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Longest Night and the Shadow Self


I like to think of the winter solstice as the Earth's recognition of her own shadow self. A time when she tilts her axis away from the sun to allow the darkness to overcome the light, an astronomical sign that welcomes the season of being within. The winter solstice not only marks the official beginning to winter, but also the longest night. It has been recognized in many cultural mythologies and traditions, even dating back to Neolithic times. The Neolithic sights of Newgrange in Ireland and Stonehenge in England both have primary axes that point to the winter solstice sunrise and winter solstice sunset (respectively). The last feast was celebrated before the famine of deep winter set in. Themes of death and rebirth are interwoven into the tapestry of this time and it is no wonder that the start of the new year is not far away.

The dark night of winter solstice makes me reflect on the dark that is within. Most of us leave the dark side of ourselves alone, like a child fearing what's under the bed at night and not risking a peek. I mean it's in the dark for a reason right? Bringing it to light would mean acknowledging its presence and maybe even having to share it with others. Shadow is formed very early in our lives and I think can even be brought forward from other lives. It contains parts of ourselves denied by others or even by ourselves. Just brushing up against the shadow we may feel the shame, fear, hurt or anger that swirls within. But often times light work and shadow work go hand in hand on the authentic spiritual path. Part of the process necessarily involves reclaiming the power you have given to any other person to hold an opinion that means more to you than the truths of your own heart (Alanna Fairchild)!

The shadow represents blocks that need to be met with love and understanding and a gentleness to contain it all. It is only then that we allow the flow of light that is needed to shine brightly enough to release the block and move forward. We long as beings to expand, to grow more fully into who we are meant to be, to honor the amazing creative potential we all possess. Clearing stagnant energy from our systems takes courage and strength, but is a beautiful testament to our inherent power. We all have this power!

I have been using essential oils and crystals to help in my shadow work. They help hold a pure vibration to assist going within and acknowledging what lies hidden and where it originated. Once you fully name it, you will find the light has already started to form cracks in the dark. Hope. That is the light of hope. I really do believe that when we are ready to do shadow work, we will not be given more than we can handle. It is a process, sometimes a chipping away, that is where the gentleness resides.

Black Spruce is one essential oil I find helpful and it smells divine, like a walk at night through the forest. It brings mental clarity and has an immediate grounding effect.

The Lakotas used spruce to strengthen their ability to communicate with the Great Spirit so it makes sense it would help us communicate with ourselves on a deeper level. It is distilled from the needles which provide respiration for the whole tree, no wonder this oil resonates with the respiratory system! So take a deep breath, you