The festival of rebirth, the returning of the light, the shortest day and longest night.
This year to make it even more powerful we have a Full Moon too.
When reading about traditions surrounding the Winter Solstice you can easily see how the “Christian” Christmas festivities and New Year Resolutions have emerged. Ancient Winter Solstice traditions are steeped in gatherings and festivities, celebrating with family and friends, it is seen as a time to celebrate our kin; sitting and having a feast together. Along with music, song and dance, connecting with the element of sound; noticing how it makes us feel both physically and emotionally. Music can be so emotive, memories come rushing in as we hear a song or a tune.
With the return of the light it is a time to think of coming out of hibernation, although I can hear you saying Nooooooooooo! It’s still too cold and dark outside. Shaking your head wrapping your blanket round tightly, snuggling down. With coming out of hibernation comes a time for reflection, I did mine early this year, if you read my previous post. A time to reflect back on the past 6 months back to Summer Solstice or back across the whole of the year, sitting quietly, pause a while; reflecting back and acknowledging all that you have achieved, all that you have learnt. A time to look within, we learn from all of our experiences. As we come out of hibernation ready for our rebirth and the return of the light; we can begin to set our intentions, or Solstice Resolutions ; or as I prefer to call them our hopes, dreams and aspiration for the coming months. I also see this as a precursor of the seeds we will sow at Imbolc. An easy way to celebrate Winter Solstice and set our Solstice Dreams, Hopes and Aspirations is to sit quietly, either alone or in a circle with family or friends light a centre candle, then from that flame, in turn each light your own candle and say out loud what you wish to bring into your life. I’ve already done it twice this week in early Solstice Gatherings! So far I have two main ones, but who knows I’ve two more gatherings yet to come. I have set the Solstice Dreams of The Sacred Wheel – A Path of Exploration being a success with all who join us to have a wonderful time growing together and my second one is to write more poetry. My poems often start in my head during my dog walks. This morning as we wondered round the fields, checking in with the trees as I look up and noticed a cascade of lichen tumbling down a tree like a waterfall, surely a poem in the making right there. Sadly at the moment, my poems often go no further than a few lines roaming around my head as I roam around the countryside, my hope and dream this year is that more will be written down and my aspiration is to one day have my own small book of poems published.
Now too is a good time to begin a dream journal. My Womb Yoga Teacher, Uma Dinsmore-Tuli calls our dreams “the unopened letters to ourselves.” Lucid dreaming is becoming talked about more openly with the rise of Mindfulness and ways of living more compassionately. In many ancient traditions, including shamanic traditions before going to bed a question or problem is focussed upon with a request that your dreams will help you answer or solve the problem. When awakening quickly write down all that you can remember, this can in turn become art work, a painting, drawing, or poem or whatever form your creativity takes. The more you do it, the easier it will become. In this modern world we are all too quick to turn to Google for our dreams, journeys, and meditations to be interpreted. I would invite you to sit with it and see what it means to you. See how your dreams unfold, the answer might become clearer and bring new knowledge and learnings to you. One of my Shamanic Teachers whenever you asked him anything would reply “journey on it.” He encouraged us to find the answers within ourselves, in our inner knowing and wisdom, with the help of our allies and guides he was having none of the Google business!
During the winter months we tend to spend more times indoors in our homes and other spaces and these can become cluttered not only with material things, but with energy too. Winter Solstice is a perfect time to declutter and cleanse not only the physical but also the energetic spaces around us. Open windows, even if just for a short time, burn sage to purify and cleanse the spaces removing all the stuck energy; making sure you reach up and down into all the corners, nooks and crannies. Add some sound whether it be clapping your hands, singing, chanting, banging a drum or ringing bells, sound is another good way of clearing spaces, moving energy along. Add a drop of Lavender essential oil to the water you are using to wash your surfaces. Once cleansed bring in some greenery, evergreens such as holly have a strong connection with Winter Solstice. Why not gather some from outside connecting with Nature along the way, remembering to ask the trees and bushes first, leaving a little gift behind, just a strand of hair is all it need be.
A beautiful way to spend the Winter Solstice is to sit on a hillside and watch the sunset, this is something me and my brother did in the Lake District two years ago. We don’t see each other as often as I’d like with our busy lives and him being in Wales and me in Yorkshire. It was beautiful to spend this magical time with him, we both love being outdoors and to sit watching the birds getting ready to roost for the night, as the sun dipped down, throwing golden shadows on the land around us was bliss.
With Winter Solstice and Full Moon coming together this year, it’s a perfect time to cleanse your crystals. Wash them and then lay them out charging them in the powerful energy overnight, watch them glisten and listen to them sing with joy delighting in this magical time. Full Moon is also a good time for releasing, letting go that which no longer serves you. A Winter Solstice and Full Moon Ceremony can be easy to do again alone or with friends. Write on a piece of paper all that you would like to let go of this Full Moon. Light a dark coloured candle, you might choose a dark green one to link in with the greenery theme of Winter Solstice. The dark candle represents all that has been, accepting all that has happened. Then light the piece/s of paper and let them burn. Fire is a fabulous way of transmuting all that no longer serves. Have a “cauldron” (which can simply be a pot or bowl, it’s best to put a little bit of sand or mud in it) and drop your piece of burning paper into it watching it burn to ashes. If you are sat in a circle with others there is nothing like having what you wish to release being witnessed. Or if you’re prepared why not get some flash paper to write on and burn? I never get over the excitement of watching it whoosh and burn, it really is magical. Then once everyone has burnt their paper, light a white candle from the dark candle to represent the light of your dreams, blowing out the dark one. You can of course combine this ceremony with the Winter Solstice Hopes Dreams and Aspirations mentioned earlier.
Whatever you do, however, you celebrate this time of year. I wish you well and thank you for taking time out to read my musings.
Solstice Blessings, Yuletide Greetings and a Merry Christmas; wishing you a joyful, peaceful, healthy and happy New Year.
A final word, if you haven’t yet joined The Sacred Lighthouses on Facebook, our Winter Solstice Advent Adventure begins in The Sacred Lighthouses Circle on Friday with another opportunity of an offering from the two of us.