Winter Solstice & the Dance of Duality

The sun stands still.  And then it reverses.

The stillness happens at 2:47p MT on the day this post is published. I sit at my desk on the morning of darkest day of the year, wanting to root down, to burrow into the dark and shield myself from the cold, to rest and see what may germinate when light returns.

winter solstice, summer solstice

Each summer and winter solstice, I think back to a class I took while I lived in Japan. I filled my weekends that year dabbling in shiatsu, cooking, Japanese language, an obscure martial art that I can’t recall now, and macrobiotics.

I’ve remembered the most about the macrobiotics class. As the sensei introduced us to he way of life (the Tao), he explained a few fundamentals. The one that goes with solstice, in my mind, was this:

When something reaches its zenith, it begins to become its opposite.

This, to me, is profound. We reach the peak of summer, and we then head toward winter. Once the darkest part of the night passes, day advances.

There is a constant ebb and flow, a dance of duality. Happiness and sadness. Joy and sorrow. Abundance and scarcity. Maybe even life and death?

For more on the relationship between winter solstice and Christmas, read here.

What are your thoughts and feelings about solstice? How do you feel in your body today?

guide to living in open adoption

Lori Holden, mom of a teen son and a young adult daughter, writes from Denver. Her book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole, is available through your favorite online bookseller and makes a thoughtful anytime gift for the adoptive families in your life. Catch episodes of Adoption: The Long View wherever you get your podcasts.

Lori was honored as an Angel in Adoption® in 2018 by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.

21 thoughts on “Winter Solstice & the Dance of Duality”

  1. Is’t that true of life? Lots of peaks and valleys, highs and lows. It’s a nice way to look at things.NCLM!

  2. Thanks for stopping by. I have to say the money I spent on my photographer was SO worth it. I love my pictures. Both he and the place have my album as a sample. One day when I am more brave I will put pictures of DH and I up that show our faces.

  3. <>When something reaches its zenith, it begins to become its opposite.<>So true. Whenever I’m happy and everything seems to be working out, I say to myself, “This too shall pass” and I stop, paralyzed, waiting for the axe to fall.

  4. Such a simple and almost obvious statement, but yet so freaking deep.Strange phenomenon I have noticed … in the past 4 or 5 days, I’ve seen “ebb and flow” mentioned four times. And yes, I will do what you asked me to do. Even though I am read like 1,000 times less than you and the other person!! 🙂

  5. Interesting observation, isn’t it? It’s hard to accept that ebb and flow sometimes, and so many of us spend so much energy fighting against it. But if we ride out the bad, we can bask in the good when it comes again.

  6. So true. I know that the sad times in my life have made me appreciate the happy times more. The ebb and flow.

  7. The summer solstice and I have a love-hate relationship. I love the long day (the sun doesn’t go down here until almost 10 PM) but the days following are getting shorter – which brings us to the winter and the rain. Again. I totally believe in the ebb and flow of life. Ebb and Flow. Like those words a lot.

  8. Thank you. In my culture the Summer Solstice id indeed an important event. I did my ceremony yesterday. This thought about becoming it’s opposite is amazing and mind opening.

  9. Gorgeous, gorgeous post! Thank you for sharing that provocative thought. Summer solstice is something that has a way of making me a bit happy and sad. happy because I’m solar powered and love the longest day of it, but sad because I know that means the days shorten from then forward…

  10. For some reason this concept fills me with hope and sadness at the same time. There is the reassurance that “this too will pass” – that life continues to move on, that your darkest hour may just be the beginning of your journey into your lightest day. But then the opposite holds true as well….your brightest moment may be the moment before you begin your descent into your darkest night.There is great comfort and power, but also this feeling that we are so small and out of control in the midst of it all.And yet….there is peace in this too somewhere.

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  12. Yes, as the solstices approach I always think about how, in the depth of winter, the earth turns toward summer, and in the height of summer, we turn toward winter. It fascinates me.

    I love Christmas too….it has a magnetic pull I don’t even understand myself….I always feel near to something not quite of everyday reality.

  13. This is lovely! I always used to think of the winter solstice as the darkest day of the year, but how wonderful to flip that and mark it as the beginning of lighter days. Happy holidays to you!

  14. Man, the comments section here is all ebb and flow – some familiar names who have disappeared into the ether. Life is change, I guess, and we have the solstices and equinoxes to remind us of it.

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