Finally, its here – the shortest day of the year! Sunrise here today is at 7:55 AM and it will set at 4:20 PM. Starting tomorrow, the days get longer. Hooray! I like light and I like warm (so what am I doing living on Bainbridge Island?) I love it in June and July when it’s light out at 4:00 AM and still light at 10:00 PM. And I am not a happy camper when I walk to the ferry at 7:30 AM in the dark or look out my window at 4:3o PM and its already dark. I use self-hypnosis a lot to deal with the dark and the cold.

According to Ann-Marie Inbornoni, Friday, December 21, 2007, 10:08 PM PST, marks the solstice – the beginning of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and summer in the Southern Hemisphere.

In astronomy, the solstice is either of the two times a year when the Sun is at its greatest distance from the celestial equator, the great circle on the celestial sphere that is on the same plane as the earth’s equator. In the Northern Hemisphere, the winter solstice occurs either December 21 or 22, when the sun shines directly over the tropic of Capricorn; the summer solstice occurs either June 21 or 22, when the sun shines directly over the tropic of Cancer. In the Southern Hemisphere, the winter and summer solstices are reversed.

Reason for the Seasons

The reason for the different seasons at opposite times of the year in the two hemispheres is that while the earth rotates about the sun, it also spins on its axis, which is tilted some 23.5 degrees towards the plane of its rotation. Because of this tilt, the Northern Hemisphere receives less direct sunlight (creating winter) while the Southern Hemisphere receives more direct sunlight (creating summer). As the Earth continues its orbit the hemisphere that is angled closest to the sun changes and the seasons are reversed.

Longest Night of the Year

The winter solstice marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year. The sun appears at its lowest point in the sky, and its noontime elevation appears to be the same for several days before and after the solstice. Hence the origin of the word solstice, which comes from Latin solstitium, from sol, “sun” and -stitium, “a stoppage.” Following the winter solstice, the days begin to grow longer and the nights shorter.

If you struggle with the dark, or have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), I urge you to consider hypnotherapy.  I use hypnosis with many clients who come to me with SAD and they report major improvement.

If you are fed up with the dark or feeling cold here is a really simple use of hypnosis to get you through: Imagine lying on a warm beach – you can feel the warmth of the sand, the warmth of the sun on your body, listen to the palm trees in the gentle breeze, hear the waves rolling onto shore. There – feel better now? I do.