The wheel of the year has turned once again, heralding the arrival of winter: the season of bare branches, pale sunlight, and glittering ice.
To live in alignment with the seasons is the most ancient form of magic. It is always easy to appreciate the magic of summer, when the world is warm and fragrant. But to embrace the glinting frigidity of winter requires a little more subtlety. This is the season to rest, regenerate, and explore the hidden depths of your soul.
The seasonal rhythms of the earth are predicated upon the quality of the Sun’s light, following an annual cycle of rise and fall. Throughout the season of autumn, you witnessed the Sun descending further each day until the world became barren and cold.
The season of winter officially arrives at the solstice on December 21st: the longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. This represents a universal moment of celebration. After reaching the lowest point in the heavens, the Sun returns to its path of ascent.
Skaters in Giverny by Claude Monet
Modern life has become disconnected from natural rhythms, opting for a monotonous path of climate-controlled technologically enhanced routines. But even under these conditions, the necessity of the Sun’s light has not been lost. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Yule, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, you are honoring the Sun’s rebirth.
This holiday season of 2019 is especially powerful because this is the dawn of a new era. As a new decade begins in 2020, you will reflect upon the last ten years of your life. This will feel bittersweet: a pang of loss mixed with a sense of accomplishment followed by a glint of excitement for the future.
Whatever hopes you may have for the upcoming decade, winter is not a time to push and strive. It is a time to allow the present to shape itself. The sparkling frost and frozen earth makes this is a beautiful but harsh season to endure.
Snow in Argenteuil by Claude Monet
In the first weeks of 2020, a gravity will descend. The melancholy of life will reveal itself and your heart may feel heavy. The pale sunlight will hardly break through these clouds, leaving you feeling listless.
As the color in the world fades and signs of external progress slow down, things might appear bleak.
All the leaves are brown and the sky is gray.
But this is your invitation to withdraw into inner space, where dazzling images of warmth and beauty glitter across the sky.
California dreamin' on such a winter’s day...
As the quivering buzz of life buries itself deep beneath the ground, the hush of winter falls into silence. The dim landscape and bare branches show nature at rest, summoning the earth’s invisible powers of regeneration.
The greatest gift of winter is silence, the space between all the noise. In music, silence is not the lifeless backdrop to sound but is the most important instrument: punctuating the rhythm, stirring tension, and building excitement. It is often said that:
“Music is not in the notes, but in the silence between.”
The Road to Giverny in Winter by Claude Monet
Winter is the silence between seasonal cycles, the condition that all new life emerges from. It is silence that creates the space for a song to be born. And it is winter that creates the space for the summer to come. In the long nights ahead, you can embrace the wisdom of winter by going deep within. There you will discover the silence within, connecting to your own natural process of regeneration.
All the leaves are brown, the sky is gray, and the rest is silence.
Like any great drama, this winter season will play out in three distinct acts, each offering an essential lesson.
Snow Scene in Argenteuil by Claude Monet
December 21st-January 20th
Winter begins at the solstice, which is the shortest day and the longest night of the year. Following the longest night of the year, the Sun returns to its path of ascent and its radiant light begins to increase day-by-day.
The winter solstice represents a powerful transition between seasons, universally celebrated because it symbolizes regeneration, renewal, and spiritual awakening.
On December 21st, 2019, you will be saying farewell to an entire decade of life whilst envisioning the promise of a new era. In this liminal place, there is much to reflect upon. Appreciate how far you have already come. And let a sense of optimism for the future be reborn with the Sun.
A few days later, in the late hours of Christmas, there will be a partial Solar Eclipse. This adds an exclamation mark to the end of the decade!
A Solar Eclipse is a super-charged New Moon. And because New Moons initiate a fresh cycle of creative energy, this eclipse offers an opportunity to really commit yourself to making a dream into a reality in 2020. The key to working with this eclipse effectively is to imagine planting the seed of this dream deep within your heart. There it will be protected throughout the winter, patiently waiting for the return of spring.
On January 1st, 2020, you will awaken into a new decade and a whole new era of your life. The New Year begins amidst a storm of conflicted energies. Many will feel the tension rising by the day.
On January 10th, this tension will reach a crescendo at the Lunar Eclipse: a super-volatile Full Moon that will dredge up a lot of challenges.
Full Moons occur when the Moon is exactly opposite the Sun, creating stress between the polarities. During Full Moons, the ocean tides rise higher. And so too do the emotional waves within the human heart.
Astronomically speaking, this Lunar Eclipse is a storm of energetic intensity, occurring with a conjunction between four planets all opposed the Moon. Expect the tides of great change to be surging! In the days surrounding the Lunar Eclipse, a lot will be washed away, summoning dramatic shifts in position and power and signaling huge endings and transformations.
As the first chapter of winter concludes, you will retain the lesson of finding great strength under pressure.
January 20th-February 19th
The middle of winter tempers some of the season’s initial stress. The gravity begins to lighten, but you feel more withdrawn from the world.
On January 24th, the second New Moon of the season initiates a fresh cycle of creative and emotional energies. You will become more interested in exploring your inner world. There may be a mood of divine discontent, driving you to search for a deeper meaning in life. You may find yourself exploring the wilderness of your imagination, the unknown places where your most innovative ideas wait to be discovered.
On February 8th, the second Full Moon of the season will summon the dynamic tension between the Sun and Moon. Fortunately this will feel welcome, rekindling a sense of warmth and well-being. As the Moon begins to wane, you will be able to overcome some obstacle to your growth, releasing the heaviness that is holding you back. Guided by the light of destiny, you will once again envision a future that exceeds all expectations.
When the middle of winter has passed, you will retain the lesson of exploring the unknown in search of renewed purpose.
The Banks of the Fjord at Christiana by Claude Monet
February 20th-March 19th
The final chapter of winter begins with some deep reflection. You’ll recall the dream you had in December, the seed of intention you planted at the Solar Eclipse. By now, this dream has a pulse that you can feel inside your heart.
The New Moon on February 23rd feels blissful and enchanted, softening much of winter’s harshness. Outside, the natural world may be chilled, but your heart is as radiant as the Sun. You’ll bask in this warmth, letting yourself dream of limitless possibilities for love, beauty and fulfillment.
Following the New Moon, life will seem to ebb and flow between dreams and waking life. This sensation will culminate on March 9th at the final Full Moon of the season. Still half-asleep, you’ll be stirred by the first whispers of spring. Suddenly motivated to be alert, you’ll begin to clear away the stagnation left by your long period of introversion.
The silence of winter is finally broken by the rumbling anticipation of the earth’s renewal. Your energy will begin to rise as you start warming up for action.
At winter’s end, you should feel immense gratitude for having made it through another cycle of seasons: from the birth of spring to the ripening of summer into the death of autumn and on to the regeneration of winter.
On March 19th, as the Sun reaches the equator at the spring equinox, you will retain the lesson of keeping your dreams alive in your heart.
You are now ready to begin another cycle of seasons, another journey that is aligned with the wisdom of the earth.
Like this post? Check out more of this season's articles: