The Winter Solstice is almost upon us and it is the time of deep reflection, letting go of past hurts and gearing up for the New Year to come.
In the northern hemisphere, it is the shortest day of the year when the Sun is farthest south, when our anceint ancestors feared the Sun might never come back. Romans called it Saturnalia or Dies Natalis Invicti Solis, the Birthday of the Unconquered Sun. Pagans of Scandinavia called it the yule (or juul), the Long Night, in Persia, Shabe-Yalda.
There were traditions, festivals, and rituals around this time to mark the beginning of the sun’s return. This included shadow material where slaves became kings and the reverse, where cattle was slaughtered and fed upon in preparation of the starvation months between January and April. Where feasting, dancing and fires were ongoing to an exhaustive feverish peak to celebrate the coming of the light, as well.
It was also an excellent time to pay attention to dreams.
Seasons as Guides
Dreaming of the seasons can carry many layers of meaning and wisdom. It can symbolize the “seasons of life” in the human developmental cycle: Spring for birthing and infancy, Summer for youth, to the maturity of Autumn and into Winter as a time for the elders and death; then rebirth and back again.
When we dream of seasons, our inner wisdom is being tapped and, if we pay attention, we can be guided by them in profound ways.
We humans naturally follow circadian rhythms or an internal body clock which we try to manipulate with light because of the longer nights. This stored wisdom or inner resources coming from our dreams should not be repressed but honored. Look to your night visions to bring you guidance for the coming year.
Here are some winter dreams:
I dreamed I was going on a hike called the Northern Silence. It was the greatest hike on earth. It was way up north—perhaps Canada or Alaska? —and there was much snow around so everything was still and silent. It was evening, dusk, and I was on a path but felt like I was a man. I was a young man on a journey, camping out in the wilderness. It was wonderful.
It was dark and I could see the snow piling up outside the house. I felt a deep sense of sadness and despair as if I was grieving though I do not know for whom or what. Then I saw my mother (who is deceased) smiling and beckoning me from the kitchen. Then I woke.
I was skating on an ice pond with other children. It was exhilarating and free to skate around. It reminded me of when I was a child.
The winter season is a time for deep, inner reflection. A period for silence, stillness, and hibernation right before rejuvenation and new growth of Spring. This time of life is so necessary for healing and is a beautiful reminder to slow down and stay in the moment.
Trust in the process: Most of the growth is happening in the earth, unseen, especially if you live in the Bay area; a place that doesn’t have these extreme weather. The winter dream is a good indicator to be reminded of this natural cycle of life.
Winter is also a time for letting go of old pains, memories and habits that no longer serve anymore. The “evening” time period in the dream only amplifies this message. This is a time for healing old wounds in order to let in new experiences.
When we can reflect on our dreams then we can be more in tune with the wisdom and the guidance there.
A wonderful way to evoke this type of dream is by using the ancient practice/ritual called Dream Incubation. Before bedtime, set an intention or even pose a question or problem that you wish answered. You can write it on a piece of paper and place under your pillow or repeat the intention while adding strong emotion to it before falling asleep.
Or you can write your intentions on paper and then later burn it. You may also use a log instead of paper and put it in the fire afterwards. Another wonderfully fragrant and potent way to release the old and set intentions for the new is to write them on dried bay leaves. Make sure you are using a firesafe method. Don’t every leave unattended fires or candles burning.
Be sure to write the dream down when you awaken by keeping a pen and pad by your bed.
Remember these dream intentions are happening– it’s just that they are unseen to the naked eye, like seeds underground. We just need patience and a bit of trust until we can see them burst force in the spring.