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Winter Solstice: Loving the Long Dark Night

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solstice dreaming

It’s the most wonderful time of year… for dreaming.

The days are getting shorter. The nights are growing long. What better time to give more attention to your dreams!

I may be a bit biased. I write books about dream interpretation and host a podcast that highlights personal stories about the wondrous ways that dreams enhance our lives. But I’m for real when I say that this time of year is wonderful for cultivating your dream life. The longer nights and holiday down-time offer more opportunities to sleep, to rejuvenate the mind, body, and spirit, and to dream ahead for what’s to come next year. The renowned psychic Edgar Cayce said that nothing of significance in life happens without dreaming about it first. Dreaming is one heck of a way to not only see ahead to the future but also to shape it by injecting your wishes and desires into the flow of time. Simply ruminate about what you’d like to materialize in 2023. Think about it strongly as you fall asleep. Then, first thing when you wake up, search the memories of your dreams for a response.

It’s a choice. Some people are busier than usual during the winter holiday season and have less time to sleep-and-dream in. And I’m sorry that they miss out on what is for many of us, in the Northern hemisphere at least, the most valuable and beneficial use of this time. Our culture unfortunately propagates the idea that there are better things to do than sleep – be productive instead! Squeeze another hour or two into each day by truncating your sleep time! But there’s no better time of the year to say screw it and get more sleep. Longer nights seem to cool the fire of ambition and put to rest, temporarily at least, the notion that we must be busy busy busy. More time to sleep means more time to dream. Take advantage of it, I say. Make the choice.

And if you don’t have the “luxury” of sleeping more, I suggest that you at least rest more in a quiet, warm, and warmly lit and/or comfortably darkened environment. There is something deeply healing about soaking in darkness. Turn down the lights. Turn off the electronics. Mute the volume. Listen to soothing sounds. Stoke a fire. Burn candles. Sip herbal tea. Then go to bed early and serenely dream, dream, dream.

What are you afraid of? Let in the dark. Embrace it. Our bodies and minds are tuned to the rhythms of nature and the ebb of sunlight this time of year. The deep water of unconsciousness beckons us to immerse in its mystery and in its muted and darkened hues, to float rather than paddle and sink rather than swim. It’s OK to let go once in a while.

It’s OK to dream.

Oh, it’s so much more, too! We need time to heal and it happens naturally as we sleep. Happens naturally as we dream. Sleep and dream specialist Dr. Rubin Naiman calls dreaming the “pinnacle of sleep.” It’s the peak time for healing. It reconnects us with our innermost selves, he says. And that may be what’s most valuable for the majority of us when we dream more. Author Thomas Moore says that when we dream, we return to the home from whence we came and where we will eventually return to for good when our eyes close the final time. When you dream, you inhabit a more authentic version of yourself. You spend time in a place where you feel like you belong, like how holiday visits with beloved family and friends nourish the heart. You give the ego a rest. It needs it.

Your dreams are your cocoon, a soft and wispy space to wrap yourself in. They are the chrysalis of personal transformation, a shell that forms around you, keeping you safe when you are the most vulnerable and in need of down time. Give yourself the best present this holiday season. And take advantage of the opportunity while it lasts. Tomorrow. the days start growing longer.

J.M. DeBord lives in Tucson

As Dr. Frasier Crane says, I'm listening. Leave a comment.

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