The shortest day of the year is almost upon us. The winter solstice, the turning point of the year from which the sun's rays grow ever-stronger, falls on 21 June 2014.
Ancient societies marked this point in the calendar with ceremonies to tether the sun, to abandon one's winter-bride, and to bear witness to the longest night of the year by staying up all night. Traditionally, too, the winter solstice was regarded as the best time to plant garlic and other bulbs. Though this is not so relevant given Brisbane's subtropical climate, there will nevertheless be plenty of ways for residents to celebrate, reflect and ring in the upcoming seasonal changes.
Northey Street City Farm's Winter Solstice Festival Northey Street City Farm will hold its annual Winter Solstice Festival, featuring live music, mouthwatering fresh food and art activities for the kids. Circus, fire and a range of other performers will also roam the crowds. Quoting from a National Geographic article, Northey Street City Farm notes that humans have celebrated the rebirth of sunlight after the dark days of winter throughout recorded history: 'The winter solstice ... offers the opportunity to reflect on the season passed and the season to come, and to consider what no longer serves us, what we wish to let go, and what we would like to take forward into the new phase of the cycle.'
Last year's Winter Solstice Festival was a night to remember. Northey Street City Farm image.
Last year more than 1800 attended and those considering this year's festival are encouraged to 'bring a rug, dancing shoes and a party attitude'. The festival runs from 2-9pm. It's important to note that the Winter Solstice Festival is all about good clean fun - so no drugs or alcohol are permitted.
When: Saturday 21 June 2014, 2.00pm to 9.00pm Where:Corner of Northey St and Victoria St, Windsor Cost: Free, donations encouraged to support the farm Contact: 07 3857 8775
Overlooking the Brisbane River at Goodna, The River House is a space devoted to physical, emotional and spiritual development, with courses, classes, therapies and resources available for seekers to learn and experience various healing modalities.
So it is only fitting that The River House will be hosting a meditation to honour the Winter Solstice, with attendees encouraged to 'honour this time of darkness, journey into the depths of oneself, the darkness of unknown possibility. From that journey, new life as well as new light emerges.'
The River House offers meditation areas, healing rooms and reading rooms year round. Also available are practitioners specialising in psychic development, tarot and astrology readings, mediumship, reiki, crystal healing, shamanic healing, counselling, massage and more.
When: Sat 21 June 2014, 7.00pm to 8.30pm Where: The River House, 193 Brisbane Terrace, Goodna Cost: $5.00 Contact: 07 3381 8908
Changing your health habits with Cyndi O'Meara
If the winter solstice is all about casting off behaviours and beliefs which no longer serve us, then a day with nutritionist and lifestyle coach Cyndi O'Meara of Changing Habits might just serve as a catalyst to real change. Although O'Meara's appearance in Brisbane on the winter solstice occurs more through coincidence than design, this full day seminar will cover how food can either bring health and happiness or illness and misery, thus perfectly aligning with the philosophy of positive change.
Nature's bounty turns its face to the sun. Istock image.
O'Meara will address the issues of wheat, thyroid dysfunction, hormones, medications, weight issues, depression, cholesterol and vitamin D issues. 'All these are linked, and all can be helped with better habits,' she says. The good news is that O'Meara does not support the modern emphasis on low-fat, low-calorie diets and believes that chocolate can be good for you! Her approach is described as 'unique, surprisingly simple and down-to-earth' and her mission is to help people overcome health problems and lead a happy, high-energy lifestyle.
When: Sat 21 June, 9.00am to 5.00pm Where: Southbank Institute of Technology, Ernest Street Cost: $97 Contact: 07 5493 7135
Light in the Dark Winter Solstice event
Meditate upon the passage of the light. Istock image.
Fancy taking a trip over the border and making a weekend of it? Light in the Dark, which takes place at Bellingen (30 minutes out of Coffs Harbour) is one of Spirit Rising Yoga Bellingen's popular equinox events. It will incorporate kundalini yoga, meditation, movement, breath work, deep healing rest and 'rebirthing with a wintery dash of magic to get our souls dancing in the dark (and) connecting with the light that always shines even on the darkest days,' says instructor Brie McAlpine. She adds that the winter solstice is characterised by powerful energies which supports self-healing and transformation from the inside out. Attendees are encouraged to BYO yoga mat, meditation cushion and light blanket or meditation shawl.
The winter solstice is a time to seek nourishment. North Farm image.
Light in the Dark will take place the night after the winter solstice, but you can arrive early and soak up some of the northern NSW sunshine well ahead of the event. There are loads of accommodation options (including North Farm), ample cafes, and natural creeks, forests and beaches to explore.
When: Sun 22 June 2014, 6.00pm to 8.30pm Where:North Farm, 165 Hydes Creek Road, Bellingen, NSW Cost: $35 (booked and prepaid); $45 (on the day) Contact: 0422 963 207