5 Simple Winter Solstice Rituals You'll Love
Celebrate the return of light!
The Winter Solstice marks the official beginning of winter. In the Northern Hemisphere, the solstice occurs on December 21 or 22 each year, while in the Southern Hemisphere, it falls on June 20 or 21. Astrologically, the Winter Solstice also coincides with the moment the Sun -- the ruler of the zodiac -- moves from one sign to another. For the world's Northern people, the Sun moves from adventurous Fire sign Sagittarius to the steady Earth sign of Capricorn. In the Southern half of the planet, the Sun makes its exit from adaptable Air sign Gemini and enters the nurturing Water sign of Cancer.
This is the dark night of the year, a day when the Sun appears to stand still. It's a time for light and laughter but also deep contemplation.
Use these Winter Solstice rituals to help you reflect on the past and release whatever you no longer need!
Fire is viewed as a source of purification and rebirth, and in many cultures, it symbolizes wisdom and knowledge. It's only fitting that performing a burning ceremony would help set you up for success. Write down the things you want to let go on pieces of paper: hurt feelings, lingering grudges, a toxic relationship, or anything else that has been holding you back. Burn each strip one by one, focusing your intention on setting yourself free from these emotional anchors. The "death" of these papers makes way for the "birth" of a more positive future. Just remember to burn responsibly by using a heat-resistant bowl in an open space!
Many indigenous societies use the smoke that comes from burning herbs to boost moods, ease stress, and rid oneself and the surrounding environment of negative energies. While this would be a beneficial ritual on its own, it would also be a great companion to the burning ceremony! Small bundles of plants like sage, cedar, juniper, and rosemary are often used for this purpose. You can find ready-made bundles in many new age stores, but you can also make them yourself from whatever happens to grow in your local area. Clear out negativity and dark energies by lighting one of these bundles and running the smoke from it throughout your rooms, over specific objects, or even on yourself!
Journaling is an excellent intention-setting practice because it encourages you to take the time to sit down and reflect in a way that often gets overlooked in the frenzied pace of everyday life. Grab a notebook and a pen and start writing! There's no right or wrong way to journal. It's simply about putting your thoughts into words. What did you do right this year? What do you wish you had done differently? What are you hoping for in the year ahead? What's standing in your way? The things you write will help you focus your time and energy on what's truly important you as you move forward.
Lighting a candle
The Winter Solstice marks the return of light, reminding you that just when you thought it couldn't any darker in your life, a light will appear at the end of your tunnel. Light a candle and focus on the flickering flame, allowing yourself to embrace the warmth and hope the glow of the candle brings. Imagine the flame as a symbol of the coming year. Consider how you want your own flame to grow and how you'll spread your light out into the world. If you are doing this ritual with others, light individual candles, then take turns sharing your hopes with one another.
Sharing a feast
Ancient solstice festivals were the last big feasts before food became scarce during the harsh winter months. Winter festivals continue today, complete with large meals, dancing, singing, and spending quality time with loved ones. You can host your own solstice soiree by cooking an elaborate dinner, serving wassail (mulled cider), and cutting loose with your loved ones. This is a time to eat, drink, and be merry!
No matter how you end up celebrating the solstice, it's an opportunity to start something new. Lay the groundwork for your future by considering where you've been, as well as where you want to go. The days get longer and brighter from here, so don't miss your chance to enjoy it!