Happy Winter Solstice!
In the Northern Hemisphere, the Winter Solstice will fall between December 20th and the 23rd. In the Southern Hemisphere it is found between June 20th and the 22nd.
At this time of year, the sun marks a turning point as the light begins its return. The Winter Solstice marks the longest night of the year as well as the beginning of the return of the light.
Once the sun has set on this celestial day, the warming rays of the sun will continue to shine and grow longer and longer until the peak of the light on the Summer Solstice.
Thus, today marks the promise of the new season — the season of growth and rebirth from a long slumber. But for now, the earth is still asleep, the birds have migrated and some of the animals are still in hibernation. A slow reawakening occurs as the sun continues to grow in warmth and in light. The nights are long and daylight is brief, ushering us to stay inward for a little while longer.
Just as the animals huddle down in their beds, we turn inward for this time of reflection. Soon, a spark emerges, just like the light of daybreak in us all, providing a glimmer of the warmth to come. The Winter Solstice ignites a time of celebration, of merriment and joy as new hope is born in each of us.
This special season on the Wheel of the Year is a time to come together, to stay close to each other and bask in the light of happiness with one another.
The Winter Solstice marks the return of the light to the land. It is known by many names: Midwinter, Yule, Yuletide, and so many more.
The Winter Solstice marks the rebirth of the sun and it is pivotal in the turning of the wheel. The Winter solstice arrives when the earth’s axis is at its most extreme tilt away from the sun, which causes the days and nights to be shorter. This solstice recognizes rebirth, hope and celebration of light.
In ancient mythology, this is the time when the Goddess and the God completed their time along the Great Wheel and begin their dance again. Symbolically, the Goddess have given birth to the Sun God, bringing back light to the earth. After having shed the cloak of the crone, she and once again becomes a mother. And as with all mothers after birth they must rest and then She will reemerge rejuvenated — but not until spring.
For many people this time of year is filled with celebrations. There is much merriment with all the different holidays and festivals in this wondrous winter season. With the celebrations, we look forward to the future months and make plans as well as resolutions. There are many things for us to celebrate: our family, friends, health and the abundance of the world around us.
This time also allows us moments of reflection. This is a good time to consider what we are thankful for, who we are thankful for, and what opportunities are available for us. It is a time to be with people we love and care about and to bask in the warmth of love of each other. It is a beautiful balance allowing us to enjoy each others company, then allowing us the rest and reflection in ourselves.
A beautiful symbol for the Winter Solstice Sun is the Yule log or candle. This welcomes prosperity and the coming light of the sun into your home. This is also a great time to gather in your home. You can celebrate the season with song, with gift exchanges and sitting together to watch the sunrise.
You can add the outdoors inside with evergreen wreaths and decorate a tree with lights. You can spruce up your home by getting rid of items and sharing them with others. This is a process of letting go and allowing the new light to come in.
Allow more light to come in and spend some time in meditation. The following meditation can help you connect with your inner light, your connection to the divine.
Winter Solstice Ceremony: Candle Meditation
The candle symbolizes the light of the sun for the Winter Solstice. Choose a candle to meditate with, perhaps a bright color, like the sun: white, yellow or shades of glowing orange. The candle represents warmth and the promise of the days growing longer.
Prior to lightening your candle, make yourself comfortable. Find a warm and cozy place. Have a warm beverage available and think about what you would like this new year to bring.
Breathe in those thoughts and focus on one in particular.
Take a sip of your drink and focus on what that particular goal is.
When you are comfortable and ready, light your candle.
Say out loud what you intend for the new year, focus on the candle. What do you want to bring into the light? Say what you intend again. Focus again on the candle, say the intention that warms your heart.
Now close your eyes and focus on the image of the candle in your mind. Watch the flame grow with each breath. Watch the flame flicker with each exhale.
Each inhale grows your intention, your strength to reach your goal. Each exhale allows the goal to settle and become stronger. Breathe the energy into your goal and exhale your concerns as to the why and how.
Breathe in, and breathe out and watch your intention grow. Continue this breathing and visualization for a few minutes.
When you feel comfortable and the intention feels like it has set with you, like the setting sun, open your eyes and return your gaze to the flame.
Watch the flame dance and flicker and settle. See how your intention is now brighter and how its light has cast itself into the room. Take a few breaths to feel the light, the intention.
When you are ready, thank the light of intention and either let the candle burn out safely or you may allow it to set like the evening sun and extinguish it. Knowing that your intention is set and ready for the days to come.
With the Winter Solstice and welcoming of the sun. Some additional items can be used in your home in this season. Colors of red, green silver, gold, white and orange are abundant in our decorations and in the outside world. The earth gives us gifts of bloodstone, garnet, emerald, ruby, diamonds and clear quarts to remind us of the season.
Herbs scent the air with bayberry, frankincense, chamomile, mistletoe, ivy and rosemary. The earth is abundant with evergreens, oak and holly trees. We share warm drinks of cider and ginger tea, and eggnog with friends and family. While we eat wonderful baked goods and gifts of fruit and nuts.
May you find light in everyday and a new beginning with every morning.
Have a blessed Winter Solstice!
Elizabeth Seraphine and the Temple Team
(Article written by Lynne Devine-McDonald, Temple Keeper Apprentice
& edited by Elizabeth Seraphine)
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