The winter solstice is akin to the dark night of the soul. As the darkness creeps in, we are moved inwards. This is a period of time available to us that holds the deepest of truths. What lies here in the darkest reaches of our soul? What unknown fears can we lay at the portal of solstice?

As we are taken down, the sound lessens. The light dims. The external world fades and we are pulled down into her roots. As we travel down and in, we begin to conserve our energy We allow the release of autumn and recognise that everything has stopped growing. We enter the deep realms, the place of dreaming, drifting and dancing. Into the darkness we go.

The courage of our warm heart is our companion on this journey. How deep we go depends on our willingness to surrender, to let go of holding onto what was. These are times of transformation. Times when we can revisit the bedrock of what we think we are.

Solstice is an invitation to close the cycle of time with conscious awareness, when this darkness calls us in to remember and reflect on the year’s journey. It asks us to honour the wheel of time and our existence on this earth. As life changes and moves us year by year, this time gives us space to face our darkness – to review and reflect, to step across a threshold into the liminal space of the dream world – and then to arrive at the dawning of a new light, which once again turns us to a new cycle.

As we travel deep into our roots, we connect with our ancestors. In this stillness, we focus on the most silent, unmovable part, the most core aspect of ourselves. We evoke and invite in a remembering of how to walk upon these lands, how to live in harmony with self, Gaia and each other. As we slow down with nature, we remember our true nature, our roots, our forgotten ways, lost to us in modern living.

If we use these times consciously to create new ways of living that align, we begin the transformation of healing. All the truth and guidance we need are always deep within us. And as we become still, the ancestors can speak to us. We can face the fears that block us. As we enter into the void, we get to release the old and make space for the new. This is the threshold of the solstice.

The beauty of these markers of time is that we can gather. These are not thresholds to walk alone, but to have our kin close by our sides. We are living in times of great change: huge extremes, conflict, global change and economic change. Gathering in ceremony can act as an anchor to the psyche to connect with the larger intelligent field of truth that needs activating at times like these.

As we face the change, we in fact face the darkness – as all change involves darkness. Everything has to die to be reborn; this is the truth of existence on these lands. And though our soul may be eternal, we must live the human experience. Duality is part of the framework of this existence.

At these gateways, we move with the sorrow and grief of the loss of what was, and we make space for the new. Everything we so deeply cling to for safety and reassurance is merely an illusion, and in the darkness, we begin to see that. To live in trust of the cosmic cycles and laws that govern our world, we must expand our consciousness to have a higher perspective. In the darkness, there is space for our psyche to step out of the mundane, to travel on the arms of death as it pulls us across the threshold of time.

Allow grief to be your guide, for the waters of your being can carry you beyond the fears and fight. We reach a time each year and, for some, within the course of our lives, where we are asked to let go. This process is the activation of trust. And through trust, connection can occur. We remember we are not separate, alone and time is not linear. In the death process, we dissolve the walls of separation and once again return to union with all that is.

We remember that we are held by a force, an intelligence so magnificent that if we could access this state of consciousness regularly, we would see death as a door. A portal, not an ending. Solstice is this door. It’s a portal and a very wild trip.

If you can activate a willingness, an openness to go beyond, the greatest act of human courage will be bestowed upon you: to step across the veil of illusion. And this step, jump and dive will be inevitable, yet if we bring consciousness to this, we release the suffering that can be attached to letting go. The story of judgment, blame and fear. We go beyond.

We begin to see the past rewrite itself as we close the door on what was. We begin to see that all that these thresholds, these moments, are asking of us is always in the now. If we can bring love, trust, surrender and acceptance to this period of time, we can close the previous cycle with deepest gratitude and honouring for that chapter, taking time to see the gifts that were gifted to us in that cycle.

We unburden ourselves and cut the karmic ties that once bound us, instead wrapping a bow around the experience and embracing forgiveness. Seeing and understanding the lessons we needed to learn, the sheer perfection of the design of life to lead us to this moment, to be at the altar in service of our soul, to gift ourselves and our community the insight into our journey and to celebrate the beginning of a new cycle. As we tell our stories, we tie the karmic bow, and its gift is the presence of this moment of stillness, of completion.

Here we receive the greatest gift of these times: peace.

Annabelle Nicoll