The winter solstice is the time of rebirth: this is the darkest part of the year, the longest night, when we examine our shadow aspects. We recognize the earth’s natural cycles and creating a ritual or ceremony around those cycles in celebration.
I love Christina Pratt’s (of The Last Mask Center) podcasts, Shamanism Now. She created a guide for how we can do the soul work to step into a fruitful year ahead having left behind what no longer serves us, and stepping into a new version of life.
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This blog and the next three blogs in the series this week will be a review of her guidance for how to prepare for the winter solstice on December 21, and a guide for the journey questions she recommends.
There are four archetypal teachers that are helpful in guiding us in seizing the opportunity of the winter solstice. They are the healer, the warrior, the teacher, and the visionary. This blog is about the healer.
With the healer’s help, we can investigate four areas to drop the old stories and stop telling lies:
- Change your understanding of what it means to live well
- Healing as death and death as healing
- Community and the individual
- Individual and community
How to prepare for the winter solstice ritual:
- Start journeying (with guidance from Christina Pratt’s questions in this and the next few blogs)
- Create a 2 power objects: A) One for the old stories: Create a booklet where you have written down your collection of old stories. B) One for the lies that you want to stop telling yourself. Lies are weapons and they do direct damage. You can create arrows, and wind a string around the stick while meditating the energy of the lie into the arrow.
- Make a fire on the solstice and burn up your power objects!
Let’s talk about what the healer is communicating to us during the winter solstice:
1) Change your understanding of what it means to live well
Pratt says that the healer carries the wisdom of “living well” and teaches us to listen to the wisdom of the body. Our sense of living well is probably false because the patterns we have learned throughout life and from our culture are distorting our perceptions.
One way to re-understand what it means to live well is to make sure our lives (how we engage in life and work) are aligned with what we value. That means that we are not spending time, energy, or resources on the things that we don’t value.
It’s time to evaluate our everyday practices. What is your practice? What do you do every day? How do you every single thing is the practice of your life.
For example, if you are someone who talks about how much you care about the earth, or who talks about how your health is important to you, but you still don’t compost your food waste or make sure that you have time to exercise every day for your health, you are not living in a way that aligns with your values. The message is, if you are saying that it matters to you, then do it.
Stop talking about it and do it.
Livinfg well means actively engaging with all four aspects or elements of the self daily. Those four aspects/elements of the self are physical (earth), spiritual (fire), mental (air), and emotional (water). It also means bringing more integrity and impeccability to our words and our actions.
How to work with the healer to change your understanding of what it means to live well: Journey! If you don’t know what journeying is, see my article on how to journey.
Christina Pratt’s journey questions to ask your guides:
- Show me the old story values that I still hold that undermine my deep sense of living well.
- Show me the old stories that keep my understanding of living well superficial.
- What values support a deep and true understanding of living well? (Then your work is to understand the gap between the values you carry and the values you need to carry)
- What needs to happen then to change the value system that you hold?
- Which unrecognized childhood patterns most distort my deep sense of living well?
The lesson: Maybe we are making excuses so that we don’t have to accept and live what we truly value. Living in a way that truly reflects our values often makes us disconnect from relationships that we don’t want to disconnect from. Perhaps we are afraid that people that we love will not accept us in our true form. Living out patterns serves us by allowing us to hide and shrink away from stepping into our power. It is time to let go of all that.
2) True healing is death. This means that your self must die so a new, healed self can be reborn.
Christina Pratt’s journey questions to ask your guides:
- What is my relationship with the truth of life/ the truth of nature?
The lesson: “As long as you are deeply committed to letting your false self shape your perceptions and your life, death is ignoring you. Death is an initiator. If death is ignoring you, you are staying the same,” says Pratt.
3) The role of community in the individual’s health
We define ourselves based on the labels from our culture. Meanwhile, our culture is deeply ill. We need to re-understand our freedom and the definitions of our culture because we make our culture. If we choose to no longer accept it, we can reinvent it.
Activity: Look at all the roles your surroundings have labeled you with. Refuse to carry them. Each role carries an illness because the culture is ill. Refuse to carry the illness. Examples of labels: soccer mom, victim, martyr, manager, transgender. If you over-identify with even a positive role, it can create arrogance that laces through good intentions and creates false passions.
If you’re not these labels and roles, who are you, and why are you here?
Journey to see the roles you play that aren’t obvious to you.
The lesson: Make sure there is one role that you truly serve that adds value to your community. You can define your culture, but don’t let it define you. If the community doesn’t support you living in your role, have the courage to be your role anyway. Bring to the community what you want to be so that the community you would like to be a part of will begin to develop.
4) Bring your medicine to the people. Live in a way that you’re doing that is the cornerstone to your health and wellbeing.
Your responsibility in life is to bring your medicine to the world, and this defines your role in your community.
This doesn’t mean it has to be your job, or how you make money, but make sure you are integrating into your life the act of sharing your medicine with your community. You are not well when you are not doing your work in the world.
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