This is the third post in the Dark Goddess series (See the first and second here), where we explore the different facets of the Dark Goddess and Her themes, such as pain, death, shadow work, aging, healing, transformation and rebirth. Today, we explore the energy of Winter Solstice (aka Yule), which resonates with the energy of the Crone archetype, the New Moon and the time of the month when menstruating people bleed.
Winter Solstice, the New Moon and our Bleeding time are linked in the cyclical wisdom of nature. This is the fallow, dark period in the cycle, under the rulership of the Crone/Elder archetype who calls us to rest and reflect. This wisdom is devalued by our capitalistic, patriarchal culture that values ‘doing’ over ‘being’, a value most of us have internalised, to the detriment of our health and wellness.
Many feel depressed at this time of year, which is a natural response to the contrast between nature’s call to rest and our culture’s expectation to be productive. It is not in our best interest to be frantically busy preparing for the holidays, processing our emotional baggage, dealing with family issues while simultaneously working our regular schedule. All of this is very depleting when all our body and soul want to do is simplify, slow down and rest.
The key to navigating this time is first to give ourselves permission— to simplify. slow down, make space, set boundaries around our energy and listen to our body and inner needs. It is a rebellious, yet self-preserving act against patriarchy to do this. It can be difficult. It is not the same as giving up, or being lazy. It is about honouring our creativity. We need to rest in order to create.
The fallow period of rest is just as important as the time of planning and production. You are not supposed to have anything figured out right now. You don’t need to plan or make resolutions.
In fact, winter is probably the worst time to start a new diet/exercise regimen or any new project that you want to succeed in the long term. It’s a time to just keep it simple and wait. This doesn’t necessarily mean to do nothing or just sit on the couch all day (although that can be a great plan). It means that you don’t have all the information yet to make big new decisions. You need to listen within, incubate and dream a bit first. Continue things you already started. Work on things with a realistic sense of the limits of your energy and everyone else’s. Take your time formulating your sense of the future and focus more on the present moment. Let yourself dream, wait and allow the new seed of the year’s inspiration to take root! By February, at Imbolc, we may begin to sense the first stirrings of new life, ideas and plans. But Dec-Jan is not the time for bold, innovative, new actions or ambitions. It is time for our creative drive to hibernate.
Below is an excerpt from my ebook- Wombcraft– explaining the energies of the season with reflection questions and an affirmation to help you navigate this potent time of incubation & renewal. The following diagram gives you an idea of how the Yule-New Moon-Menstruation energy fit into the entire seasonal and monthly cycle. Each moon phase corresponds to a seasonal point and menstrual cycle phase. Each carries their own unique energy.
For now, we focus on the Yule-New Moon-Menstruation part of the cycle:
The Seed begins in the dark. The great womb and source of darkness that contains us may feel safe or scary at times. We can’t always see the road ahead, so we must rely on our instincts. Our intuition is sharper than our mind now.
The darkness invites us to withdraw our senses from the outside world and embrace our inner landscapes to explore the dreams waiting to be manifested.
Yule and Winter Solstice energy runs counter to social expectations at this time of year. We work long hours while holiday shopping and socialising, when we are meant to be resting, meditating and getting cozy for the winter. If we heed this call to draw inward instead of spending our energy outwardly, we discover that this is a very nurturing time for our Spirit and inspires new dreams for the year ahead.
Animals are hibernating. The Earth is resting. Her energy has descended from the blooms and flowers and has gone down to nourish her roots. We too must nourish our roots now. Our body, home, family, and psyche – which are the basic foundations of our life – now come into focus.
With limited energy, we discover what is most important to us, and focus our energies there. It may not be a fertile time to plant flowers, but it is a fertile time for tilling our inner soil to receive the seeds of inspiration that we will nurture and manifest in the coming months. It is an ideal time to open to new ideas, feed our imagination, and trust our instincts to take us where we need to be.
The Crone/Elder archetype rules this stage of the cycle. Having passed through the experiences of planning, growth, culmination, dissemination, re-adjustment and letting go, the Elder has gained much wisdom and now awaits the moment of rebirth. The Elder is a guiding light for others through their journey. They become the womb of potential for the next generation, from which new experiences will flow.
This is the point in our menstrual cycle where we bleed. As the uterine lining sheds, we release not only blood, but the emotional energies accumulated over the entire month. Grief is a common emotion to feel. Hold space for it. It is a time when our hormones favor rest and dreaming over physical activity. We must slow down and hit the reset button. If we have been running too fast through the month or experiencing a lot of stress, our period might be more painful or heavy at this time.
It is no coincidence that bleeding, resting, aging and following our intuition are devalued in our society. Reclaiming ancestral practices of seclusion and dreaming during one’s menstrual phase is very powerful. Indigenous people still recognise the power of a menstruating person and hold special ways of honoring this in ceremony. You may wish to create a sacred space and time for honouring your bleeding time. Take a day to rest, dream, and simply ‘be,’ without trying to be productive. Turn off your phone and take time to listen to the quiet voice within.
This time in the cycle corresponds to our years after the age of sixty-five. As we age, we see more clearly what matters to us and what makes life worth living. In this society that devalues womxn as they age, honouring our passage into menopause can be a sacred act of reclaiming our power. Our elder years can be a time to harness and express our inner wisdom.
Recite The following affirmation to yourself during the time of Yule, the New Moon or your bleeding time:
“Slowing down, dreaming and resting are ways I can tap into the pure potential that lives in the darkness. Trusting my intuition and inner wisdom ensures that the seed I will plant grows strong and mighty.”
Reflection Questions for the New Moon:
Am I allowing myself to slow down and rest during this phase?
What is ready to be felt and released?
How can I honour my inner life and dreaming mind at this time?
What are my instincts telling me?
How can I embrace the unknown?
Honour the darkness and the fallow times by heeding your instincts and opening to your intuition. Reflect, imagine and wonder. Value ‘being’ over ‘doing’. Allow for some quiet time so you can hear your inner voice more clearly. Think of this as an incubation period. The time where the seed is being planted for a whole new cycle, but it requires our patience and gentle nurturing and protection.
The picture will become clearer in time, the actions we need to take will make themselves known. For now, rest in the Wise Crone’s lap; Let her stroke your hair and sing to your imagination. Let Her Wise smile awaken the dreams stirring within.