A foundational principle of Chinese Medicine is balance. Specifically balance between yin and yang.
Yang is what moves the leaves in a breeze, it is the spark that awakens us from slumber.
Yang is summer, hot, bright, open. Yang reaches to the heavens and responds to what we see.
As one of my teachers described it, it is the bottom of the ocean, on the ocean floor. Yin is still, quiet, heavy.
Winter, especially in these days of solstice turning, is Yin Time. It is the time to be still. These are the days to honor the substance of our being. To listen. To rest and allow the yang to enter into the yin. The nights are as long as the days and even as we long for the light to return, missing the dazzle of summer afternoons, we are invited to settle in. Set a spell, as some locals might say.
Our culture’s response to this invitation is to gather, to move, to get busy with shopping and buying, baking and visiting. This is not bad necessarily. It is an opportunity for balance. In the midst of profound reflection we need the warmth of love and friendship. In the darkness we can use some candlelight.
It is also an opportunity for Imbalance, enticing us to force the light to blind the darkness. To fight the currents dropping us to the ocean floor and to burn up our substance with candles aflame at both ends.
The trick this time of year is to set a spell with ourselves. To rest in the weight of our substance, with all that makes us indescribably amazingly who we are. The trick this time of year is to welcome the warmth of love and celebration and yet to risk the dark still quiet of our own profound depths.
The nights are longer than the days. The quiet is more needed than the noise. The darkness more than light. Listening is greater wisdom than seeing. This is the balance around us, it invites us to greater balance within. As my faith tradition reminds us, Be Still, and know that I am the Holy One. Be still. Know.
May you find great peace in the depths and warmth in your circles and comfort in this Season.