Through time, there has been a fascination with light and fear of darkness. Different cultures celebrate the changing of the seasons in different ways. Solstice is one of those major event changing times – the shortest day, the longest night. I like the Japanese perspective of this dark/light. To them, it is the beginning and celebration of the diminished power of darkness and the strengthened power of light. Nights begin to get shorter. There is more light in the world. The world is moving from the time of cold towards the season of flowers. Winter may be being felt and snow may fall, but now we can hope for the spring because the darkest night has passed.
The positivity of this thought and meditation reminds of how at the darkest time, the Light of the World was born. Into our darkness came the Light that moves us from evil to good, from sorry to joy, from earth to heaven. “The darkest hour is just before the dawn”.
One of the Japanese customs I enjoy on solstice (Candle Night, touji) is taking a bath in a fruit: Yuzu. I can’t find it over here in the states so I use a few cut tangerines and grapefruit…that is how the fruit smells and tastes. it is used to cleanse your body and while you are bathing, it cleanse your mind and soul by the aroma you breathe in. Public baths will offer Yuzu baths. People will also gather to their hot spring baths, private baths, etc. to bathe in water with Yuzu. It is also said, bathing in this fruit will keep you from getting a cold! I don’t know if that is true, but it doesn’t hurt and a long, meditative, fragrant, steamy bath never hurts!
Winter solstice is a time of meditation and prayer for me. A lot of folks have parties, bonfires, celebrate the Pagan Yule; good for them! Driving away darkness with joy is a fine idea to me. However you celebrate (or not) the Winter Solstice or Christmas, remember: We are moving from darkness to light. Let thoughts and prayers of hope, joy, peace, light, good, compassion – positive things fill you and let them loose into the world to spread it to others. You be the change. Let peace begin with you. Blessings to you and those you hold dear in the coming season of light.