In the Northern Hemisphere, December 21 marks the Sun’s shortest journey through the sky – giving us Winter Solstice – the longest night and the shortest day of the year. Celtic and Pagan in origin, Winter Solstice has been celebrated for centuries as a rebirth of the sun and a time to honour the winter’s darkness into the light of Spring’s awaited promise.
In Latin solstice is made into two words “sol” meaning the sun, and “sistere” meaning “to stand still.”
For a cosmic moment in time, the sun stands still, and the Earth pauses in gracious acknowledgement. This is quite a potent metaphor to embrace and a true antidote to our fast paced, consumerist, and productivity driven culture. In modern times, Winter Solstice can be a time to venture inwards, rekindle our inner fires, and reflect upon personal balance of work to play, light to dark, and giving to receiving.
Known as the cycle of rest and rebirth, Winter Solstice grants us an opportunity to align with this universal zenith and honour the wisdom generated in both the light and dark aspects of life – literally and symbolically.
We can light a candle, sit peacefully in the darkness, and softent to receive the simplicity of our breath. We can shift away from the mundane of our busy, overstressed lives by welcoming in rituals of peace, gratitude, and inner stillness.
When we bring awareness to our personal cycles and honour the seasons of the year, we are reminded that we too are connected to a universal rhythm that is wildly generative. Honouring the Solstices and the Equinoxes can deepen our connection to mother earth and allow us to cultivate more radiance from within. Seasonal Rituals become reflection points along our inner compass of life. Suddenly the multi-tasking mind can recalibrate into a frequency of clarity and positivity. The past gets cleared, and the future becomes spacious. We feel less alone, calmer and more aware of how connected we are to our environment -beyond the narrative inside our bubble of life.
This Winter Solstice you may want to create a personal ritual or share one with friends and family to discover the magic inside this cosmic alignment.
Like many of our ancestors did at Solstice, we can gather around a bonfire, or candles to welcome in the return of light. Set your intention to receive the light and warmth fully, fire is a potent teacher of transformation. Write down the habits, cycles, or patterns in your life that no longer serve you. You can burn the paper as a symbolic cleansing and visualize these energies leaving your body and mind. Then take some time to be in stillness and silence. Now write down what you want to bring forward in the coming year. Connect your intentions with how you want to feel- let this arise from your centre, not your mind. Give to the fire what you are welcoming in. Visualize yourself already there. If you can see it, and feel it, you can create it.
Winter Solstice is a time to give thanks to the sun for making it return once again.
It’s a time to take nothing for granted. Honour the farmers who grow your food. Send out warm blessings of compassion and love to your friends and family, to the earth and the sun for all the abundance you receive daily. Give thanks to the plants and animals for contributing to a healthy ecosystem. And know that by showing up and honouring the Solstice, you are aligning with countless radiant souls across the globe who are doing the same.
Winter Solstice Ritual for Amplifying Personal Radiance + Igniting Renewal
This can be done in a group or solo, indoors, or outdoors.
Supplies: Candle, journal, items from nature or crystals and seasonal plants.
- Arrange your altar in any way you feel inspired- be creative, there are no rules!
- Light your candle, and clearly state your personal intention.
For example: I ask for guidance in releasing overwhelm and stress. I am ready to receive a balanced, vibrant, and inspired life.
- Place one hand to heart and one hand to your navel centre. Soften your whole body, take deep exhales, and long inhales. Imagine your whole being a channel of light and compassion.
- Call forward your gratitude’s, feel them alive in the centre of your body. Call forward the release of what no longer serves you – or gets in the way of self-love and self-care. Cast out your prayers for the year coming and to those in need.
- Ask for guidance to transform challenging energy into energy that is transformative.
- Visualize a cocoon of light or the light of the sun embracing every part of you. Take long deep breaths into your centre and feel a light source glowing at your centre. Soften to receive this light and support.
- Allow a San Kalpa or a vow to your highest self to come through you.
Let it arrive in an “I am_____, I will _____. For example: I am light, I will honour this light as my true nature.
- Seal in the sacred energy present and truly thank yourself for honouring Winter Solstice and your true nature.
- Journal about your experience.
Winter Solstice Journal Prompts
Reflect upon 2022, list all your personal accomplishment, your perspective shifts, and the personal wisdom received.
- What seeds did you plant in 2022?
- What is growing in you now?
- What is releasing or clearing out of you now?
- Is there any current difficulty, stress, or repeating patterns in your life?
- If yes, what daily ritual or practice can support personal transformation?
For example: For 7 days, I will replace opening my phone in the morning with a short gratitude meditation.
- In what ways do you want to focus your energy in 2023? Choose one word, or guiding affirmation for the year ahead.