Winter marks a symbolic time in our history as not only the shortest day of the year but also the darkest. It is this day we are reminded to honor the dark as we celebrate the promise of light and new life. It symbolizes the cyclical nature of existence, where the darkest moments give way to the gradual return of brightness and hope. Our bodies are hard wired in a primal way to regulate with the turning of the seasons. In winter, our brain sends signals to our bodies to increase its insulin resistance. The liver can boost fat production, and our adipose and non-adipose tissues are able to store more fat. The winter season can bring a series of symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, anxiety, insomnia, and general malaise. As the darkness brings the cold, there are herbs that can be used to create warmth. Enjoy warming herbs and spices like ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, garlic, and astragalus. These delicious herbs can provide balance to the colder, more stark energies of winter, and give a boost to the immune system. Eating soups and stews with foods like peppers, root vegetables, and healthy oils like ghee and sesame will nourish the body and provide comfort and wellness to the soul.
In many traditions, the Winter Solstice also holds a spiritual significance when we can reflect on the past year and embrace the lessons learned. A time for introspection, meditation, and inner transformation. It is a time for personal growth, a time to shed old patterns, and set intentions for the upcoming year. Herbs that can assist with this transformation are rosemary, frankincense, juniper, lavender, and bay leaves. These herbs have been used for centuries to provide mental clarity, self-reflection, relaxation, and foster transformation. This is the season to enact your personal traditions, gather with friends and family, feast with foods that only come around once a year and enjoy the turning of the season; however, don’t forget that this is a time to rest and restore... to rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul. Tonight, bask in the reassuring energy of promise, and allow its glow to cultivate the gardens of your dreams, whether they encompass relationships, or blossoming visions of your future.
Happy Holidays to you all!