The Winter Solstice


I’m very aware of the approaching winter solstice here in the southern hemisphere. There are two days to go until the anniversary of my car accident last year, on the day before moving from our old home to the townhouse on the winter solstice. Both my sons were here in Johannesburg to help us pack and move and say goodbye to our old home, and my husband had taken the week off work to pack and move.

Even though the accident was frightful, we moved as planned on 21st June. I was discharged from hospital on the morning on the 21st June and our family celebrated the winter solstice that Friday night in our new home, giving thanks that we were all together. It was also full moon.

But I’m being ultra aware this time around. This morning in the early hours a frightful dream woke me with a cry and a thumping heart. I wrote it down and went back to sleep. Before I went out at 10 I looked at it again, and since I had a fair way to travel this morning, I reflected on it while being extra cautious on the highway, both there and back home. I am quite unsure what to make of the dream and what this messenger is alerting me to. Last year I was well planned and organised while driving on the road of our old home to fetch more things to bring to the townhouse, when the truck came out of nowhere and knocked me sideways and overturned my car and rendered my right hand useless for a long while.

The winter solstice is a sacred time marking as it does the rebirth of the Sun. It is a turning point on that great wheel. Solstice comes from the Latin, sol (sun); sistere (to stand still); it is the time when the Earth’s axial tilt is farthest from the sun.

ย Out of the gloom of darkness and dormancy and a momentary stillness, comes the light and the warmth as the season slowly slides towards spring. I learned then as I learn now, that impermanence is real. I had to learn patience, a hard lesson for one such as I, and that time takes its own time. While my hand was numbed for a long time and pretty useless, I learned to use my left hand. When the numbness wore off, the pain was excruciating, but of value. It meant that healing was taking place.

We’re going down to Plettenberg Bay this Sunday for a week. We could have flown down on Friday after work. But somehow it’s important for me to be here at home on Friday the anniversary of my accident and on Saturday night, the longest night and shortest day and the anniversary of our first night spent in the townhouse. I’ll be wondering what my dream means over these next several days and beyond. Since our sons are not with us we’re having a few friends for dinner and we’ll welcome in the birth of the new sun. We’ll light a fire, and tell stories and celebrate the winter solstice.

49 Comments on The Approach of the Winter Solstice

  1. Dear Susan, only just came upon your question. Yes, of course, is the answer.
    Been distracted with family matters.

    • Ah, thank you. I wondered what question I had asked and now I see … have starred it and may well use it again. Maybe in WIP?
      Welcome back –

  2. Hi Susan, I’m back here after your lovely comment on my latest post.
    Reading your Solstice reflections again, I thought I share two methods I use with dreams. You may well have engaged with yours in similar ways.
    * I draw/sketch the images I remember and they tend to reveal new perspectives.
    * The various elements of a dream, people, objects, landscapes … I imagine as aspects of myself (my inner crowd.) In this context, giving each element a voice, like writing the monologue of a character, can bring up associations I had not considered, fresh insights.

    Most of our dreaming happens unnoticed, and some poignant dreams refuse to make sense for a long while, or remain a mystery. They have no less value.

    • Thanks so much Ashen! Amazingly, because of the synchronicity, I am TODAY in the middle of painting an image from this morning’s dream. I make sketches sometimes of dreams in my dream journal after recording, and I have in ages past, done a picture of four dreams combined.
      Today, I took a bold step – for me – to get the paints and papers out and spend some while painting a particular image from this morning’s dream. Or at least a preliminary one. For me, the first time in a long long while. You’re right, associations come to mind – and it is like writing. New perspectives, an other way of looking at things .. and a reminder that the dream may remain a mystery. You say ‘They have no less value’ .. perhaps this is their value. It unfolds …
      May I use what you said in your above comment in a blog that I am in the middle of constructing, while waiting for the acrylic on the canvas to dry? I will await your ok or not? It fits so well … obviously I will say from you ..
      All best,

  3. Hi Susan. We’ve talked about the similarities of our car accidents before. For several years prior to mine, I had a recurring nightmare where I died in a car accident (I was the driver). I continued to have a nightmare after my accident (only I was reliving the real life accident where I was the passenger), but it’s been quite a while since I’ve dreamed it. I recently had that original nightmare again and it just occurred to me while reading your post that it was close to the time of your recent nightmare (18th) and the anniversary of my car accident many years ago (17th), but my recent nightmare occurred on the 19th. I remember the date because several of my friends wanted me to attend a concert on the lake, but I had an uneasy feeling because of the nightmare I had the night before and decided not to go. Very strange, isn’t it?

    • Hi Melissa! Strange but true indeed! I also was extra cautious on the anniversary day, cancelled one or two things. I recently checked my dream journal to see if I’d had any significant dreams preceding last year’s accident but there were none really pertaining to the accident. The last lot of dreams I’ve been having are most strange. Have you used your nightmare for writing?
      Thank you so much for commenting.

  4. Susan, thank you for blogging about this frightening and life changing topic. I too have had an accident in a car, actually I’ve had 3. The timing of your accident seems auspicious. I appreciate your mindful approach to proceeding, listening to the inner voice of wisdom that recorded the lessons learned.

    • Thank you so much Stephanie for coming by. Yes, auspicious is the right word! Car accidents – or any other accident brings another kind of awareness doesn’t it. Even dreaming of bumper bashing means something …

  5. Hi My Dear Friend,

    It has been a year now and I am glad that you have looked back on it as a season where you had to learn a new lesson in patience. You mastered your lesson very well. I believe we all go through these seasons where we are taken a step farther and are thrown into learning another depth to what we have already learned about patience, endurance, perseverance, hope, faith, love, and all of those wonderful fruits that make us who and what we are.

    About your dream, I pray that you will in time receive the wisdom and the understanding to grasp what it is trying to tell you.

    Take care.


    • Thank you so much Patricia – how well you put that – that we’re taken a step further…into learning another depth. Life is amazing …
      I know that you approach life with all those qualities and may they continue to bless you.
      The dream is unfolding …

  6. Sorry to hear about your accident, but glad you’re okay. My spine was broken in an intentional car “accident,” so I understand how scary they can be.


    • O my grief Holli. This is almost unimaginable. The spine being broken as well as ‘intentional’ car accident. I sincerely hope that is all behind you now? Hope all is okay physically and psychically.
      Thank you for your comment.

  7. Strange to find Stonehenge coming out of Africa…when it lives half an hour away from me here. The unification of the globe takes such steps!

    The accident, the dream, the move all connected, but the precise connection always elusive. I suppose if we fully understood the mystery would evaporate.

    • Thanks Philippa, yes on your doorstep – why not! Thankfully, mysteries are still very part of everyday life … the dream world very much so.

  8. Hi Susan .. it’s good to be here again … and I’m pleased the accident was no worse, though I’m sure caused everyone a few worries. That’s good you decided to be around for the winter solstice and were able to quietly celebrate your escape last year, but have a wonderful fire and company for that evening .. and now enjoying the time down in Plett … cheers Hilary

    • Thanks so much Hilary! It’s a bit freezing here in Plett but lovely nevertheless, especially Wimbledon around a fire!
      Hope all very well with you ..

  9. It’s interesting how your winter counter-balances the onset of our summer. Sort of yin-yang. I like your expression “. . . impermanence is real.” Yet, there are cycles which when repeated yield a perfect circle, a hint of eternity perhaps.

    • Thank you Marian. What a lovely image of the circle/cycle of eternity. Enjoy your summer. It’s getting colder and colder here ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. This is beautifully crafted and written, Susan. Significant to stop, take a moment and reflect on time and patience, and the middle balance. Parallel to your thoughts have been my own these past few weeks, or month — yet honoring our summer solstice here in the Northern Hemisphere. I am becoming more aware that time to our conscious minds is relative; it is what it is and that I must have patience to allow time to fulfill itself. Thank you for this deeply thought and reverent reminder.

    I — and we Roos, I know, are blessed to have you still with us after that horrendous accident, and so happy for your healing physically, and healing emotionally/psychically, as time goes on and the evidence, as given in your dream and otherwise, unfolds.

    • Thank you so much Samantha! What a kind response :). I’m writing on the day of our winter solstice and will burn sage (from my little herb garden which I dried in the oven yesterday), later on this evening. May your summer solstice be meaningful and full … I will remember my very special Roo friends as I do this.

  11. Winter Solstice evokes so much history. What a time it was for our forebears! I can only imagine their excitement. The picture says so much.

    How’s your hand now? Back to normal? I had a decade long problem with my hand. I type a lot every day and for a while, I had to only use my pointer. By my age, it barely rates as a drama, more of a problem-solving opportunity. It’s finally better.

    • Thanks Jacqui for coming by. I’m writing on the 21st, so the day is here! Bright sunny and clear – very cold. My hand is fine and functional thank you for asking. I drop things sometimes. A decade long? Glad to hear that all is finally well! Happy summer solstice.

  12. Paying attention to your dreams is a wonderful practice no matter what time of year. We leave Labrador on the solstice (summer here) to go to Nova Scotia for two months. We’ll be back here in plenty of time to prepare for the winter solstice which is also my birthday (most years!)
    Here in the north the summer days are super long and I’m glad we’ll be on the road with plenty of time to get to where we’re going. This morning I woke up to the light streaming in our window to find it was only 4:15!
    Glad you are celebrating the Return of the Light!

    • Thank you Jan – no matter the time of year attention is called for in hearing the dream. So, you’re off tomorrow on the solstice! How lovely is that .. Have a wonderful time and from Sunday on you’ll have a few less seconds of early morning light! It must have been wonderful to wake up that early …

  13. I never really know what to make of dreams, even if I grew up in a family who liked to interpret them, give every color and happening a meaning. But there has to be a deeper connection between our very being and dreams, something more than we know and understand.
    Your celebration sounds fun. Good that a year has passed since the accident and all is well. Take good care, writer of such beautiful posts. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks so much Silvia .. much appreciate your very kind words! Yes, dreams are mysterious – what does one make of them .. an eternal question. Have a wonderful weekend! ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s freezing here on the highveld although all is bright and sunny …

  14. Ya, hectic. That was a scary time. I sometimes think about that period of change. So pleased you were alright ma, Dad, Dave and I are very blessed to have you in our lives ๐Ÿ™‚ Love m

    • Thanks so much Mike. I often think how wonderful it was that you and Dave were there .. Dad and I would not have managed without you guys. We are and were blessed indeed.

  15. The intangible world of our dreams has fascinated mankind for millennia. Harbinger, prophecy, vision, or processing of our internal fears and emotions? Even scientists can’t say why we dream. You bring up a very good point though, the only constant is change and many, many changes occur in the space of a year, some good and some bad. Thankfully as horrific as your accident was it has a happy ending. I always look forward to the winter solstice because the days grow longer and new life is stirring under the winter landscape waiting to spring forth once again. Enjoy!

    • Vicki, thanks so much for commenting. Dreams may be intangible but they hold strong messages. I’m always reminded of a saying from the Talmud: An unexamined dream is like an unopened letter … or was that Socrates. Beautifully put about new life stirring in the winter landscape waiting to spring forth again. Hope you’re enjoying your summer warmth – it is very bitter here in South Africa. How are you? Hope all is faring better?

      • Thank you for asking Susan, that is so nice of you to remember me. I am feeling much better and very hopeful that I will remain so. We are having a cool summer in northern Michigan but it is not snowing (which has actually happened in the month of June before) so I am not complaining. Looking forward to your next post!

        • Glad to hear you’re feeling much better Vicki – may this stay so and increase. Happy summer solstice to you. I’ll burn sage later on this evening as a way of acknowledging the winter solstice and will send smoke to northern Michigan … look out for the smoke signal that says I’m thinking of you ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Susan, there are so many things in this post of yours that I would love to muse on with you – moving, injury, sons, anniversaries, solstice, to name some – oh that I had more time! In the short bit I will take in the midst of projects and deadlines (and, I do confess, World Cup games…yes, I am a fan), I find myself really aware of, and so grateful for, and rather in awe of, connections across the globe! I’m watching these soccer games on TV taking place in beautiful Brazil; the games themselves strum LOTS of relationship-connection-threads with friends and loved ones and memories of being in some of these faraway countries; I just had an email exchange today with a dear friend in Brisbane, Australia…and then your blog appears in my inbox – how nice to read today’s reflections from my new acquaintance in South Africa! I am blessed by these threads of connection spanning our beautiful Earth. Thank you! All the best – Pam

  17. winter solstice blessings to you …. I will be thinking of you of all friends and family as we mark this turning of the wheel with ceremony this weekend. the days have turned cold for us here in the forest and I now put two hot water bottles in the bed at night. is it because I am getting older I mutter this morning that this place feels colder – for the upteenth time I say to John I think I will put curtains up here in the bedroom – that will make a difference . he ignores me as it is a vain( oft repeated threat) and really the birds and bush push in so close to us sleeping that I cannot honestly commit to closing our selves off from them.
    may the dream unfold its story and may the new year bring you great joy.

    • Thank you so much Sandra – winter blessings to you too. How lovely to do ceremony to welcome in the new year! I’ll be thinking of you across the seas. Tricky one re the curtains … hope the hot water bottles suffice.

  18. For me, I find dreams to be a vehicle for me to process emotions that I have been holding on to. Remembering your accident must be scary for you. Allow yourself to heal internally.

    It is so strange for me to realize that you are experiencing winter as we, in the northern hemisphere are drawn to summer. Saturday will be our longest day of the year and then we venture toward fall.

    Take the time to enjoy your friends. It is meaningful for you.

    • Thank you Gwynn. Your summer solstice is also a spiritual time … and as you say dreams fulfil a function of processing emotions. Maybe that is what was happening to me vis a vis my dream …

  19. Dear Susan;
    I am struck by your dream–a warning, a shake up an upset? Associated with the accident, move, change? Disturbing but it makes us notice…

  20. Dear Susan,

    The looming Summer Solstice here has raced up behind me. It is hard to believe this year is half spent. It is time for me to get myself to the beaches before we spin and tilt to our Winter Solstice here in the US. We are having a heat wave and it is too hot to go out and sit by the pool. The good news is here in my air conditioned tree house I can read of your celebrations.



    • Saturday – your summer solstice, would be an excellent time to dip into the waves Robert. The tree house sounds wonderful to beat the wave of heat though .. thank you for stopping by.

  21. Perhaps your dream was meant to just make you extra cautious. As your days begin to stretch out, our days in the northern hemisphere will shorten, a sad thought for me, I prefer the summer and the sun with the warmth it brings.

  22. Susan, Many things can change in a year, as you so poignantly posted. And we don’t know what is coming in the next year… something to remember. In this past year, I have gained two important men in my life — a grandson and a serious partner. Some ups and downs through the course of the year, also, but I am grateful to be here to see them and look forward to what happens next! thanks for your writing.

    • Thank you Beth for stopping by – the summer solstice in your part of the world is as significant and always a time to remember and be grateful for your blessings – may they increase.

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