The conflict of December

Dominik Dombro, Unsplash

How do you feel around this time of year?

I always find December to be a confusing month. Here in the northern hemisphere, the energies we are moving through represent slowing down, going quiet, and doing less.

The nights are long and the air is colder. The Winter Solstice is a time of introspection, of going inward and setting intentions for what’s to come once spring returns.

It serves as a reminder to wait. To take inventory of what’s been accomplished, and what can incubate until the time is right for growing again.

But then there’s the holiday season, namely Christmas and the pressures it brings to connect, catch up, and shop-til-you-drop.

I always feel pulled in opposing directions at this time of year. My desire every December is to close myself off starting on the Winter Solstice until early January and just…be for a little while.

Instead of catching up out of obligation to the holidays, I crave time to catch up with my reading, my writing, and myself. To take a break from the year that was and restore myself for what’s to come.

It feels like a betrayal to those closest to me to say this out loud. It’s not that I don’t want to be part of the celebrations. It’s just that my body and my being are saying no, no, no. I can’t, really.

It feels like a betrayal to myself to be denied the time to answer a different call. One that beckons me into the bare woods for a long walk on a cold day. One that calls me to a hot bath afterwards once the sun has gone down at four in the afternoon.

There’s a different call I hear at this time of year that makes me feel (unnecessarily) guilty for wanting to retreat. It pulls me off in a different direction and has me questioning myself sometimes: Would I be more fun if I could just get into the “holiday spirit”?

There are no gifts required to celebrate Yule, the Winter Solstice. There is no cocktail hour, no party. There is reflection and solitude and the soft glow of a candle on the longest night of the year.

It’s a hard sell at this time of year when everything seems to revolve around spending, giving, and consuming. In my city, Christmas day is the only day of the year when most things actually close. Otherwise, it’s business-as-usual all year round.

What can we learn from the Wheel of the Year? What can the Wheel teach us about paying more attention to slowing down for more than just one day, especially when even that day becomes so hurried and hectic for most?

What can we learn when we allow our minds and bodies to re-align with the energies around us and go quiet when we are called to?

As the Winter Solstice approaches this Saturday, December 21, I hope that you are able to find some time this weekend to connect with yourself in whatever way is necessary.

Write a promise to yourself to hold space for something special in 2020. Fold the note in your pocket and take yourself for a long walk as the day transitions to night. Think of what it means to hold your own time sacred.

Until next time,

Liz xo

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