The winter solstice, which falls on December 21 in the Northern Hemisphere, is a deeply important day, both from a spiritual and celestial perspective. It has the longest, darkest night, and represents the moment before the sun begins a new cycle in the sky, shifting from the waning phase from fall through winter to waxing again into spring and summer.
I know a lot of people will be really happy to see the end of 2020 and although I am not normally a fan of new year celebrations, I will be part of those who cannot wait for 2021 to begin so we can all start afresh with a new sense of who we are. It has certainly been a tumultuous year full of difficult experiences and plenty of bad news. I strongly believe that 2021 holds new promise and change for all of us. There is reason to hope that the dawning of the new light of the sun will come with some lightening of our spirits. Still, though, many of us have lost a lot this last year.
On the winter solstice, the sun appears to become still in the sky, the word sol means “sun” and stice means “stillness.” So we are invited to pause and honor those losses before setting our intentions for the cycle ahead.
A Winter Solstice Ritual
Here is an intuitive ritual that I like to practice around the winter solstice. It’s not associated with any tradition in particular, just something that feels right to me. You are welcome to try it in your own way. You can add or subtract anything that feels right for you if you would like to practice this ritual too.
Pen and Paper.
A Glass of Water.
Any other Cultural or Spiritual Items that are meaningful to you.
Take a moment to centre yourself. You might want to take a moment to call in some form of protection around you and offer a land acknowledgment, honouring the sacredness of the land beneath you and the Indigenous people who lived on it first. When you’re ready, journal or reflect on the following questions:
How do you feel about the last Solar Year, the time that has passed since the last Winter Solstice?
What did you learn from 2020?
What did you lose during 2020?
What are you Grieving?
What did you gain in 2020?
What aspect of yourself would you like to let go of in order to make space for the new beginning of 2021.
From here, you can write down a list of the things you would like to let go of to make space for the new beginning. Without burning it, cross this paper over the candle flame a few times to cleanse it.
Now place the glass of water in front of you. Journal or reflect on the following questions:
What do you hope for yourself in the coming Solar Year?
What in you needs to be Born or Reborn to help you move into the Next Stage of your Life?
What are your deepest wishes for the coming days and months for your body? Your Mind? Your heart? Your Home? Your Work? Your Relationships? Your Country? The Planet?
What do you truly deeply want!
If you can, distill down your wishes into a few sentences, and speak them to the glass of water. Drink the water as a symbolic act of taking these wishes and desires into your body to be processed. When this ritual feels complete, offer a thank you, to yourself, to the land beneath you, the protection around you, the earth, sky, water, and flame, and whatever else feels right. If you have a piece of paper with what you are grieving on it, you may like to safely burn or bury it to help yourself say goodbye.
All the best in 2021 and Happy winter solstice!