The winter solstice is the longest night of the year. This year, here in New England, this occurs, on December 21st (so close to midnight that many calendars say it is the 22nd). Though, we have been collectively feeling its effects for some weeks. There are a few events that seem to affect us as we move towards this day; some celestial and one quite terrestrial. The first is the Autumnal Equinox. After that day, the day wanes and the night waxes. We begin our inward descent. Darkness overcoming light becomes unmistakable at the point between the Equinox and Solstice known as Samhain. At that point, we speak of the veil between the realms.
Another event that affects us gravely around this time of year is “time change.” Time change was invented because our way of measuring time is inadequate. Day and night are not equal but twice a year… and then, only exactly equal, if you live at the equator.
Because of this, some thinkers got together, as the story goes, and invented an artificial time change, known as "daylight savings time," to our already artificial time. Like that of leap year, the concept of daylight savings time arbitrarily changes our collective clocks an hour forward in the spring and an hour back in the fall.
Our bodies are not designed to make this "leap" forward or back. We are organic beings living in an organic world. We are a part of the natural organism we call Earth. When we artificially augment our rhythms to meet societal demands, we suffer.
Time change is a bit like a whiplash on the body’s sleeping and waking cycles. More so, it is like jet lag. Jet lag, long believed to be more psychosomatic, than an actual condition - is now accepted in the medical and scientific communities as a real condition caused by a disruption the natural circadian rhythms. Hence, it's official name, "desynchronosis."
"De" means the removal of. "Syn" is with or together... and "chronos" is time. Desynchronosis - to be [taken] out of sync with time.
Though one could argue that the propulsion of our bodies across great distances, at extreme speeds, and through the air - might leave the body feeling, "some type of way." We can show through measurements of body temperature, plasma levels, [midichlorians] and hormone secretions - that rapidly changing time zones introduces new algorithms for our bodies to adjust to.
I experience time change just like that. While some report that they enjoy the autumnal change and suffer the spring, I have seen the negative effects on our collective health in both directions. It is disconcerting, to say the least, to suddenly wake and it's dark outside, when days prior it was not that way. I think someday soon; we will have to speak of "time change lag" or induct its effects into the pathology of desynchronosis.
Our bodies are governed by the cycles of the sun. The Sun tells us when to wake and when to go to bed. In ancient times, the sun was worshiped as the great giver of life, for this very reason. In the spring, we see the sun growing brighter and brighter. The days begin to wax, to grow longer and fuller. Even in a very long, harsh and cold winter by the spring equinox people are so reassured, convinced of the sun's return it is not uncommon to hear the phrase, "He is risen!"
But we are not yet there. Not now, not today. We are in the darkest of days, the longest of nights.
Behind your eyes, inside your brain lies a sacred place known to the Taoists as the Crystal Palace. This “palace” is both metaphysical and also quite anatomical. In anatomy, this section is divided up into the thalamus, the hypothalamus, pituitary, and pineal glands. Collectively, they control the body’s clock, our reproductive cycles, pregnancy, birthing and breastfeeding, orgasm, trust, and they have a great deal to do with consciousness itself!
Most of this Crystal Palace is a part of the endocrine system, the hormone producing system in our bodies. Hormones control everything! They are the biochemical signals for everything from growth and development, puberty, ovulation and menstruation, digestion, sleeping and waking cycles… like everything! Hormones control us from fetus to crone!
Do you remember your first solar powered calculator? As a young child, I was fascinated with the idea that the sun could power my calculator. Okay, I’ll admit, I still am! Well, we are solar powered people! The sun is the “great-great master gland” of our endocrine system. It produces the hormone, “solar energy” which sets up our clock… much like this laptop, I am typing on is synced to some clock somewhere in the ethers… We link up to the sun for our internal clock.
The sun’s rays reach our Crystal Palace by two routes. One route is through penetration of our flesh and bone. To check a fertilized chicken egg for fetal development, there is an age-old process of shining light through the egg in a dark place to see what structures have developed. This process is called candling, as it is far older than flashlights.
If we could candle our own bodies, what would we see? How far does light penetrate into our body? Do this… hold up a flashlight to your hand… turn out all the lights and see how the light penetrates through skin, fascia, muscle, bone, back through the fascia, and then skin. The light has changed color, but it makes it through! The sun is a very powerful light, and it penetrates through our bodies and into our Crystal Palace.
I think of various religious practices involving head coverings, head shaving, growing the hair out, etc. Are these attempts to block, filter, or capture etheric energies in route to the Crystal Palace? Does shaving one's head allow for more light penetration? Does growing one's hair act as an antenna for esoteric energies? Does a headdress, cap, or other device act as a filter in some way?
Light is carried throughout the body via fascial and nerve tracts. One specialized optical-tract light-pathway is known as, "the retinohypothalamic tract." This organic fiber optic cable carries light from the retina into the Crystal Palace. This tract is a more direct route.
There must be a reason that the ancients would do morning rituals and exercises, such as yoga and chi gong, facing east. That reason is simple… to link up to the sun! Our system must be constantly connected to the great-great grand master to be in balance.
Furthermore, this area has the esoteric significance of being known as, “The Third Eye Chakra.” This chakra is associated with being able to see through the veil, into the spirit world, psychic vision, etc. For that reason, many attempts have been made to “open” the third eye. If you were ever a fan of the band, Tool (or if you have ever been subjected to a fan of that band), you might have heard the lyrics, “prying open my third eye.” Prying a chakra open, is not a recommended path.
Instead, I would try being in balance with the natural rhythm of things. Taking care of your body and eating healthy food. Listen to your body, to your environment, the seasons, and the sun.
Currently, as we experience this Winter Solstice, the sun is being reborn. The night is at its longest and day is at its shortest. If you were able to decipher the messages from the sun to your circadian rhythm, what might it say?
To be continued…