Tonight at 2:23 pm PST (5:23 EST) we will experience the longest night of the year. I love this time of year as it always pulls me inward to my center and I love the unfolding that occurs when I take time to pleasure in the darkness before moving into the light.
The Winter Solstice happens when one of the Earths poles reaches its maximum tilt away from the Sun; when the sun is at its southernmost point in the sky.
Yule or Jol (pronounced “yoh-l”), is one of the oldest winter celebrations in the world. Yule is the Norse word for wheel and was the Norwegian celebration of light and rebirth of the Sun. These longest hours of darkness or rebirth of the sun hold powerful energy for regeneration, renewal and self-reflection. On these midwinter days in Norway the days of sunlight are less than 6 hours and it resonates with my heart that they would celebrate the coming of the light, as we all know the power of the Sun to bring us joy, warmth and a deep sense of hope.
Historically, in Norway the Winter Solstice was the start of an almost 3-week festival that ended on the Yule, which happened near the 12th of January. It was a time of drinking, feasting, celebrating, games and songs to bring in the new solar year.
Each season has it’s own rhythm and magic. The rhythm of winter is one of slowing down. It is the time when seeds are held within the earth and only internal germination is active. This is our call to move inward to find the courage and healing we need to call the seeds of our dreams forward. As we understand ourselves from these inner places, a deepening, a shift happens. Such deepening’s are not immediate, but come in small increments allowing us to find the alignment and clarity for our intentions.
Let us celebrate this darkness that opens us to the light once again:
- Walking the labyrinth. The goddess in the labyrinth goes back to the bronze age, however only between 20 and 30 labyrinths remain in Scandinavia that date back to the Viking Age. John Kraft shares, "What connect the labyrinths across time and space is not only their shared design, but also essential myths or legends as well as rituals associated with them. It is well-known that walking the stone-labyrinths had a magical purpose: It was generally thought, up to the present time, that walking the stone labyrinths in the proper way gave fortune and protection, healing and magical aid."
- Create a spiral or participate in a spiral walk such as a labyrinth. The waldorf schools celebrate this turning point by looking for the light within themselves through a spiral walk.
- A single candle is placed in the center of the spiral/labyrinth and lit. Each person/child walks to the center of the spiral and lights their candle from the center candle and then on their way out places their candle along the spiral. Once everyone has walked the labyrinth, the whole spiral is aglow with lights. This walk symbolizes finding the light in the darkness. It is the awakening of nature and ourselves. The spiral is associated with the cycle of rebirth, our spiritual journey and is found in shells, flowers, pinecones, fingertips and galaxies. You can create a small table spiral at home using the evergreen boughs or other plants or flowers.
- Place a candle at the center and then let each person add a candle to the spiral, again leaving a beautiful, spiral of light.
- Apples are used as the candleholders. They represent the seed that lies waiting patiently inside the darkness until it is to sprout, our hidden potential.
- Evergreen trees boughs are used to place along the spiral and symbolize the tree of life. Evergreen trees do not go dormant in the winter months and carry the regenerative power of life, nature and the seasons. They represent the sustaining abundance of life on mother earth.
- Beeswax candles are the symbol of eternal love and warmth and light the darkness to show that love is eternally present.
- Placing crystals, seashells, feathers, pinecones, berries, ,and oranges along the path symbolize the trifecta of plant, mineral and animal.
If you are interested in finding a labyrinth near you here is a link to a labyrinth locator
- Do a Solstice Eve ritual by meditating in silence or in darkness and then welcome the birth of the Sun by lighting a candle and singing chants or carols.
- Adorn your home with the sacred herbs of holly, birch, evergreen, ivy and pinecones and add in the druidic colors of red, green and white. Buy some mistletoe and hang it from a well used threshold and leave it there for the year!
- Create a wheel of the year and move along the wheel throughout the New Year using a pin or small homemade doll or animal spirit. This is a wonderful way to see that you do not stay in one place and that no matter where you are the shift is happening. Below is a wheel to guide you, but please make your own ~ it will hold a personal healing energy that will move with you as you pass through each season. Again you can add to the wheel as the year progresses, so keep it simple and place it on a wall or board or better yet, if you have the ability create the wheel directly on a wall in your home!
You can find many more visual wheels of the year at this link to get more ideas
- Bring in the light with our Ceremonial Solar Plexus Chakra Bath. Work with the energies of the Masculine Sun and the feminine energies of the Moon as she becomes full in Cancer on Saturday. Working with the third chakra, Manipura, connects you to your warrior(ess) giving you the ability to move forward with confidence from a place of power. Light your inner fire and connect you to your personal power and joy.
- Magical gemstones to work with are catseye, ruby, garnet, citrine, and bloodstone.
- Incense to use is cedar, pine or rosemary
- Traditional foods, mulled wine, eggnog, fruit cakes and nuts
The Winter Solstice is followed by the Full Moon in Cancer on Saturday morning at 9:48 am PST (12: 48 pm EST). Celebrating both the light/dark, feminine/masculine, water/fire, is here for you this year. I encourage you to use these next few weeks to really anchor your dreams, hopes and aspirations for 2019. Each day can be a celebration or part of your ritual. Here are a few ways to play with each day:
- Collect something each day for a vision board, be it a word, number, something from nature, or color. Place it on your board with your intention always being a part of the ritual.
- Chant the Kirtan Sohelia with Snatum Kaur each night before bed. This chant is called the Song of Peace and can help to stop your mind and put you into a state of meditation of no thoughts. It is a song of poetry to connect you to your subconscious. Reciting this before going to sleep works at a very deep level and sets the vibration for your night, for your life. To learn more about the song and words go here.
- Play in water, somewhere, somehow! Ocean, bathtub, river, lake. Even walking on the frozen ice is connecting. Snow is another version of water that can be healing. Water is life and connecting will connect you with your source, your gratitude for life and its blessing. Do something each day. Place new gemstones out in the snow or in water each night between the full moon and new moon and leave them till morning to catch the morning sun to connect the dualities that are in motion.
- For your altar use the colors of silvery blue or greys; gemstones are moonstone, pearl or ruby; and the essential oils of peppermint or geranium.
- And of course put out your Moon Water dearest moon sisters and brothers.
Each day the sun rises we have the opportunity for a new beginning, to see the light rise for us and in us. Let each holiday you celebrate support you in connecting to your mystery, your fullness, and your essence.
Sending each of you light and love,
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