Quite apart from it being my birthday tomorrow, Dec 21st will be auspicious. It is the Winter Solstice, the shortage day and longest night of the year. It is also is first time since 1544 that that a Full Moon Lunar Eclipse falls exactly on the the Winter Solstice. That was 456 years ago!! A time when the Catholic Inquisition was already active and the Protestant Reformation was heating up, bringing religious persecution and “witch” burnings all around Europe.

Two friends of mine, Jodie Evans and Cristina Biaggi, have passed on what shaman friends, Starhawk and Vicki Noble, have to say about what all this means.

Winter Solstice is a time of darkness. But as Starhawk says, “Dark is a place of potential, of gestation, the black, fertile soil where the seed puts forth roots and shoots, the dark womb where new life is nurtured.  But being humans, we also have a natural affinity for the light, the time of growth and new beginnings, of warmth and color and bright new hopes.  Solstice reminds us that no darkness, no loss, no grief or disappointment is final.  Out of darkness, light is born.   Every ending gives rise to a new beginning.  Out of disappointment and despair comes new courage, new hope. Over the coming year, this seed–planted in the darkness of Winter—will sprout and grow, becoming something manifest in our lives by the fall harvest time. What is it you would like to bring to birth in this coming year? What do you care about and want to protect? It’s a night to take a good look at what you want to shed.  What are the behaviors, the beliefs, the patterns that no longer serve?  Let them go.  Make the commitment to change. What act of power can you make that would transform your fears and doubts into confidence and empowerment? How can you improve your health, your job, your relationships? These are the ruminations I would suggest you entertain on this powerful Winter Solstice; make it count!”

One ritual I do at this time of year is write on strips of paper the things I want to let go of, rid myself, even the world, of. I put the slip or slips of paper in a can or bowl and light them on fire, watching the smoke rise and focusing on those things I am saying goodbye to. Feeling them go up into the ether. I believe that, along with prayer and meditation, rituals like these can help our psyche move in new directions. This is a time, this evening and early morning, to envision the future you want to create.  

Then, on top of this, we will witness a total Lunar Eclipse, the first —as I said, to fall on the Winter Solstice. A total lunar eclipse happens when the Moon passes behind the Earth so that the Earth blocks the Sun’s rays from hitting the moon. This only happens when the Earth, the Moon and the Sun are exactly aligned with the Earth in the middle. And, unlike a solar eclipse, a lunar eclipse can be seen anywhere on the night side of the Earth.

Tonight and tomorrow, “Imagine the best,” says Vicki Noble. “Do something useful and refrain from doing anything harmful or destructive, since most traditional people around the planet believe that the eclipse magnifies and multiplies the effects of our individual and collective actions. We know that this eclipse is more potent than most (given that it takes place on the Winter Solstice), so let’s make it our business to do something  powerful and POSITIVE. That doesn’t mean being overly serious or heavy; I think it’s probably a lot more effective to have a fabulous time doing something joyful and expressive.”

Clearly I have a lot to celebrate!
Blessings and Peace to all of you. Love, jane

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  1. “God gave us the darkness so we could see the stars.” (Johnny Cash)

  2. thanks for your interesting post.
    the ritual you suggest and Starhawk and Noble
    words are inspiring,refreshing,renewing.
    my best wishes for your birthday and for
    a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

  3. Happy Birthday! What did you write on the white strips?

    • Lacey, I cannot tell. That is for me alone to know.

  4. Oh, whoops – a Big Happy Birthday to YOU!!!

  5. Jane
    Have you ever taken on a personal project, as in a person? I realize I am one of millions that have followed you career, but I need to take a chance. I am 58 years old, my daughter is getting married in June. I do not want to be the slovenly person I have become. I was laid off from my job of 30 years last December and now weigh 150 lbs. I am 5′ 4 1/2″ tALL. i HAVE 2 degenerative discs in my back and tendonitis in my shoulder.
    Last but not least, I would like to be the person I should be. The whining could go on, but suffice it to say I have made many mistakes in my life and am living the to this day. I really know this is not a Dear Abbey but I need to tryfor some help.
    Good wishes to you

  6. Congratulations afterwards!

    You got the privilege to be the theme of my blog here in Finland.I was happy to look your interview. I was suprised to notice that the feminine identity narrative and it’s problems seems to be quite similiar in USA than in Finland. I have been writing actively maybe for about three years,almost every day. My life was a couple of years ago a chaos, but I survived. By hypnotherapist education and by reflective writing I have been able to become much more whole than I used to be. It is suprising what kind of magical forces writing can have. I think that the creative writing state is a kind of selfhypnosis, where you can organize your mental assosiations. Now I enjoy of my life’s third act more than I have ever done before.

  7. Have a Wonderful Birthday Jane..It’s so proud to have a long period of experience like you do.

  8. Dear Jane- a very Happy, Blessed Belated 73rd birthday! I loved your profound, wise and sweet words re: Winter Solstice-very beautiful and inspiring. Speaking of inspiring I just bought a wonderful Christmas gift for myself-your new Prime Time workout. I absolutely love it! I will turn 66 in a few months and it is perfect for me and I know for so many of us “boomers and beyond” out there! I love and respect you so much-you are a true woman of integrity and grace. Blessings to you always, Nancy

  9. I enjoyed reading your blog for the first time today. Just happened to see that you are doing more workouts. I had all of the first ones and used them. I need them more now because I recently had my 59th birthday and my job with a non-profit keeps me busy, but the busyness is either in front of a computer or in a car traveling around northern Alabama and Georgia. Just to say that I am excited to get to Target and see the DVDs. AND, thanks for the idea of burning some negative things!!

  10. A belated happy birthday, Jane. Hope you had a fun Christmas (bet you are at the ranch)and all the best for 2011. Thank you for sharing part of your life with us. Much love…

  11. I really liked this post as it’s what I feel about this season. Happy Birthday and best wishes for the year ahead to be all you could wish for.

  12. I thought I was ~used up~, oddly trapped in a Sacred Vessel that had become cumbersome and foreign to me. After 30+ years I had abandoned my daily dancing routine. I had grown weary of mentally weighing every morsel and drop I placed in my mouth. It seemed my loyal vessel was staging a rebellion. Nothing seemed to work anymore, so why bother?!*!?

    Then this morning, I took a timid nibble of your interview on and it was so satisfying, I voraciously consumed the rest.

    You are a Bringer of Light, a Guru…

    Why was I throwing in the towel at 61, thinking it was the end of the Rainbow?

    Thanks Jane. I Feel so much better.
    Now I’m gonna turn this thing around;-D

    Happy belated birthday!!!
    Love, Bhakti

  13. Dear Jane,

    First, happy birthday!

    I have been resisting letting go of a few things causing pain, even though I’ve heard letting go can make way for a new beginning. For some reason, seeing your comments here are resonating — so, thank you for saying what I so needed to hear.

    Best for the New Year!


  14. Happy Birthday, Jane!
    I loved seeing the eclipse – thank you for the reminder and the tidbits about the Solstice. The eclipse was just beautiful and magical here in Marin County… the clouds parted and it was a perfect view, even as the moon turned that brilliant orange. What a great day for a birthday!

    All the best for a wonderful New Year,

    ps – I’ll be doing the ‘white strips on fire and released into the ether’ for a New Year’s Eve cleansing of sorts – that’s a great idea.

  15. Happy belated birthday.

    • Dear Jane- Wishing you a happy, blessed and belated birthday! You look amazing!!! And I was very touched by the beautiful thoughts you shared about Winter solstice also. You are truly a woman of great integrity and grace. Blessings to you always, Nancy

  16. Happy birthday! May you remain fit and healthy and continue to grace the Silver Screen! Looking forward to all your upcoming films!

  17. Jane,

    I must say, you continue to inspire me. For that I thank you.

    We’ve met several times while you were married to Tom. I was involved in SF politics. I did not know you very well then. However, after seeing your interview with Oprah I was inspired again.

    If you ever make it to Alaska, we would love to host you in Juneau. Good luck with the book. My kindle version is waiting to be downloaded.

    Have a wonderful new year.

    Gale Armstrong Moses

  18. I’m adding my belated birthday congratulations, Jane! I enjoyed your appearance on ‘Oprah’ last week.

    I’ve always admired you as an actress, but after I read your memoir a couple of years ago, and discovered all that you’ve been through, and how you’ve learned to accept, embrace and grow from your life experiences, my admiration of you as a person has grown, too.

    I’m also very pleased and excited to know that we are Christian ‘sisters’. I read your post on your faith/beliefs, and I understand where you’re coming from. Since you’re an avid reader, I’m wondering if you’ve read any of the works of Philip Yancey and/or Lee Strobel? They are my two favorite Christian authors, Strobel in particular, because of his faith journey. If you haven’t read anything of theirs, I would encourage you to do so, esp. Strobel’s “The Case for Faith” and “The Case for a Creator” – both very informing.

    I wish you well in the coming year!

  19. Hope you psyched all the well wishes sent on your birthday! Found out the supervisor who scolded so harshly then let me go from the best local hospital for fragrance use in 11/09 died in 9/10 of a cerebral aneurysm. Her blames for the causes of her headaches were off the mark. She was a cigarette smoker but a devoted grandmother who loved her life.

    Before finding out I bagged up perfumes, petroleum jelly, oils and lotions for the garbage. From now on its Whole Foods, olive oil, and essential oil fragrances for me! And no scent for the workplace too!

    Hopefully the $18 for your DVDs was well spent. Your message to feel love reminded me of Ali McGraw’s on her yoga tape but nonetheless is the best of reminders! Now I will increase Kegels from 30 a day to 200 and will know how to pronouce them! Your balance exercise will be practiced too. Probably I did not hold it long enough before. The slowing down advice had not been heard before. So bravo! What sunshine you are! Once the routines are memorized tech dependence is out the door like we want to be! The video on your previous blog post was too long for me. Was that to build endurance? Halfway through was the limit. Does anyone agree?

    It must be helpful to hear about your limitations on your DVDs. We may expect some exercises to be hard. Actually I cannot imagine many senior citizens doing your workouts. Why aren’t the exercises done from wheel or other chairs? Senior citizens sitting to exercise seems more feasible.

    Happy New Year 2011 lovely lady!

    • Dawn, maybe in the future I will do them from a wheelchair. Good idea.

  20. I thought you had become a born again Christian. What happened to wishing everyone a Merry Christmas? What about talking about the birth of Jesus and his life and how your faith has affected you and helped you.

    My birthday was on the 23d of Dec and I too am 73. I have exercised to nearly all your tapes and look forward to the new ones. Happy New Year, Vera

  21. Hello Jane!

    I just wish you a Happy New Year! I love you, you’re the greatest.

    Love, Daniel

    P.S.: Could please send me a short reply? Because then I can say that I was talking to Jane Fonda and that would make me so happy. 😀

    • Daniel, hi. Happy New Year to you. Love, Jane

  22. Happy Birthday Jane. Have to tell you, I love your new DVD’s. I started using them on Monday. It’s so nice to have my old friend back–I like it when you ask if we remember doing steps (like grapevine). You do a great job of explaining moves and encouraging me. You know when to remind me to suck in my abs. I have a replaced knee as well, so it’s especially encouraging to have you in a similar circumstance. I’ve ordered the DVDs for my older sister, and a friend and a niece are now ordering them. You’re great. Thank you!

    • Thanks for these good words. I really like to get feedback…including what you DONT like. It helps for the future one. Xx

      • The only slight difficulty I had was with the transitions on the walking program but with doing the program regularly, I have started to anticipate the move changes. I like having only you instead of a whole classful of people. I like that the two programs can be done in a relatively small “footprint” of space and in a reasonable period of time. The music is nice and not disruptive. I like that you talk about what’s difficult for you–gives us “folk” some hope for ourselves. I have your complete library of videos from “the old days” and it’s just so nice to have something that works for a 60 year old with a replaced knee. I’m a breast cancer survivor who also lost 23 lymph nodes eight years ago. I do have problems with lymphedema in my right arm. Many of your moves are similar to the lymphedema exercises my physical therapist gave me and I can feel that the drainage really flows better after your exercise programs and there’s also less swelling. So, there’s another benefit. Sorry that I can’t find more wrong–it’s just two wonderful, inviting programs that I enjoy doing and they are making also more likely to eat the way I should and I feel more alive. Since last Monday, I’ve lost 9 pounds! By the way, my sister and I just absolutely adore your hair. Sorry for all the compliments–tee hee.

        • Well, Monday marked a week of my new regime including alternating days of your new DVDs, riding 30 minutes on my exercycle and trying to cut out bad foods (like soda and sweets). I did much better on the eating part this past week than I have been over the holidays. A week marked measurement taking–I was very pleased. I lost an inch on my replaced knee side and an inch on the lymphedema arm bicep. I lost at least a 1/2″ almost everywhere! Yeah!! I meant to say that I also think it’s a very good thing that you say that you don’t wear high heels anymore. They aren’t good for women’s backs or feet. This is a topic on which I think Oprah, as an icon to many women, could have done better. I always shuddered when I saw her heels and wondered how many women that encouraged to do likewise. Hope you have a great New Year!

  23. I loved your birthday comments. I checked your blog on “our” birthday, but it wasn’t up yet. I do a similar thing on my birthday. A friend and I make a little boat out of natural materials, decorate it with whatever flowers are blooming, write down what we want to let go of on little pieces of paper, and float it down the river. It’s always a nice thing to do around the solstice. This year the river was so high, it was really hard to get the little boat out into the current, but we finally succeeded.

  24. Jane, you’re back! Yay! I just finished my first ‘walking workout’ with you *pant, pant* I did great. My husband couldn’t find your other DVD, so I’ll look for it Monday. I, too, remember the grapevine. Oh, the good ol’ days! But these days are even better, with a hardy thanks to you. I’ll be 65 January 31st and with the help of your DVD’s, I’ll be in fabulous shape by then. I’ll give you some feedback as time goes on, but right now I need to take a shower!

  25. Happy New Year, Jane, from across the miles ~

    Just a short note from Canada, to say seeing you briefly on Oprah really inspired me. I have a # of your VHS tapes from fitness back in the mid-80’s and I always found you an inspiration even then. Now I’m older like alot of other ‘boomers’ and found out in my mid-40’s that I have a positive “gene” for reactive arthritis, for which I have sporadic flares of iritis, or arthritis, which seems to be affected by damp weather etc. I make my best effort every day at positive thinking, trying to always keep moving, reading books on faith, practising my violin, which is a new interest I took up in my mid-fifties, and continuing to work from my home as a medical transcriptionist. The biggest lesson I have learned in this decade is “to be easy on myself”.

    I just want to say that what you said at the very end of that interview, about always remaining curious about life, really reminded me again of my father and his enthusiasm for life, volunteering, exercising etc, and it kind of picked me up a little from a slump I’ve been in lately, so I have newly-made resolutions, ordered your DVD on walking and getting back to my journalling once again. Thank you, Jane, for your inspiration.

    Claudia 🙂
    Oxford Mills, Ontario Canada

  26. I enjoyed reading this SO much! Thank you for sharing Starhawk’s thoughts about the Winter Solstice! It’s all so interesting and quite wonderful! I thought about you on your birthday! I hope it was a wonderful day for you and that this year will be full of many happy moments for you!:)

  27. Jane, funny how you live in one part of North America and me another (Canada) and you are one generation older but what you say resonates true for me and is almost exactly what I write in my journal the night of the winter solstice…goes to show that we are connected more than we think. I’m French Canadian living in Canada and am 46 years old and yet what you say I have felt. Thank you for sharing. I look at you and would like to say that you are a great, not to say awesome, role model for women. FYI and BTW. What you say and do relays a very positive message for women of all ages, and men also. Merci and Namaste. J

  28. Born February the 18 th

    ues, I agree peacefully

    Joy and Love

    Luce Caggini

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