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Winter Solstice Empowerment

Dear Qigong friend,

On Thursday, December 21st, the twenty-second phase of the Chinese seasonal calendar begins. This phase, Winter Solstice (Dongzhi), starts at 11:27 AM EST as the sun crosses 270° Longitude (0° Capricorn). Please join the thousands of practitioners worldwide who will usher this event by practicing the Winter Solstice Empowerment.

Wishing you Good Qi,
Robert Peng

Stage Spring Summer Autumn Winter
1Start of Spring
Feb 3
Start of Summer
May 5
Start of Autumn
Aug 7
Start of Winter
Nov 7
2Rain Water
Feb 18
Grain Full
May 20
Limit of Heat
Aug 22
Minor Snow
Nov 21
3Awakening of Insects
Mar 5
Grain in Ear
Jun 5
White Dew
Sep 7
Major Snow
Dec 6
4Vernal Equinox
Mar 20
Summer Solstice
Jun 21
Autumn Equinox
Sep 22
Winter Solstice
Dec 21
5Clear and Bright
Apr 4
Minor Heat
Jul 6
Cold Dew
Oct 7
Minor Cold
Jan 5
6Grain Rain
Apr 19
Major Heat
Jul 22
Frost Descent
Oct 23
Major Cold
Jan 19

Winter Solstice (DONGZHI JIEQI)

At 11:27 AM EST on December 21st, 2017, the seasonal clock strikes midnight. The astronomical name for that event is the Winter Solstice which also happens to be the name of the upcoming seasonal phase.

Winter Solstice represents the time of the year when Yin, the receptive principle reaches its peak. Yin is associated with qualities such as inwardness, heaviness, depth, and darkness. Mind you, the darkness of Yin lacks the negative connotation that we tend to attribute to that quality.  The darkness embodied by the solstice of winter is the darkness of peace, the welcoming absence of light that allows you to detach from your boss and your bills, sink into a soft pillow and experience the deep liberation of restful sleep. 

Winter Solstice, the fourth phase of winter, represents the time of the year when the longest night is wedded to the shortest day. Darkness literally rules this time and the theme of this seasonal phase derives from realizing the virtue of darkness and by awakening the Winter Solstice within. 

So what is the spiritual purpose of darkness and how does one embody peaceful darkness within? As a general rule, light extraverts. It draws the senses outwards. And darkness introverts by drawing the senses back in. 

Reality feels vastly different from either end of this introversion-extraversion continuum. Engaging the outer world through our senses, we encounter shapes, sounds, tastes, and textures arising in countless ever-shifting forms that the mind names, categorizes, and organizes according to some belief or worldview. It is this accumulated collection of perceptions and conceptions that crystalizes the “real” world that feels solid and concrete.

But if you observe those same sensory experiences while rooted inwardly, the solidity unravels. As you disengage an object from your senses and contemplate it, it takes on the quality of an image arising in a dream. And if you sink deeper into yourself, even this image dissolves and fades until you experience a boundless emptiness that becomes increasingly palpable. The puzzle of Winter Solstice is solved when we realize that the solid forms that comprise reality arise from a mysterious formless emptiness. 

Darkness is the guide that leads the mind to this realization. Or put another way, darkness is the teacher of the highest wisdom. We tend to associate wisdom with light. But just as movement arises from stillness, sound arises from silence, the light of the mind arises arises from the void.  

Winter Solstice embodies the moment of maximum stillness, silence, and darkness, and the strong seasonal forces manifesting at this time  facilitate the journey to the root of wisdom. 

Now is a good time to meditate on the empty nature of existence. In a dark room at this dark time, contemplate the stories that define your existence. Gradually these stories will take on the appearance of an ephemeral dream images projected on the screen of awareness. Continue to observe those images and they will soften, melt, and dissolve. Then, dive deeper and realize that the screen of awareness is a canvass made of nothingness. Submerge awareness in total darkness. By doing so, you will embody the spirit of Winter Solstice and experience the peace of emptiness.

To facilitate this inner journey, I encourage you to practice the Winter Solstice Empowerment. The empowerment takes place on Thursday, December 21st between 11:27 AM EST and 1:27 PM EST just as the solstice begins (remember to adjust for the time difference if you live in another time zone). 

Winter Solstice continues for fifteen days until Minor Cold, the fifth phase of winter, begins on Friday, January 5th at 4:48 AM EST. Until then, celebrate darkness, the mother of light.

(If you can't see the video on the screen, you can see it on YouTube ).


The spine is made up of five segments including the coccyx, the lower back (sacral and lumbar spine), the middle and upper back (thoracic spine), and the neck (cervical spine).

The vertebra associated with this empowerment is Lumbar 5 (L5) in the lower back.

Lumbar 5 (L5) is the lowest vertebra of the spine and rests just above the sacrum. To locate L5, begin by identifying the iliac crest, the topmost part of your hips and trace a straight line to your spine. That vertebra is L4. One down is L5.

Find L5 now.


(You can practice this empowerment every day until the next Jieqi, but the golden time is on Thursday, December 21st between 11:27 AM - 1:27 PM EST)

Once every 15 days, the sun crosses over "power spot" and a wave of powerful cosmic energy is released. The purpose of this empowerment is to concentrate this energy into your spine and internal organs.

  1. Sit comfortably or lie down and relax every part of your body.
  2. Inhale through all the pores of your skin, collect universal Qi energy and concentrate this energy to L5. Exhale and visualize L5 glowing brightly. Continue this breathing patterns 36 times.
  3. Then, inhale, focus on L5, exhale and visualize the light from L5 spreading throughout your body, to your spine, your bones, and to your internal organs. Repeat 36 times.
  4. Finally, inhale and collect the light and energy from all over your body into your Lower Dantian which is located three finger widths below your navel in the center of your body. Then exhale and concentrate the energy there. Repeat three times. Then, relax, and nourish your Qi, feeling like a sponge soaking in a warm tub of water. Maintain this state for as long as you want.


(Practice this exercise once a day until the next seasonal phase begins)

The purpose of this exercise is to strengthen the soft tissue surrounding the vertebra associated with the current empowerment. Every 15 days we focus on a specific vertebra and over the course of the year we tonify the whole spine. Be gentle and don't strain your back.

  1. Sit with the soles of your feet touching and rest your fists on the sides of your knees.
  2. Inhale, lean forward slightly, hold your breath, and press both knuckles on the sides of your knees. And exhale, release your fists and relax your legs. Repeat for 36 times.
  3. Swoosh your tongue around your mouth until it is running with saliva. Then, swallow the saliva, and send the energy of your saliva down to your Lower Dantian. Repeat three times.

Enjoy your practice and a happy holiday season.