Walk: Toward Clement Street a little in the rain
Distance: 1 mile, smallish home yoga practice*
Cold, gray, blustery; perfect weather out here for the shortest day of the year, or Winter Solstice. The sun will go down early, then, in the dark, at 8:49 p.m. in San Francisco the North Pole will be tilted farthest from the sun signaling the actual Solstice, or 'sun standing still.'
The place on earth most associated with Winter Solstice is Stonehenge, a prehistoric monument which, for reasons not entirely known, is precisely on sight line with the Winter Solstice sunset. For centuries and right to the present pagans, druids, and other worshipers have come to Stonehenge to honor the Solstice sunset with rites, revelries, devotionals. As they perform their rituals (including eat, drink and merriment), this year's Winter Solstice will occur at 4:59 a.m. their time in Wiltshire, England. .
The night may be long for those assembled on Salisbury Plain, but the gift will be the sunrise (this year at 8:04 ) where they will witness the return of the sun and the beginning of the lengthening of the days until Summer Solstice in June. It is the most important day of the year for many of them because it welcomes the new sun. Some pagans see it as New Year's Day and will burn a traditional yule log to give the sun strength. Ciwt thinks more power to them.
*Practice what you preach Department: On this shortest, darkest day, it seems appropriate for yoga teacher Ciwt to mention what she used to tell her students in the waning days. Ie, The year is ending, much that your being has accumulated on all levels is being assimilated. Your being is working hard; it is a time to give it the quiet and rest it needs to integrate all it has learned.
She was reminded the other day by doing exactly the opposite of what she knows. She was feeling less than energetic so decided 'Enough already,' 'Just Overcome It!' So she put herself through multiple hard paced yoga practices and forced marches. The next day, she, who never has any of these conditions experienced lower back pain, knee pain, near shin splints and other aches. Lesson relearned: Listen to your body; it has wisdom.