Winter Solstice Celebration
Winter Solstice has arrived. In the Northern Hemisphere, December 21st marks the Winter Solstice, ‘solstice’ is derived from the Latin words for ‘sun’ and ‘to stand still’, for at this time the sun appears to halt in its incremental journey across the sky and to change little in position. The Southern Hemisphere is at the same time honoring Summer Solstice so we see the perfect balance of light and dark.
“Hello darkness, my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again,”
Do you have a tendency to rush from Autumn to Spring to avoid the long dark days that Winter brings? Do you forget to tap into the beauty of this time of year? The unloved season of winter guides us to access the deep wisdom within as she teaches the need for withdrawal so you can be renewed.
By following the rhythms and cycles of the Celtic Calendar & Mother Earth, we can bring harmony and balance to our ourselves, allow ourselves a pause to review, reflect and release at the turning point of each season and know we can start afresh from any moment. We remember that Nature is always here guiding us.
We are at the mid-point of winter and at this turning point we begin to gently and slowly move out of darkness and into the brighter days (slowly as it’s not until Imbolc that we’ll be blooming into the first taste of Spring). We are acknowledging the return of the light and the hint of new beginnings, a new cycle for us to embrace and co-create.
Honor the Darkness of Winter
The Winter Solstice has traditionally been a time to honor darkness and to journey deep within to reflect, restore and nourish from the inside out. It’s time that calls us to be still and we often feel this calling deep within us. It calls us to slow down, to stand still, to let go and embrace this moment. Easier said than done, when the outside world is calling you to keep busy!
If we look to nature, animals hibernate to conserve their energy, plants are busy deep within the darkness of the soil and it’s not really to Imbolc where we see the first little lambs leaping around and the sleepy heads of the bluebells and snowdrops appearing from the ground, that we begin to truly sense the awakening from slumber.
The beauty of winter is we can use this time to travel within, go deeper into our inner world so we can get a sense of our dreams, visions calling to be birthed in the following cycle. If we don’t pause to review, reflect and integrate we often end up carrying forward the ‘baggage’ that we no longer need, that is weighing us down and preventing us from experiencing our full expression in the world. This is the perfect time to weed out what isn’t working for you and focus your attention on what you are calling in. By reflecting and releasing, you are creating space for something else – new opportunities, fresh ideas, supportive ways of being, empowering habits etc…your dream seeds.
We all have seeds within us. I love the quote “You are never given a dream without also being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it, however.” by Richard Bach. It reminds me that we have the seed of our dream already within us as much as we may doubt it. We can learn to nurture it, tend to it and give it time to grow so it can eventually rise above the soil and bloom towards the light.
A Time for Gratitude
Winter Solstice is also the perfect time to be grateful for all the things, people, events, challenges that have got you to where you are. There is much power to be able to sit with the parts, patterns and beliefs that are limiting us but give thanks to them for the work they have done i.e. these patterns are trying to keep you safe but they might no longer be needed. Take time to thank them and let them know that you are ready to let them go.
Celebrate All of Life
Celebrate all that you have achieved this year and I don’t just mean the external accomplishments but also the challenges you’ve moved through, the openings you’ve navigated, the new experiences you gained, the kindness you’ve extended to yourself and others… the things that we often forget as we’re trying to accumulate the outer rewards. Celebrate all of you.
The Beauty of Darkness
The Winter Solstice, the mid-point of winter reminds us of the darkness as well as the return to light. It is the darkness that people fear. The main words associated with darkness is depth, shadow, unknown, pain, hurt, the abandoned parts of self, silence, go inward, endings, transition… the parts where we have not allowed our own light to shine out of fear. And of course, death. For me, the light and the dark as equally powerful and beautiful. They are a natural part of life. The winter reminds us that we may be afraid of endings but sometimes we are also afraid of new beginnings. We forget the cycle of life, death and rebirth. We get stuck in a certain part of the cycle or we are drawn to try stay in the ‘high’ of life. Can you look over the last year and see where in the cycle of life, death and rebirth you flow and where you resist or get stuck? Keep an eye on the year ahead to see this pattern as it plays out again and invite yourself to enjoy the highs and to sit gently with the lows. Begin to know if you get lost in the lows or stay too long in them (remembering we also can’t rush our way out of the depths either). If so, what support do you need so you can move through it with grace and ease? Begin to see if you cling to the highs and find it hard to surrender, to let go and let things come to a natural end. If so, what support do you need so you can learn that in letting go you are creating space within and all around you for new potential to spring forth?
Suggestions to celebrate the Winter Solstice
- Make an altar with special things you have and things from nature that make you think of and feel all the different aspects of winter. Each morning light a candle and give thanks for this time of year and what it is offering you e.g. ‘I give thanks for taking time to be still’ or or ‘I let go of XYZ to enable me to rest and fill my inner well’.
- Have a bath cleanse. Fill up a bath with warm water and light some candles or incense around the bath. Add dried / fresh herbs / essential oils like lavender, sandalwood, chamomile (whatever resonates with you) to the bath. Cleanse yourself with sage or rosemary from head to toe before stepping into the bath. As you cover yourself in the water, imagine being purified. Bring to mind all the old and unnecessary thoughts, beliefs, patterns and feelings. See them being washed away. Gift your fears to the winter solstice and ask for them to be re-birthed into something new and positive. When complete, drain the tub water out completely and discard the herbs outside gifting them to Mother Earth and giving thanks.
- Meditate on the year that has just passed. Take a pen and paper, and write down all the things that come up that you would like to bid farewell or move on from this year. Maybe starting with ‘I now release…’ and allow it all to flow from your heart rather than you head. Now meditate on the year ahead, allowing yourself to visualize everything you would like to come to pass. Take your pen and paper and write down all your hopes and dreams for the coming year. Maybe starting with ‘I now invite….’Take a lighter or match and burn the two pieces paper, to symbolize these energies being transmuted and released into creative energy and passion for your dreams and wishes.
- Chant ‘Light within me, Light above me, Light below me, Light around me’ and feel into the light within you. See it shining from your heart above you, below you, behind you, in front of you and all around you. Acknowledging the light being, the divine being you are.
- Visit a sacred site to honor the Winter Solstice. Newgrange is aligned with the Winter Solstice or you could watch it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTLbEpP-S20