The Winter Solstice, which corresponds with the Sun’s movement into the sign of Capricorn, brings us into Saturn’s season. Aquarius, traditionally recognized as Saturn’s second sign, comes right after Capricorn, allowing Saturn’s reign to continue through these coldest months of the year.
Accordingly, the qualities of limitation, restriction, coldness, and slowness abound during these times, inviting an experience—and a wisdom— which is utterly Saturnian.
To make the most of the chilly darkness one must use the limits of the season to move deeper within. This understanding of seasonal energetics is embedded in astrological understanding as well as in the wisdom of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
In Chinese Medicine, fear is the emotion associated with the Winter season and, indeed, darkness, coldness, and stillness are often scary. However, the ability to withstand harsh terrain grants great internal power.
Saturn tends to consolidate in the name of truth, using restriction to create focused direction and, ideally, to cultivate the relationship to inner truth.
Yet, the path through the darkness also requires balance. The dark days of the year are full of traditions and practices which involve the generation of light and heat, and these are essential for our energetic and physical health at this time. The coziness of a crackling fire on a snowy night, the spirit sparked by holiday lights and seasonal celebrations, the festive spices cooked into baked goods, and other seasonal traditions of the winter are not only opportunities to bring warmth to coldness, but symbols of the inner work transpiring at this time. They are outward expressions of how the darkness guides us to find and create our own light and heat.
The slow and careful qualities of the season also show up in the way we care for ourselves at this time of year. Traditional Chinese Medicine suggests we partake in the depth of nourishment provided slower cooked foods, such as soups and stews, throughout the winter. Root vegetables, which take longer to grow, are recommended as they offer warmth to the body. To support the kidneys, blue and black foods, including black beans, legumes, black sesame, and forbidden rice are helpful additions to the diet during the winter. Additionally, drinking enough good, clean water is always recommended for proper kidney functioning!
Quieting, resting, and allowing stillness (processes associated with both Saturn and the Kidneys) are essential practices at this time of year. It is from the yin wisdom of the Winter that we are offered invitations to look after ourselves deeply, to move consciously into the quieter parts of our being, and discover that which is less visible when external abundance prevails.