Solstice actually heralds the return of the Sun and its longer warmer days. The literal translation of Solstice means Standing Sun.

Solstice itself marks the exact day of the year with the shortest amount of daytime, every ensuing day becomes progressively lighter for longer. This is why so many global cultures celebrate some form of creation or divinity myth around or on the Winter Solstice.

For many, it is considered the return of the Sun Gods and the energy they represent. For the Egyptians, it was the birth of Horus, son of God Pharaoh Isis and Osiris. The cause celebre in Rome was Saturnalia in honor of the God Saturn, ruler of Capricorn whose astrological cycle also begins at this time. In Iran, the archetype of the light is honored through Yalda, where it is customary to keep vigil with friends and family through the night while enjoying red fruit, mystic poetry, and relishing in the sweetness of life as a way to help the Sun, which represents goodness, combat its twin the darkness, which represents evil.

To the Indigenous Cultures in many parts of the world, monuments were erected with precise calculations, where slivers of sunlight would appear through certain openings at precise moments, masterfully illuminating the deepest and darkest recesses of the caves or cave markings or arches, doorways, glyphs or temples…relics of understanding from a different time.

In Christianity, one of the newer traditions, it is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ that is observed at this time of year. Jesus, who is considered by some to be “the light of the world,” brings the promise and understanding necessary to traverse a new age.

Across all cultures, a universal thread emerges: the Winter Solstice, although a celebration of light, also signifies a moment of necessary endurance, where we require tenacity, vitality, and clarity to withstand the enduring darkness of winter. We can engage this wisdom as we prepare our resolutions. The primal archetype of the light conquering the darkness is an opportunity for self-alchemy, transformation, and empowerment. We can reduce many aspects of our life into simpler forms and be like the Standing SunL shining into itself without hesitation of what its purpose is, or how to get it done.

But how do we get there? How do we get in touch with our inner light and stand in it through the cold dark days of winter overwhelm? First, in order to connect with our radiance, we don’t actually have to do a thing. It’s already there. Intact. Perfect in its brilliance. More than anything, the magic happens in the undoing. These are the first two steps of the Alchemical Process, actually. Solve et coagula, we dissolve things to their essence and then we reconfigure them in a higher expression.

Here are a handful of options you might explore to simplify for the New Year; maybe pick one or mix and match. Either way, Light Work is really all about choosing your own adventure.

Ditch the bar and get high on your own supply.

First thing’s first: Meditate.

Seriously, meditation has been scientifically proven to have a host of benefits from anxiety and stress reduction, to weight loss, better sleep, faster healing, improved memory function, and better overall response to discomfort. To combat the cold and before you Aum out, try a breathing technique like Kapalabhati, or “Shining Skull” Breath. This technique is used to build internal heat, focus, and burn off excess energy.  Want a boost for your blast off? Try sipping on Mullein Tea, an herb associated with Saturn, whose medicinal uses both relieve excess mucous and aid the respiratory system by decreasing inflammation.

Moving on, when was the last time you wore that?

We are on to the next purge by cleaning out our closets. Try this simple philosophy to help you know what to get rid of: If you haven’t worn something in a year- let it go. Everything deserves to have a life of it’s own in real time and not just sit or hang in the back of a closet full of that will go perfect with this’s… so take last years puffer jacket or trench coat to an organization that donates them to the homeless or people in need. Many organizations are doing Coat Drives right now. A favorite is NYC Relief.  It’s cold out, so make sure you’re loaded up on immune boosters like elderberry!

Unsubscribe me please…

For a more basic simplification, try a personal favorite: unsubscribe from all of the mailing lists that you have no idea how you got on to begin with or ones that send you what every person in their right mind would truthfully describe as way too many mailings.  Decluttering your web space is just as important as decluttering your physical space, especially because more and more of us spend an increasing amount of time online. Don’t want to see it anymore: UNSUBSCRIBE. And you’re probably going to need some liquid courage to do this… so try some raw cacao and an adaptogenic mushroom blend with a dash of cayenne pepper, stevia or coconut sugar, in your favorite steamed nut milk.  Delete. Delete. Delete.

I love you, I am sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.

We often do not fully recognize how holding onto grievances ravages our immune system, challenges our emotional health, and threatens our inner peace.  Because lack of forgiveness is rooted in the past- literally an experience that no longer exists, it’s not always possible to experience catharsis through confrontation or conversation… Sometimes, just like the moment the wound happened, the person or situation connected to it is no longer in our lives. Global Forgiveness Initiative created a free E-book on the Hawaiian practice of radical forgiveness, Ho’oponopono. It’s okay to need some support with this,  so try a mood-boosting elixir of rose with cinnamon and orange peel as the perfect and simple ally. Add some coconut creamer if you’re feeling super fancy or in need of extra comfort. Rose has been known to be one of the best herbs to quell feelings of grief, love, and letting go. Cinnamon is one of the only warming herbs that won’t dry out our respiratory system, and orange essential oil uplifts our mood while providing a touch a Vitamin C.

Be the author of your healing.

In the ancient days, and still in some tribal cultures, a lot of healing came through self-expression. Medicine people would prescribe things like song, dance, poem, and painting in order to help the patient navigate whatever experience plagued them. The Arts were originally the Healing Arts. So create. Become the authority of your own life. Soothe yourself through your own expression. Winter is the single most perfect time to hibernate and activate your creative, intuitive, and dreamy reflective nature. Find some extra inspiration with herbs like Brahmi or Tulsi, whose anti-inflammatory properties aid with the blood circulation of the brain and eyes, helping you open your inner vision for you work.

Definitely use the energy of this time to your advantage. Everything you do now is a seed. In the Spring and Summer, all your beautiful winter plants will emerge as experience. Keep it Light. Happy New Year!

Nicole Adriana Casanova

Nicole Adriana Casanova is a student of Maestro Manuel Rufino, a Taino Elder who founded the Golden Drum educational center in Brooklyn. Nicole is a writer, poet, and storyteller, a 200 RYT Yoga Alliance certified Yoga and Meditation Teacher, a certified Reiki Master in the Usui and Karuna Reiki Riojo, a Shamanic Practitioner, a Human Movement teacher, and Magical Awakening Practitioner. Nicole blends decades of expertise in the wellness and holistic field to create one of a kind empowerment experiences in groups as well as one-on-one settings. As a Soul Architect, Nicole bridges practices and teachings from various wisdom traditions around the world, with intuitive knowledge and practical know how to create one of a kind blueprints of empowerment, healing, and remembrance.

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