Always, always start with setting the space. Whether it is lighting a candle, hanging a wreath of evergreens or just sitting in silence for a while. Honour yourself, your connection to Gaia and Spirit, the celebration and get clear on your intention. After all you wouldn’t dash willy nilly into any form of creation would you?
Let’s explore some rituals to help you tap into this gorgeous energy, gain more peace and clarity and release whatever is not serving you. I’ve created a glorious guided visualisation just for Winter Solstice to really help you tap into the energy and the mysteries of this day and season.
Be Still, Be Quiet
Tools – You, a candle.
The minute I wrote that title I thought of the song based on “Christina Rossetti’s” poem – In the Bleak Midwinter.
If you don’t know this poem the first stanza is “In the bleak mid-winter, Frosty wind made moan; Earth stood hard as iron, Water like a stone; Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow, In the bleak mid-winter long ago.”
Yet for some reason this poem captures the energy of this celebration. It is a time to stop, stand still. So if you are willing (appreciating we are all very busy – as we tell ourselves), take some time to just be quiet. Turn off all the electronica, the TV, the cell phone, your laptop or whatever it is. Sit in the dark and just breathe and as you breathe welcome the glorious warm dark that allows you a place to rest and create, then as you breathe out invite a golden sunlight ball to illuminate what needs to be let go of. Keep breathing in this way and with those intentions and when you’re ready gently bounce up. Turn on the lights, light a candle and eat something sunny. An egg perhaps?
Release, Cleanse and Create!
Tools – Frankincense, Myrrh, Cedar, Juniper Berries or Sage, a candle, journal for writing in. Peace and quiet for 20 minutes.
Create a space. Just sit, light a candle and give out a blessing. Anne Hayman has a lovely one that I work with – “ Bless me on this holy day, as I honor the traditions of my ancient sisters. I hold space for myself + for all living creatures on this planet. I stand strong in this long night of darkness. I trust that the light returns. I see my own energy reflected in nature as I go within, only to emerge full of light. May the blessings be… And so it is!”
Then take a bit of time to write out to write what you release, physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. Where are you holding it in your body and how you will feel when it is released? When you’re finished writing, rip the paper up and place it to the side.
Then using Frankincense, Myrrh and Cedar (if you are using the real thing then you will need a charcoal disc to burn them on). If you don’t have these, no panic – use Sage smudge or whatever you have. Light this sacred incense up let it waft through the air and take a moment to think about all you have released. Then with the candle you lit at the beginning, over a safe container, light up the pieces of paper you ripped up.
As you watch the flames devour your darkness and releasing see it all absorbed back into the sky, the Universe, healthy, cleaned and transferred. .
Sit for a moment with the waft of incense around you and your candle burning and say to yourself – “Light above me, light around me, light within me, light below me. My light is my strength and my protection.” You have just welcomed the light back.
So now you have created a glorious, sacred space within yourself with this ritual. What do you want to fill it with?
Imagine yourself as fully connected to the Divine and the Earth, you are a conduit in the middle. With this glorious energy pulsing through you – what do you want to create? What makes you feel energised? What makes you feel vibrant and alive? How do you want to share your light with others? Write it all down. If you use cards and feel fully connected to them, do a yearly spread. If you want some help, let me know.
When you are done, place both hands on your heart and breathe long and deep. You have just done something that is powerful and changes energy in a deep, subtle way. Breathe in, breathe out and know, trust you are a delicious being of light and love. So it is, and so it will be.
Tools – You and the outdoors.
Is there a trail you can walk or a field or bank of snow you can lie down in? A perch that provides the perfect view? Perhaps it is the top of your apartment building or a rocky outcrop. Wherever it is, even it is in your yard, find a quiet place to just acknowledge and BE.
Create a Giving Tree
Tools – Food in the fridge, popcorn strings, a tree, candles.
This is deliciously easy and can be done on your own, with your partner or with your kids. Create a giving tree (this is where the idea of Xmas trees came from). Make some strings of popcorn and berries, apple slices or whatever you would like to do. I have done nuts on strings, apple slices covered in peanut butter embedded with seeds, popcorn and cranberry strings.
Take all your glorious offerings to the tree you picked, whether inside or outside in the dark and as you hang your strings on the tree whisper to the tree and to yourself how you welcome the light back so that there is more than enough abundance for everyone and every being. Stand back in the dark and revel. Then light your candles up and just take some time and appreciate where you are, your glorious tree, the offerings you made and the light coming back. If you want to burst into song with something like “Here Comes the Sun” by Simon and Garfunkel, then you so need to send me a video!
Invite People for Dinner!
Tools: You, friends or family, candles, food and a willingness.
This is a celebration time and what better way to celebrate than share food with others. Sharing food is an important part of any celebration, it is particularly meaningful during Solstice as it represents faith in the return of the sun and the harvest. So have a friend or more than one over for dinner! Light some candles, share your goals, intentions and what you want to “harvest” in the next 6 months.
Turn off the Lights!
Tools: You, lights and thermostats?
This is super easy, turn off all the lights in your home, turn off your furnace, radiators, , baseboard heaters or whatever form of heat you have. Open the doors and windows wide and allow the cold air to flood in and breeze through (I highly recommend you bundle up).
In that soft darkness sit and BE in silence for a good 5 minutes or more. With the combination of dark, cold and silence it cultivates a stillness in yourself. You may feel a tad wiggly or odd but just keep breathing.
I used to do this with the kids when they were younger (and this is also my youngest monster’s birthday) it was quite profound to see what came up and out. When you are done with the dark (and don’t run from it), go around and gently close the doors and windows, put on your heating supply and as you do send a little blessing out “As the darkness begins to retreat and light beings its return once again – I am grateful”.
Then light candles galore (this welcomes back the sun), sing songs, share food and stories and what came up. And most importantly relax, enjoy and celebrate! If you are doing this on your own, after you have lit your candles, put on music that makes you feel awesome. Move your body and eat something delicious that is not your norm and give huge thanks.
Walk into the Dark
Tools – evergreen boughs, candles, apples and again – a willingness.
I have done this one for quite a few years with my kids and friends and it is stupendous and delicious. The Spiral Walk.
A few days prior to Solstice we would go gather a truck filled with cedar boughs (keep in mind I do live on the side of a mountain). Then on the white snow we would create a spiral that you could walk like a labyrinth. In the centre of the spiral would be a tree stump covered with nature’s offerings – berries, shells, pinecones and crystals and a large candle.
The evening of Solstice we would all gather together and each have an unlit candle in an apple and the only lit candle was in the centre of the spiral. One at a time gently holding the unlit candle a person would walk the spiral and as they walked into the darkness, towards the light they would whisper what they wanted to release. When they hit the centre they would light their own candle and as they walked slowly back out of the spiral they would say what their creation, hearts desire, manifestation was going to be.
When they saw a lovely spot that resonated for them they would put their apple candle on the spiral and so it would go. By the time this ritual was done the spiral was lit up all over the place and then we would go inside, turn on all the lights and eat a meal and celebrate together. Have to say, every time we have done this as a family the spiral has been lit up all night and the centre candle has never gone out, no matter the snow or the winds.
Gift and Share
Tools: You, your stuff, large bags.
You’ve heard the saying “What is one man’s trash is another man’s treasure?” What better way to release and invite in the abundance that comes with the sun than releasing things you don’t need. Now I’m not talking about those tatty, ripped stained jeans – but what about that sweater you haven’t worn in years, those jeans that are lovely but you don’t like? Things like that. What about the food in your pantry that was given to you or brought to a gathering that you are never going to eat as it isn’t your thing? (For me I think of nuts as I don’t eat them).
So intentionally gather these things together and as you bag them up to drop off where they can be really used, set the intention of releasing for yourself and that you have created space in your physical life for more abundance and light and that your donations are welcomed and helping someone who will really enjoy them and appreciate them.
Be the Seed (or Bulb)
Tools: You, Seeds, Some dirt, A Bulb
This is a fun one to do with kids, especially if you are living somewhere where the snow has hit and everything is going to sleep for a while. I would do this with Hyacinth bulbs. Get a little pot, fill it with dirt (if you are using seeds such as beans you can use an egg carton). Gently take your seeds or bulb and whisper over them your intentions for the upcoming spring and then tuck them into the dirt. Give them a little bit of water and wait. Now why this as a ritual Jenny? Think about it, you are the seed as we head into the Winter Season, this is a time to curl up in the Earth (Gaia) and snuggle down and allow your desires to perk, grow and slowly put out roots, just as the bulb or seed does. It’s a fabulous physical representation of creation and everytime you give it a little bit of water or look over at it you know, deep in your core that as the seasons change and you get clear, the plants flourish!
There we have it! Easy, intentional ways of celebrating the Winter Solstice! Thus, wishing you a stupendous Solstice and a massive release and intention setting. Remember there is no right way, you just have to take the time, set an intention and do it. Oh yes, and don’t forget as some of you have asked – the Solstice special on Private Readings ends at midnight on December 21st.
Happy holidays to all of you, whether it is Hanukkah, Christmas, Solstice or none of those. May you feel peace, may you feel love, may you allow yourself to BE and explore the mysteries found in the glorious warmth of the darkness and tap into your light.