Tomorrow, the 21st, is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. It happens when the earth is tilted on its axis, farthest away from the sun, which means the official date of the Solstice changes each year. It usually falls around the 21st or 22nd. It is also the official start of Winter. You can read more about the science of it right here.
On this day/night we celebrate the rebirth of the sun. When we get through this night of long darkness, we have the promise that the sun is returning. It is a journey into darkness with a promise of the light at the end of the tunnel.
It’s always darkest before the dawn.
This year, I feel especially in tune with the solstice. I’ve been going through an intense period of personal growth and it feels like I am finally, finally, finally, coming out the other end of it. It’s time to take a deep breath, stumble out of the darkness, and embrace the light again.
It’s about honoring the knowledge that you need to discover about yourself, of honoring Nature and her endless cycles, the beauty of the darkness of both the world and yourself.
We all have darkness, sometimes we acknowledge it and sometimes we don’t. There’s a beautiful message in Brian Froud’s The Faery’s Oracle that I want to share with you.
“Most people tend to dread looking into their own darkness because we assume that we are worse than we think we are. But this isn’t always true, maybe you are greater and better than you ever imagined.”
This is so true. You don’t need to be afraid of the dark parts inside of you. Facing them and acknowledging them can lead to so many wonderful gifts for you.
Ways to celebrate.
I have one tradition. I listen to “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles and do an oracle card reading for myself as I write down my goals for winter. I also take time to fill out the Reflecting on the year before/Planning the year ahead sections of the Self-Love Workbook.
One way to celebrate the Winter Solstice is to observe the Sunrise on the solstice morning. Get up early, before the sunrise, bundle up and go outside, or find a window that allows you to see the rising sun. As the sun rises think about all of the things that light means to you.
The sun brings with it nourishment, warmth, and growth. What does that mean to you in the coming year? How can you embrace that? What things will make you grow and feel nourished while you do?
If you aren’t able to observe the sunrise you can always light candles around your house to guide the sun into the world and to celebrate the coming of the light.
You can also add a natural spin to the Solstice. How can you embrace and appreciate nature? Maybe you want to decorate a tree in your yard with hand-made ornaments made from things you find outside. You can make special treats for wild animals and set them out, asking for blessings.
Make the holiday your own, celebrate in a way that lifts you and makes you happy.
Winter Solstice is the perfect time to prepare a feast. It has a sort of symbolism as in all of the animals have been preparing and storing food for the oncoming winter. This is like a big hoorah before the coldness of Winter. You can also check out these Winter Self-Care activities!
If you aren’t into preparing big dinners, a traditional way to celebrate is to drink spiced apple cider, eggnog, and wassail.
The Winter Solstice overlaps with a lot of the Christmas activities. You can exchange gifts with your loved ones, decorate a tree, bake cookies, and hang wreaths around your home.
Decorating for the Winter Solstice is pretty easy!
I’m sure that we’ve all done it in one way or another. The staple to the Winter celebration is decorating a tree! You can also hang mistletoe and holly around your home. If you make a wreath you can even add little crystals to it. That way, when you hang it on your door you are repelling negativity at the same time!
As much as I think that Winter is a time for hibernation and reflection there is nothing wrong with celebration and I definitely encourage you to embrace every aspect of the season. Celebrate the knowledge that the Sun will return to the world.
There’s always room for light in the darkness.