self awareness for the summer & winter solstice
The winter and summer solstice occur every 6 months around June 21st and December 21st. They take place when the sun is at its furthest degree north or south and causes the longest or shortest night of the year depending on the hemisphere.
This perfect balance of extreme light and dark is ideal for healing the shadow self.
understanding the shadow self
The founder of analytical psychology Carl Jung believed that understanding our shadow self was essential for proper healing.
“Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
― C.G. Jung
Hidden within each of us we have a DARK SHADOW and a GOLDEN SHADOW.
The DARK SHADOW is the part of us that we push away because it is perceived as being ugly, stupid, shameful or harmful in nature. It is imperative to face the dark shadow and give it love and forgiveness in order to heal, move on and grow.
“People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”
― Carl Jung, Psychology and Alchemy
The GOLDEN SHADOW is the part of us we suppress because it has the potential to be brilliant and successful, which can feel daunting and debilitating. The Golden shadow needs encouragement and support in order to develop our finest skills and experience our greatest dreams and desires.
“Every human life contains a potential, if that potential is not fulfilled, then that life was wasted...”
― Carl Gustav Jung
Use the light and dark of the solstice to embrace your inner shadows and reveal your true self.
The WINTER SOLSTICE is the longest night of the year, the darkest of the dark.
It is a time for quiet inner reflection and accessing the DARK SHADOW.
The SUMMER SOLSTICE is the longest day of the year, the lightest of the light.
It is a time for openness, sharing and expressing the GOLDEN SHADOW.
“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”
― Carl Gustav Jung
reveal and heal the shadow self
Here are a couple of simple activities to reveal and heal the dark and golden shadows. It is recommended to do both activities around the solstice, starting with the dark shadow and finishing with the golden shadow.
To discover what is hiding in your DARK SHADOW ask yourself what you need to recognise about yourself and what you need to let go of or forgive.
An easy way to clarify the answer is to draw a picture; you may be surprised by what you see. Even if you can’t draw grab some coloured pencils or crayons and start scribbling on to paper, it doesn’t have to be a masterpiece as it’s for your eyes only. Interpret your picture as best as you can to reveal what your dark shadow wants to say.
You can also write it down or make a voice memo but a picture can work best.
Please note; resist the temptation to keep what comes up during your dark shadow reflection. Once you’ve gathered what you need from it burn it or throw it away, release it with the intention of letting that stuff go.
Bring to light your GOLDEN SHADOW by visualising yourself happy and radiant and focus on what you can see yourself doing.
Imagine yourself at your happiest and most fulfilled, write down or draw what you see. Explore as much of this vision as you can. Where are you? Who are you with? What are you wearing? Where have you come from? What are you doing that evening? What will you be doing the following day and weekend? What are you doing differently in your vision than what you are doing currently?
Get a really clear picture and feeling of what being happy, fulfilled and radiant is for you.
Keep what you express about your golden shadow near and refer to it often particularly when you need inspiration or direction.
This is a rudimentary look at exploring the shadow self and sometimes that’s all we need, a little 6 month solstice refresher to get clarity around letting go and remembering what we wish to develop.
Consider checking in with your shadow self at this time to help you stay in touch with the natural rhythm of contracting in winter and expanding in summer.
“We are not what happened to us, we are what we wish to become.”
― C.G. Jung
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Zoe is the founder of The New Leaf coaching and kinesiology.
Since 1997 she's helped thousands of people who feel stuck clear their life path and confidently move forward.
As well as a regular blog, The New Leaf offers sessions and programs in clinic, by phone and online.
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