Winter Solstice, Day 13, Online Retreat

One more day until the Winter Solstice, a rarely celebrated holiday but a meaningful one just the same, particularly because it is the shortest day of the year—the day with the least amount of light.

In Celtic tradition, this was a time to Pause, (what else could they do, without electricity the nights were endless?), and the Celts were left to build bonfires and huddle around until the dawning of day. During this darkest night women were asked to soul- search–to redefine what it means to be feminine—to contemplate one’s individual purpose and then to begin to plant seeds in the moist dark earth with the hope that they would germinate and grow seedlings as the light of day gradually became more prevalent.

Therefore winter, which includes a period of hibernation and waiting, seems the perfect time to continue our retreat work. If women are the “carriers of culture,” as Ashley Montagu once said, then we owe it to ourselves and those around us to continue our inward journey and see it as not selfish time but rather selfless time.  Imagine if women all over the world took this precious dark time when the spirit envelopes to continue to ask the important questions and then meditate on them during the months ahead.

On this particular Winter Solstice we will be further strengthened by the total lunar eclipse– a rare occurrence when the earth, sun, and moon are in perfect alignment. Isn’t that alignment precisely what we have been seeking as we have been pondering the meaning of our personal existences over the past few weeks?

If you were able to do just one day of retreat or if you were able to go through the entire process, some small seed of yourself is germinating and waiting to bloom.

For as the poet Rainer Maria Rilke said: “And now let us welcome the new year, full of things that have never been”

Ponder the Process:

Here is the process we used in the past several weeks in order to go inward and hear our own voices. By getting on-line every Monday and Friday you were:

Answering the Call of Your Consciousness

Becoming a Pilgrim to seek answers for your life

Relishing the Path – the adventure of the unknown

Surrendering to Serendipity and find new delight

Welcoming the Transitions you find yourself in

Seeking Seclusion so you can be without chaos and clutter

Accepting Detours as an inevitable part of living

Taking Action with personal intention

And all of these steps will continue to lead up to you becoming your own heroine.

11 thoughts on “Winter Solstice, Day 13, Online Retreat

  1. I have used this holiday time to be away from the office. I have done the traditional family activities. However, the real Christmas for me has been to read, reflect, and write. I have been able to have some insight about a ‘stuck’ place in my life and something new is now being ‘birthed.’ As we all know this ‘new life’ will need to guarded with a protective love and caring for sometime to come.

  2. Nancy, Joan and all, Thank you for your words all. I have so much swirling inside my head. I am so thankful to Joan for setting this online retreat into motion, to all of the sisters who have shared and bared their souls, and for the time I have taken to search inside. I am on a new path one in which I have time for me, time to just sit, feel and let go.
    Merry Christmas and Happy New 2011 to all. Together are things are pssoible.

  3. My first goal of the new year is to reread all of Joan’s comments and our responses. I have so enjoyed this, especially during the holidays when what’s important to everyone else seems to come to the top of the heap. This year will be different in many ways. My husband who retired from the fire service 2 weeks ago will be home more and I will be adjusting to less time “alone.” I’ve come to believe that I need more private time than I have granted myself. That will change. New routines will develop. A new perspective on life will surface. I’m not worried. Change can be good. Happy New Year sisters. We are all closer to each other than we know.

  4. Merry Christmas, Joan….also to all of you out there in ‘blog’ world…..isn’t this just the ‘best’? Joan offers us the pleasure of going online and BEARING our soul–and offers us the challenge to look within and be honest; not to her but with ourselves……
    Merry Christmas to all and God be with us in the coming year! May we all climb those mountains and soar through those ‘low’ places–we will all go through many in our life but we are ‘sisters’ and together we will overcome……

  5. I have become soul-hungry to find a labyrinth. While decluttering my desk I found an article I’d clipped with information about LA’s Peace Awareness Labyrinth. Their website generously provided information about the NUMEROUS labyrinths within 50 miles of my house.

    So many elements of this retreat have ignited simply because I allowed myself to be open to them. I am spilling over.

    We have been pelted with rain and missed the eclipse but, Bonnie, the image of your idea is joyful encouragement for new ideas that have been sprouting. The idea of women joining their energy is calling to me.

    So grateful.

  6. Here in drought-like southern California it’s raining cats and dogs. We will miss the lunar eclipse which I was looking forward to as I have a nice view to the east where the moon rises. But no doubt I will wake during the night when the wind blows and the rain falls. All will be sleeping, but I will think about 2011’s possiblities. I have plans for this year…some include others, but I will insist that others acknowledge that I am entitiled to my own personal goals, not just the ones that someone else deems necessary for the good of the group. Happy Lunar Eve. Happy Goal Setting. Happy Journey to All.

  7. As I read Joan’s most recent blog, on the eve of the Winter
    Solstice, I had a thought….let’s all set our alarms and join outside, with our eyes to the sky, and together, welcome in the winter, my favorite time of the year. As we sit bundled under the starlite night, let us join together in our renewal of our faith in ourselves as strong women, ready to continue our journey, both together and separately, forward to find the special people we are meant to be. With Joan’s guidance along the way, we can and must find that person . Good luck ladies, I’ll see you outside tonight, dress warmly…it will be comforting to know you are all out there with me….

    • I had to come into work as so many new lives come into the world this evening. I am able to go outside at the full eclipse and will be thinking of all the amazing souls who have crossed my path and all the wonderful women who have come along in this journey. I will send my thoughts to you Bonnie and anyone else who is also looking to the sky….we are all amazing and so full of great potential. Happy Winter Solstice!!

    • Dear Bonnie

      Alas we had a snowstorm on Cape Cod thus no lunar eclipse that was visible…but your sentiments about joining together under the energy of such a moment was powerful and certainly left me feeling supported and alive with like minded sisters going for the same thing.Thank you for your thoughts.


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