Happy Winter Solstice!
As a gift to you, below is your FREE MP3 meditation, "The Gifts of the High Priestess: A Winter Solstice Meditation."
(Don't feel like reading? Take a rest and watch the vlog instead!)
Hello! It’s Kesha with New World Tarot. Thank you for joining me for this Winter Solstice and Full Moon in Cancer blog. This is an energetically special and magical time of year, and I want to make sure you take time out of your busy schedule to really slow down, feel deeply into the seasonal energies and use these energies to supercharge your own spiritual and divine power. In our very masculine Western world, it can become all too easy to forsake and ignore our very different and misunderstood feminine power.
This time of the year celebrates that part of you – and the Feminine IS a part of you no matter your gender or gender identity. There is great power in the Masculine. Yes, that is celebrated SOO much in our society. But there is ALSO great power in the Feminine. And today, I want you to re-discover, embrace, enjoy, revel in and exercise that power, and re-commit to expanding it and using it in the year to come. As a Winter Solstice gift to you, I’ve created a special meditation titled “The Gifts of the High Priestess” that will be included towards the end of this video. You can get a free audio MP3 version from www.newworldtarot.org. The link will be below.
This Dec. 21st, marks the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. The Winter Solstice is traditionally the official beginning of Winter. Ever since the Summer Solstice, which is around June 21 or 22 (and which also happens to be my birthday!), the amount of daylight has been shortening in barely perceptible quantities. At the Winter Solstice, sunlight decrease hits its most extreme, resulting in the shortest day and the longest night of the year. This point of the year marks a turn, and from here on out the sunlight will steadily INCREASE – a tiny fraction at a time – until it once again hits the INCREASE extreme at the polar side of the year, the Summer Solstice again.
Now, here in the Northern Hemisphere, Winter certainly has its fans and devotees. You may know people who love Winter – I certainly do – or YOU yourself may love or at least like Winter for various reasons, most popularly skiing and snowboarding and the high holidays such as Christmas and New Years. A lot of people, and I swear I’m not kidding, love Winter because, and I quote, “It’s not hot.” :-)
Nonetheless, I feel that most people dislike Winter a great deal, and consider it an unfortunate aspect of living in a temperate part of the Northern Hemisphere. Something just to be put up with.
But I want us to take a closer look at what is happening during this time of year. The life-giving Sun is withdrawing, pulling farther from the Earth. The air cools, rushing waters still ,then freeze, the earth hardens and all nature learns to CONSERVE its energy, be still and even let a part of itself die for the greater good of itself. Everywhere we look, we see the constantly recurring themes of STILLNESS, INNER STRENGTH, INSTINCT, INTROSPECTION, REST &RECOVERY, DREAMS and yes, even DEATH. However, Winter shows an amazing amount of Death in its most spiritual sense…that is, temporary Death. So much of the Earth appears to die: leaves die and fall to the ground, plants die, animals retreat to hidden lairs. And yet, with the thawing of the Earth and the spring, all of this life slowly peeks back into boisterous life once more.
And there are other themes that the Winter brings.
Summer showcases OUTER strength and generosity. The Sun is strong. The air is strong and hot. It is easy to survive in Summer because in true masculine, yang way, the outer world is strong FOR you. All you have to do is accept and collect what the Summer BRINGS you: fruit, produce, herbs. Winter, on the other hand, showcases INNER strength. She is aloof and exists simply because she is. She offers nothing. To survive, YOU must be strong INSIDE. If you are NOT strong and resourceful, you may not survive.
There is so much beauty to be found in the Winter. Unlike the beauty of the Summer, Winter’s white and frozen beauty can seem otherworldly, less like Earth and more like lands that only exist in our imaginations. It’s hypnotic, bewitching, strange and actually eerie in its stillness and quiet. There is so much MAGIC and MYSTERY in Winter as well. One only has to spend time in a woodland or forest that is sleeping beneath a blanket of snow, and just listen…to the quiet, and just feel the stillness. It is as if all of Nature has an intelligence that recognizes that it’s time to be quiet, to go within and do less. There is power in that energy that is immense, and incredibly undervalued by our mainstream society.
More than anything, the Winter Solstice reminds us that Nature is cyclical. It reminds us that there are seasons and times for vibrance and energy and expansion and growth and movement, but that there are also seasons for stillness and going within and resting and conserving your energy…and just BEING without TRYING to do anything. The Summer Solstice, with its abundance of Sunlight and virile growth and energy, is a Yang time of year that is dripping with the energy of the Divine Masculine. The Winter Solstice, with its icy aloof beauty , is a Yin time of year that is permeated with the energy of the Divine Feminine.
You know, everyone LOVES the resurrectionist re-birth power of Spring, but Winter makes Spring possible. There can be no glorious and beautiful Spring without the silent deconstruction and challenges of Winter.
When I experience Winter - especially Winter in Nature, be it in a forest or a field or at an ocean – it actually reminds me strongly of female menstruation. Just like Winter, the days of Menstruation in women can be uncomfortable and trying, and yet also strangely pleasureable because my cycle demands that I STOP, rest, be STILL, withdraw from the world at least a bit, conserve my energy and check in with my feelings and thoughts more because if not, they can burst out at inconvenient moments and make things very unruly!
My cycle reminds me that though I may be equal with a man, I am NOT a man and there are aspects about me that are icy, harsh, strange and misunderstood and not-so-valued by our masculine society. And you know what, my menstrual cycle CHALLENGES me. Similarly to how Winter can push you to your limit and test what’s REALLY inside and what you are made of, your menstrual cycle may do the same thing. Part of it can really push you and test your endurance for discomfort. Furthermore, like Winter makes Spring possible, a menstrual cycle makes new life possible by clearing out and destroying. It clears out and breaks down so that new growth becomes possible.
So can you see any similarities?(As an aside, I actually would love to recommend a book right now called “Wild Power” by ____. In this book, which completely changed the way I view my menstrual cycle, it actually refers to Menstruation as “Inner Winter.” And when I read that, my mind was BLOWN! Like, yes, the similarities are uncanny actually! I mean, this book…it talks you through the phases and gifts of each of the four quadrants of the female menstrual cycle…what energies are COMMON for women to feel as well as the strengths and weaknesses that each quadrant brings…I mean, wow. I do not have any daughters and don’t plan on having any, but if I did, this book would be part of her First Period gift! It’s so amazing…I’m not going to go in depth into it here, but will probably do a review on it somewhere…but awesome book!)
Anyway, you may ask yourself about now…”So what? The Winter brings gifts of Stillness, Introspection, Quiet…what power is in that? To me, the definition of power is in movement, goal achievement, earning money, working hard. THAT is power. Masculinity. What gifts are in the Divine Feminine?”
To best answer that question, I’d like to talk about a Tarot card. This Tarot card, of all the 78 cards in the deck,in my opinion, best sums up the energies, the gifts and the challenges of the Divine Feminine as represented by the Winter Solstice. I’d like to talk about Major Arcana card #2, The High Priestess. This is definitely one of the most mysterious and hard to access – and hard to fully touch and know – cards in the Tarot deck. And because of that I find it one of the most beautiful, one of the most fascinating and definitely one of my favorite cards in the deck. When I get a new Tarot deck, this is one of the cards that I pause extra long on to see how these concepts are expressed by the deck creator and artist in that particular deck.
If you are unfamiliar with the Tarot, let’s talk about it super briefly. A typical Rider-Waite-Smith deck consists of 78 cards. These cards are divided into two parts: the Minor Arcana and the Major Arcana. The Minor Arcana, which usually consists of 56 cards, deals with the situations and energies of daily life, covering the changeable emotions, events and emotions of daily life on Earth. The Major Arcana, on the other hand, typically consists of 22 cards and depicts the big spiritual and energetic archetypes found in the Universe. These cards are usually what comes to mind when many people think of the Tarot because they are so memorable. These are cards like Strength, The Chariot, The Lovers, and of course the favorites of horror movies, Death and The Devil.
In the typical order of the Major Arcana, the High Priestess is Major Arcana card #2. It is preceded by Card #0: The Fool, and Card #1 The Magician. Again, to better understand what The High Priestess is all about, let’s do a super quick tour through the two cards that precede this one.
So first of all, we have Card #0: The Fool. Now, the Fool is usually listed as the first card of the Major Arcana, but it’s actually both the first AND the last. This is why it’s given a number of 0 and not 1. The Fool represents pure potentiality , formlessness and Spirit. On the journey of life, The Fool represents what we are before we are given physical form. It also represents what is inside each and every one of us: a playful, adventure-seeking Spirit that wants to experience different experiences and take all paths for the sake of adventure. Of course, it also represents what we return to after our physical form fades away. The beginning , the present, the “end” and the beginning again.
The next card is Major Arcana Card#1: The Magician. Now this card mastery, skill, the ego, the will and the mind’s incredible ability to create and manifest its desires in physical form. The Magician is an amazing card that represents the power of the conscious mind to build the world around you. When you enter the physical world, your biggest asset is your mind. Your journey is all about learning to use it to achieve your desires on a physical plane, and the overcome the challenges of a physical world bound by physical laws. The Magician reminds you that are born with this great manifesting power of creation, and you will always have it, but it also reminds you that you can create nightmarish and hellish creations as well. This then, is one the first and most primal lessons of this journey – to strengthen and control this incredibly powerful manifesting tool that you have. To master it, and not let it be the master of you.
And then, we come to Major Arcana Card #2: The High Priestess. If the motto of The Magician is “To Will,” then the motto of the High Priestess is “To Know.” While the Magician is all about the masculine process of outward, directive manifestation, the High Priestess is all about the feminine concept of “just knowing,” information, without knowing how you know, as through a sixth sense. While The Magician can be linked to the conscious mind, the High Priestess is more linked to the subconscious. This card symbolizes the world of intuition, of information relayed to you through hunches, dreams, visions and even psychic information. This is the card of the wise woman, the witch, the divine healer and the shaman. The High Priestess represents femininity, but not the warm, spring-like, nurturing and maternal goddess energy. No, this is the dark side of the Feminine, her aloofness, her seemingly irrational nature, her coolness, her distance, her mystery…even her cruelty.
This card represents the connection to Source, to the Universe, to Spirit, that we ALL have, and that may SEEM, especially to a patriarchal culture that fears, distrusts and misunderstands it, to not exist in us except maybe in a few gifted people. But this is not true. Intuitive power can be strengthened in ALL of us…IF we choose to oppose mainstream society’s lack of respect for it, and instead choose to honor it and work with it as a gift just as valued and powerful as the gifts of the Masculine. This card is all about stillness, and receptivity, just opening to receive information, instead of chasing after it outside of yourself through an institution of higher learning for example.
To me, the High Priestess is the perfect Tarot representative of the Winter Solstice. Just like Winter, this is a symbol of secrets, of mystery, of dark feminine power, of going within, and of ancient magic.
So how can we bring more of these vital and powerful energies into our lives? Though this Winter Solstice is a wonderful time to tap into the energies, it is important to respect and hone your Divine Feminine power all year long.
I’ve included a Winter Solstice meditation inspired by the knowing yet unknowable, bewitching and enchanting High Priestess card. So the theme of the High Priestess is the Number Two, which symbolizes duality. Dark and Light. But not opposing each other, but working together. In that same vein, this meditation has two parts. The first part will be done in Darkness, with your eyes closed as you listen to my voice guide you to let go and connect with your Inner High Priestess, AKA your connection with Source. The second part will incorporate Light.
When we are done with the first part, you can open your eyes and focus on the flame of a lit candle, preferably in a dim room. If you don’t happen to have a candle, you can look at the candle flame in the video instead. During this time, all you are going to do is just be STILL. You are just going to do your best to release all thoughts, and just go into the Void of Thoughtlessness.
Now, why do we do this? Again the Winter Solstice is all about Stillness and Going Within for strength and knowledge. This is also a gift and a lesson of the High Priestess card. When you shut off your energetically masculine (AKA energetically dominant) conscious mind with it’s Ego and constant barrage of noise and thoughts about what you SHOULD do or SHOULDN”T do or what needs done in 5 minutes or tomorrow…when you shut that off, your Inner Voice, that part of you that’s connected to Source and that downloads intuitive insight and information and wisdom – THAT part of you can connect with Source and then actually be heard when a message comes through.
In order to do this, during the Stillness and Quiet part of our meditation, you are going to focus on the flame – preferably in a dim room – and empty your mind of all thoughts. If – or rather WHEN – thoughts push into your mind, simply think “No Thought” over and over until your mind again goes blank. You’re going to do this repeatedly, doing your best to remain blank-minded and open until the end of the meditation.
As a bonus Winter Solstice gift to you, I’ve also included both the MP4 video and the MP3 versions of the meditation for you to enjoy wherever you are, whenever you feel like it! Though this is for the Winter Solstice, remember to use it or any meditation of your choice throughout the year.
Well, that is it for me! Please enjoy your Longest Night, your holiday season, your Christmas, your Hanukkah, your Kwanzaa, your Yule! Enjoy the meditation, be blessed, be safe, and be happy and joy-filled!