Winter Solstice: Peak of Yin

For those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere, today marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year: the Winter Solstice (21 December 2022 at 9.47pm (UTC; 22:47 CET)). The solstice has been recognised and celebrated as a special moment of the annual cycle in certain cultures, e.g. the Yule festival observed by Germanic peoples. In terms of the Chinese Medicine’s view of seasonal rhythms, this time also indicates a special moment.

Heading Towards the Light

While in the Western world, this date is seen as the calendrical beginning of winter, it actually can be seen as the “midwinter” point. It is the exact time when Yin reaches its peak, and the spark of Yang is born again. It is the height of darkness and from here, a gradual ascending of light occurs as we head towards spring and summer. When Yin reaches its maximum, Yang begins to grow. The hours of daylight gradually increase. Sidenote: I can’t wait!

From a Taoist perspective, this Yin transition to Yang is considered a moment of perfect harmony and reconciliation which brings forth a possibility of new ideas and creation. Out of darkness light can be born.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, winter is the season of the element of Water and is associated with the Kidneys which store the most basic and fundamental energy of the body. Adjusting to the way of nature and the environment in its careful conservation and preservation of this energy helps to ensure health and longevity. This regeneration of Qi (life energy) in turn opens the way for the active and vibrant energy of early spring.

It is a time to adjust our horse management, exercise and training to the environmental conditions, such as ground and weather, and to provide appropriate nutrition and care. This then serves as the foundation for active movement, progress and growth in the upcoming seasons.

Have fun with it and Happy Holidays!