Winter Solstice marks the shortest day of the year.
We honor this time, just as our ancestors have done since the beginning of time—to honor the cycles and seasons, and to remind us of the ever-changing flow of life that we are part of. The duality of spirit and Earth emerge to bring new life into the old growth.
Rituals give life meaning; they honor and acknowledge the unseen web of life that connects us all.
This is a four-part ritual to honor darkness, the light, and our bodies, which are our vehicles that bring us through it all:
You will need a candle, a journal, and incense or herbs that you can burn. If you don’t have any of those, no worries—I will offer alternative suggestions.
1. Meditation & shadow work:
>> Before we begin, find yourself a comfortable and supportive posture.
>> Follow your breath. Take a few easy, settling inhales and exhales. Send your breath to your belly and just feel. Sometimes the breath can feel stuck, and that’s okay. You can place your hands on your belly so you know it’s going toward your pelvic bowl. Feel the peaceful rhythm with you, close your eyes, and take five of the deepest breaths of your whole day.
>> Place one hand on your heart and the other on the ground, or on the support your body is on. Connect to the Divine Mother. Nature asks us to slow down, to listen rather than speak. Under the ground the earth sleeps and seeds rest. Nature teaches us that resting and drawing inward for a time, is present in all living things. Rest is necessary for growth. Here we gather strength in our bodies for the coming season. We dream. We undo. Like a tree in a winter storm, we go down and in.
>> Listen carefully as winter silence brings peace and serenity. Allow the quiet to pull you inward and into its embrace. Allow your breathing to be the only thing you are concerned with. We wait and rest in the divine darkness of winter, which isn’t always easy for most of us who are uncomfortable with the dark. We find ourselves in a constant rush toward the light, and we choose not to see with our inner eyes. Most people have a hard time facing their shadow selves, scared of what they will see—we assume we are worse than we think we are. But maybe we are more magnificent than we have ever imagined?
>> Winter invites us to look back and see the paths we took and in return gifts us wisdom and guidance. This season challenges us to surrender to our dreaming, to trust that the strength of the earth will support our weight as we sleep. It is out of the darkness that flowers bloom, plants emerge, and we find the inner truth about ourselves. It is time to do winter’s inner work.
>> Bring out your journal or sit in contemplation. I invite you to reflect on the times of the year when darkness showed up within yourselves or in your environment.
>> In what ways do you feel that you must forgive yourself? In what ways do you feel you must forgive others?
>> Write what you feel. It could be a single word that comes through, a few pages, or a picture you would like to draw to release.
>> When you are finished, light your incense and herbs to cleanse your space. If you do not have those, take three deep cleansing breaths. Inhale let, exhale go.
3. Intention Setting:
>> Light your candle and invite in an intention or hope for this upcoming year that will brighten and nourish your soul. It may be a feeling you hope to embody. If you do not have a candle, visualize an almond-shaped candle flickering in the wind. Take the intention and feel as if you already have it.
>> What does it look like in your life? Imagine you already have it, as if it’s already yours.
>> We now bring in light to encourage the sun to return.
>> Feel the warmth of the sun germinating the seeds of creation within you. Honor the warmth and joy it instills as it caresses your skin. Embody the light and let it illuminate all parts of you. Take three breaths here, observing the light, and being present with its glow.
>> Blow out the candle or take a deep exhale, sending out your hopes and dreams to the spiritual atmosphere so that Divine Mother can birth it all into fruition.
>> Place your hands on your heart in gratitude for this human experience. Feel held. You are becoming more, not less. From the dark, you become a radiant, heart-centered being.
>> You have done so well not rushing the cycles. The sun will return. You are free to rest.
>> To yourself or out loud we say, “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”
Solstice blessings everyone.
You can listen to this as a guided meditation on YouTube: