As the Winter Solstice Approaches

A mound covered with green grass stands behind a group of trees.
Mound C at Toltec Mounds State Park
Photo Credit: Melanie

This coming Tuesday, December 21st, is the Winter Solstice.

Though I hate to admit it, I never gave much thought to the summer and winter solstices until I began working as a park interpreter at Toltec Mounds State Park in the mid ’90s. The park is the site of a prehistoric Native American religious and cultural center. The Native Americans constructed mounds that aligned with the solstices and equinoxes. Reading Native American legends about the sun’s movement across the sky gave me a new appreciation for the seasons and specifically for the winter solstice. While the solstice is the shortest day of the year, it also marks the point at which the days begin to lengthen. Indigenous people celebrated the winter solstice as a time of renewal. It is truly Mother Nature’s new year’s day.

A friend recently asked me what significance the winter solstice holds for me. It has become a time of reflection and renewal for me…a time for fresh starts. Personally, it feels more harmonious with the earth to celebrate and reflect on new beginnings on the winter solstice than on the beginning of the calendar year. As the days lengthen and the earth is bathed with more and more sunlight, we know that soon seeds will begin to germinate and plants begin to have new growth.

I like to contemplate what I want to grow in my own life. This year, I plan to ask myself these questions.

  • What do I want more of?
  • What would I do if I were not afraid?
  • What would I do if I didn’t worry about what others thought?

What does the winter solstice signify to you? What questions would help you to clarify what you want more of in your life or what choices you want to make? How would you like to spend your time on the solstice?

As the days lengthen, may we also see more light and wisdom reflected in the world around us. And may peace, love and compassion be our guides, this season and always.


Only when we are brave enough to explore our darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.
Brené Brown

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