Winter Solstice: Standing Still in the Abundant Pause


It is the Winter Solstice, the day when the Northern Hemisphere begins its slow shift back towards the sun, and we take time to reattune our senses to the subtle changes and cycles of the seasons. The Latin roots of the word ‘solstice’ mean ‘sun stands still’. When I watch the sun today cross the southerly end of the mountain valley where I live, its traveled arc will be low to the horizon and short in duration. It will almost appear as if the sun is standing still.

The sun standing still … this is not what we typically reflect upon on the solstice. More of us today are connecting up our physical sense of how much light and dark our physical bodies have lost and are gaining, with our inner cycles of light and dark. We are aligning body and soul with the tilt of our planet towards and away from the sun, and ritualizing our intentions to be better purveyors of light and gardeners of the dark.

On a day when the sun stands still however, we have an opportunity to make our movements small and our meaning big. Rather than make elaborate metaphors of how we plan to shift our lives with the returning availability of light, we can just be with the sun in its day of pause. We can make this day an elegy to cosmic humility, where everything that is–belongs.

On the day the sun stands still, we can be the pause between breaths, that moment of silence and stillness where there is no form and no certainty of another one coming. We can relinquish all our prognostications, our predictions and predilections, our absolutes of what the next moment should have in it.

On the day the sun stands still, all extremes can be paused. We can trust that one edge of the universe has begun its reversal to reveal that which we cannot yet see. Not yet, not yet. Today our choice-making minds, perpetually in the act of deciding-continue or not continue, join or not join, harm or not harm, have or not have–can be silent. Today there is no promise and no fear. There are no rewards and judgements. There is only this.

So stand still.

Stand still with the sun gravitationally embraced within the dark universe.

Stand still in that holy moment just before our universe burgeoned forth, in the nothingness before everythingness, in the emptiness that was gestating the explosive creative force from which you emerged.

Stand still in this pregnant pause. Dream into it all that is not yet to be. There is not enough light in this day for you to discern the right path and deliberate the successful solution, so leave off with the expectations and pressure. To fully align themselves in the powerful possible, your dreams require this very night, the longest of the year.

Stand still with all that could come from believing you are embraced and endowed with the same forces capable of lighting up the deepest dark.

For the sun stands still on the Winter Solstice, and the potent effects of being still with it and nurturing the conceivable, are becoming you.

About the Author: Katherine Savage


Soul tender, faithful witness to what is beautiful and true. Katherine has an ecstatic relationship with her beloved Black Mountain Range, “the Blacks”. The South Toe River is the water that runs through her veins. She is devoted to listening deeply to the  stories, both human and more than human.   Living and ancestral, that flow out of the land she has chosen to call home.