Hi, everyone! It’s time for the yearly winter solstice post! *This post was originally published on 12/21/2013 but is being reposted below with a few updates*
No matter what our spiritual beliefs, or what part of the world we live in, we all share the turning of the sun on the solstices. Today is Winter Solstice here in the Northern Hemisphere, or as it’s more commonly known, the first day of winter.
The Winter Solstice marks the shortest day of the year and the longest night, the beginning of winter when the earth is tilted the furthest from the sun. But it also marks the return of the sun. After this night, the days will begin to get longer and we’ll have the opportunity for a new beginning. The Winter Solstice has been celebrated since ancient times by various groups of people, and many of these celebrations have become linked to a variety of religious practices. Many of the Christian traditions around Christmas, for example, have been adapted from those traditional practiced by these people groups.
The Winter Solstice is a natural time for letting go and saying farewell. It’s the perfect time to release your resentments and regrets into the darkness, knowing they will be transformed with the return of the light. Renew your visions for the new year and remember that it is important not to judge yourself by “success” or “failure” in this past year but by the true quality of how you lived your life and whether you were a good influence on your world.
In the coming year, try to create enriching experiences for yourself and continue to look forward. See this as an opportunity to shape your life more positively, with awareness and intention. Dedicate all of your happy, joyful experiences to every living being that is able to share that good energy, and dedicate all of your painful, difficult experiences to uplifting yourself and others.
The Winter Solstice is a time to honor death and rebirth, the passing of the old and the slow emergence of the new. During this time, we should be helping one another through the dark, sharing with the less fortunate and being thankful for our past blessings and for future prosperity. Honor the natural cycles of our world. All of this is the spirit of the solstice, the season I celebrate.
This year for the winter solstice, I will be lighting some candles and reflecting on all of the things I’m grateful for from the past year. I will also be letting go of all the resentments and negativity that I’m holding. All of us who have lived through 2020 can probably agree that this could be a really helpful step for preventing so much negativity in the coming year. I want 2021 to look so much different and to be so much better, not just for me, but for the world, especially in light of this awful pandemic we’ve all experienced. So this is what I will reflect on tonight with my candles. If you’re interested in doing the same, it’s really easy.
Here’s what I’m going to do:
- Write down my resentments and regrets from this past year on a post-it note
- Write down my visions and/or resolutions for the new year on another post-it note
- Quietly reflect on the negative note, and then let all of those feelings go by burning the note with the flame of a candle.
- As I burn the note, I’ll begin to focus on the positive visions I’ve written for a new year and make a promise to myself that I will try to create enriching experiences and do all that I can to positively shape my life in the coming year.
Celebrating the solstice is very easy, even if you’ve never done it before or are just starting out in this journey. Here are a few other ideas:
- Greet the sun at dawn on solstice morning by ringing bells.
- Create rituals, have a feast with friends (pot-luck style is great), and participate in a gift exchange
- Create your own family tradition by gathering in a circle around candles. Each person can light a candle and talk about something they’re grateful for or something they wish for another person in the coming year.
- If celebrating with others, gather around a bonfire and have each person state what they would like to give up about the past and what they envision for the future.
- Lighting candles: Light a new candle representing each of the twelve months on the 12 days leading up to the solstice. Then light a center candle on solstice day, representing the return of the light.
- Contribute to wellness on the planet: donate food or clothing, meditate for world peace, or make a pledge to do some form of good in the coming year and then follow through.
Creating a meaningful celebration of winter solstice can help us cultivate a deeper connection to nature and family and all the things that matter most to us.
Happy Winter Solstice, everyone!