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Reflections at mid-winter
Winter Solstice celebrations with meditations, decorations & incense

by Donna Oxley . Special to Q-Notes
Winter Solstice or mid-winter comes around in the northern hemisphere, or much of the western world, on Dec. 21.

This is a magical time of the year and throughout the ages religions have gravitated toward this date to hold major ceremonies, celebrations and sacred observations.

Our modern age strangely sees us returning to the age-old customs of noting and paying respect to the sacred cycles of nature and the part we play in it. We are intrinsically tied to these cycles of nature whether we like to admit it or not, influenced by the stages of the moon with its ebb and flow of energy. The sun — the life giver — marks the days of death and decay back into regeneration and growth. None of us who live on this planet can escape Mother Nature, the Goddess and her womb, or Father Time, the God and his creation of all life from the elements. Light and dark, all is one, all religion, all life blessed be!

Return of the sun
Winter Solstice is the shortest day and the longest night of the year. It marks the gradual return of the sun and signifies birth when new seeds of life will spring forth. Similarly, Christianity uses this time of year to mark the birth of the son, signifying life eternal for all who partake of the light and become the body of Christ.

A good way to remember this special Solstice is, as the hours of daylight grow, so too, we can let our inner light of understanding, love and intuitions grow. Allow both the dark and the light to resonate within you. Recognizing both our weaknesses and triumphs, we can begin to practice new acts of unity, compassion, empathy and global love.

Preparing for the Winter Solstice
Spend the Solstice in candlelight, meditation and reflection, looking forward to the new dawn. Prepare some seasonal incense and an appropriate meditation for the magical night of dreams ahead. Decorate your home with the colors of winter: white to represent the winter snow, dark green for winter foliage, red for winter berries and fruits, gold to represent the returning energy of the sun and silver for the delicate frost that settles all around at this cold time of year.

Time to reflect
There is an Old Russian divination that took place on the evening of Winter Solstice where a participant — usually a young lady — would set up two mirrors and two candles into a position so that they would reflect each other. She would then peer into one of the mirrors and seek the seventh reflection, where she would catch a glimpse of her future or her one true love!

Find a comfortable place where you are least likely to be disturbed. Get your mirrors and candles ready. Be sure to position them facing each other with the candles reflecting in each. Be sure to use a stable, fireproof surface. Position the candles safely & far enough away from you or anything else that might burn.

You should sit facing the mirrors so that you can see into either mirror with the reflection of the other. If in a chair, sit with your feet flat on the floor or sit in your usual meditation position. Sit upright but try to remain comfortable. Rest your hands lightly on your lap.

First, concentrate yourself fully on the following breathing technique (do this about five to ten times — do what feels right).

Take in a deep, slow breath and fill your lungs, expand your abdomen, hold for a few seconds and then very slowly breathe out. Try to take about twice as long to breathe out. Keep your breathing deep and regular and begin to stare at your reflection in the mirror, focusing on your eyes. Imagine that every other person in the world reflects the image that stares back at you.
Notice the expression, smiles, frowns and anger. Study what comes back at you through the mirror.

Allow your self to absorb the powerful sounds and simply stare at the mirror. After a while the image may change; other faces may be seen or other images. Allow your mind to go along with the experience and write the details in a diary immediately afterwards. Allow yourself to adjust when your meditation finishes and drink a fresh glass of water.

info: Donna Oxley strives to provide relevant information & insight into the many liberating benefits of meditation & self-improvement. Her website at www.relaxmp3.co.uk provides Mp3 sessions relating to meditation by sound — including hypnotic binaural beats, brainwave entrainment, simple nature sounds.

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