Whispers from the Well – Winter 2019


Welcome the Winter Solstice….

Celebrations of the Winter Solstice Around the Globe

The Winter Solstice is that time of year when the sun appears at its lowest point above the horizon, occurring December 21 this year in North America. It is also the shortest day of the year and has the longest night of the year. That day has the latest dawn and the earliest sunset. With the actual solstice taking but a brief moment, other terms are used that reflect this most auspicious day. It has been called mid-winters day, the longest night, and the first day of winter.
    Winter solstice rites are one of the oldest celebrations in the world, dating back over 30,000 years. While the festivals and rituals associated with the solstice have varied from culture to culture, the significance of the day has remained basically unchanged.
    Most Northern Hemisphere cultures have seen it as a season of rebirth, with celebrations, festivals, family and community gatherings and rituals. Being the most ancient of the holidays, the return of the sun was an integral part of the celebration.
    The coming warmth of the sun, the warming of the very soil and the lengthening of the days all signified a time of rebirth and renewal. Because of the importance given to the sun, it was often worshiped.
    The ancient Celts of Ireland and the Slavic peoples of Russia, Bulgaria and the Ukraine believed the god of darkness battled with the sun god on December 21, defeating the god of light. They then celebrated the rebirth of a new sun god.
    In China and other Eastern Asian countries, even today, a festival known as “Donghi” is celebrated. Donghi is a time for rejoicing as the longer hours of light come to replace the darkness of winter. It is also a time of increasing positive energy in the human spirit.
    Christmas was originally supposed to take place on December 21, but with changing from the Julian calendar to the Georgian calendar, the date was moved to December 25. But even the festival of Christmas is a celebration of light. The birth of “the light of the world” is a celebration of the birth of Christ in Christian beliefs.
    In ancient Germanic cultures, the winter solstice was called “Yule.” Again, light was a central idea of the festival, with the burning of a yule log and the sacrifice and roasting of the yule pig. The burning of the yule log and the Christmas ham have carried over to today’s celebration of Christmas.
    Through all of human history, people of many cultures have rejoiced in the return of the light and warmth that brings an end to the long and dreary days of winter. The winter solstice became a festival celebrating the cycle of life and rebirth, as well as a time of reflection for all men and women throughout hundreds of cultures around the world.

Bringing Back the Light…         

Winter Solstice — The longest night of the year is honored by many traditions as a sacred and rich time. In the past, it’s been a night to gather ’round the fire, or set out candles to call back the Sun.

Endings & Darkness — In Latin, solstice means ‘sun set still’ and Winter Solstice is the great stillness before the Sun’s strength builds, and days grow longer. It can be a time to rest and reflect. It’s the fruitful dark, out of which new life can eventually emerge. In ancient times, and for some today, the darkness itself is the spiritual cradle into which the Sun is reborn. Father Time with his sickle appears briefly, and bids us farewell, before the newborn babe appears at New Years. Everything lies dormant in the silent night, a sacred time of rest before the awakening, and the slow build toward longer days.
 frozen berries
Keeping the Faith — This time of year is associated with light… stringing lights, sparklers, and of course, candles. Hanukkah in the Jewish tradition is the Festival of Lights, with eight days of ritual illumination of the menorah. There’s the advent wreath of the Christian faith and the all-night bonfire for the burning of the Yule log, a tradition with roots in Northern European pre-Christian times. The lights are reminders of the inner light, and hope for the return of sunny days.
Winter Blues — The timeless traditions during the dark season of lights and celebrations are thought to be an attempt to balance out the sunless gloom of winter. Seasonal depression is brought on by a lack of sunlight, and a drop in seratonin levels. In Roman times, the Feast of Saturnalia was meant to counteract the heavy dark and the season’s reminder of mortality. Masters became servants, and gambling and excess was encouraged.

Creating Warmth — The many seasonal gatherings help to carry us through the dark time of the year. There’s a melancholy that can be overwhelming without the promise of a new beginning. It’s normal to feel that tinge of sorrow at life’s endings, here at the dying of the year. Parties and holiday gatherings remind us that we’re all in it together. We long for a sense of belonging, being part of a tribe, feeling that deep bond of family.
The Sun is Born — At Newgrange Cairn in Ireland, the sun’s rays shine onto the triple-spiral symbol in the burial chamber. The megalithic mound is womb shaped, and the triple-spiral is thought to come from the earlier Goddess cultures, representing the triplicity of Mother, Maiden and Crone. The light of the Sun begins a new solar cycle at Winter Solstice. The rays shine into the dark, and nurture the newborn life there to be cultivated. And this is mirrored in nature, as the seeds are buried in the darkness of the Earth, to emerge once again with the life-giving rays of the Sun.

Positive Effects of Hot Baths & Saunas

Sweating is as essential to our health as eating and breathing. It accomplishes three important things: rids the body of wastes, regulates the critical temperature of the body at 98.6 degrees F, and helps keep the skin cleansed and pliant.
     Many people, in this sedentary age, simply don’t sweat enough, which makes sweat baths and hot tubs particularly desirable during these long dark winter times. Anti-perspirants, synthetic clothing, artificial environments, dirty smog, and a physically idle Saunalifestyle, all conspire to clog skin pores and inhibit the healthy flow of sweat. These detrimental effects are reversed in a sweat bath.
    Sweat also has the function of being a great cleanser for the body. During a 15-minute sauna, sweating can perform the heavy metal excretion that would take the kidneys 24 working hours. Ninety-nine percent of what sweat brings to the surface of the skin is water, but the remaining one percent is mostly undesirable wastes. Excessive salt carried by sweat is generally believed to be beneficial for cases of mild hypertension. Some mental hospitals use saunas in their rehabilitation programs to pacify patients.
    A Finnish doctor wrote: “The best-dressed of foreigners can come into a doctor’s office, and when his skin is examined, it is found to be rough as bark. On the other hand, as a result of the sauna, the skin of any Finnish worker is supple and healthy.” Properly cared for skin is better able to resist many skin conditions, such as eczema, athlete’s foot, pimples and blackheads.
    Some researchers claim that the rapid flexing of the heart and blood vessels in the heat of the sweat bath is a healthy exercise that puts little more strain on the heart than strolling on level ground. The increased capillary volume, they say, keeps blood pressure normal.
    American doctors commonly recommend that elderly people and persons with heart problems should avoid sweat bathing. Finnish and German doctors feel otherwise. Perhaps this difference of opinion arises from the fact that the Germans, and especially the Finns, are more familiar with sweat bathing.
    Physiologically, the presence of negative ions in a sweat bath is as important as the heat. The discovery of negative ions in certain types of saunas became headline news in Finland. Until then, the healing power of the sauna was attributed to relaxation and increased circulation. Now, negative ions add startling new possibilities.
bath house    In ancient tradition, the sweat house, by housing and controlling the awesome power of flame, became a sacred shrine. Early sauna bathers in Finland believed fire was heaven sent, and if fueled with choice firewood and tended to with appropriate ritual, diseases and evil spirits could be driven off.
    Perhaps another explanation for the sweat bath’s spirituality is its association with re-birth. The rejuvenating effects of the sweat bath, combined with its physical characteristics, made it a natural place for purification and rebirth rituals. The warm, dark, moist ambiance inside a sweat bath is easily likened to a womb, even the womb of Mother Earth herself. A stressed bather climbs into the confines of the sweat bath, assumes a fetal position (especially in the smaller, more primitive baths), sweats out physical and spiritual impurities and emerges refreshed, cleansed… and reborn.
    Because of these re-birth qualities, rites of passage were invariably connected with sweat bathing. Cleanliness is next to godliness, and close to God is a good place to be when an individual passes from one stage of life to another. The sweat bath prepared bathers for the rituals that attended birth, adulthood, marriage and death rites of passage; times when awe of the unknown was highest.
     When a boy reached puberty among the Thompson Indians of British Columbia, he entered the sweat bath to pray to the “sweat bathing Grandfather Chief.” He prayed that he might be strong, brave, and agile, a good hunter and fisherman, lucky and prosperous.
     Islamic women went to the hamman, the middle eastern sweat bath, three times during many days of wedding ceremonies, attending the final rinsing bath on the eve of marriage.
     Russian mourners would heat their sweat bath in order to warm their living souls and, by projection, the souls of the deceased.
     Sweating helps to regulate our critical body temperature, cleanses the skin and helps to rid our body of waste and toxins. The skin is our largest organ and is often called the third kidney because of its important role in elimination and it is more complex than the kidneys or any other organ except the brain. Properly cared for skin is better able to resist infection, protect our body and regulate body temperature.
    As well as regulating body temperature and excretion, sweating gives us protection from environmental hazards by diluting harmful chemicals and discouraging the growth of infectious microorganisms. Our skin is an anatomical barrier that protects us from pathogens and damage. Skin is an important part of temperature regulation with a blood supply that allows precise control of energy loss. Our skin is a semi-permeable barrier and controls the evaporation of fluid. Aesthetically, others see our skin and assess our mood, physical state and attractiveness.

hot tub




Blessings of Winter

Enjoy a Hot Soak at


Well Within Spa




Relax and enjoy
the healthful pampering of Massage
and Skin & Body Care Treatments

We at Well Within Spa would like to wish
you and your families a wonderful holiday season! 
May peace and joy fill your winter days

Hand Massage



Morning Bliss
— 10am to 12 Noon — 
Enjoy $10 off Massages
Monday thru Friday only 

Together Wednesdays
Weekly Special for Two
In Our Doubles Massage Room
10am to 10pm 
Bring a friend or loved one
for two 50-minute massages plus
50-minute hot tub and sauna
for two… Special $205
— Wednesdays only —






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available for all services

Give your loved ones and friends the gift of
relaxation and rejuvenation at Well Within Spa

View Our Gift Certificates

 Our Wonderful Natural Skin & Body Care Products
make delightful gifts for the holidays  


Art Exhibit at Well Within Spa… 

Enjoy our current art exhibit of amazing colorful mandala drawings by
Sarah Juniper Greene, through the end of December. Her intricate detail and symmetry will draw you into her sacred art of freehand
transpersonal drawings which she calls “portals.” 



Pearl in Bamboo‘The Well’ Spotlight… 

Our Massage Therapist Pearl Jones

PEARL is a new face to the Well community, joining our team this last summer, and gaining a following of regulars already. Her highly sought after set of skills will leave you feeling relaxed and ready to see her again.
    Pearl is native to Santa Cruz, and second generation Massage Therapist. Graduated locally from Cypress Health Institute in 2011, she has spent nearly a decade practicing massage and becoming the intuitive healer she is today. She brings pure love energy into all of her sessions, infusing physical touch with positive energy flow. Specializing in Deep Tissue, and using tools such as, Swedish, Chakra-clearing, and Polarity energy work. Pre-Natal sessions are among some of her favorites, as she gets to soothe two souls at the same time. 
    On her time off, Pearl enjoys adventuring about our beautiful community with her husband and 3 sons. After all of her years in Santa Cruz, she still finds new treasures to be experienced. Change and newness are joys in life.