Forget stressful shopping and overindulgence and instead align with the energy of the season with some simple rituals to help you reflect and rebirth
For many people in our consumer culture, December means booze and cheese-based snacks aplenty, overspending trying to keep up with the pressure, and at least one emotional breakdown at the prospect of spending time with your family.
Yes, the festive season may be full of fun and frippery, but it can also be a challenging time when a lot of old "stuff" comes up. Could taking a pause to celebrate the Winter Solstice with a little reflection and connection be your new cup of eggnog?
At this time of year, it’s easy to get so absorbed in frantically shopping, downing mulled wine and tying up loose ends so you can actually relax at Christmas, that we can forget to notice what’s going on around us. Huddled in coats and rushing from the cold into centrally-heated homes and workplaces, we become numb to the rhythms of nature.
Creating deliberate touchstones in the form of rituals with personal meaning helps see us through the festive season with less angst.
What is the Winter Solstice?
Simply put, the Winter Solstice occurs at one instant on the shortest day of the year. It is the moment at which, for the Northern Hemisphere, the sun is at its lowest position in the sky.
The Winter Solstice is the peak of winter and marks the beginning of lengthening days. So darling, the light is returning, and slowly, slowly we can begin to emerge from our cocoons as the Spring peaks her head around the corner.
Observing the Solstices, Equinoxes and cross-quarter days of the Wheel of the Year can be a profoundly rewarding practice. Having a Sabbat to celebrate every six weeks means we stay more in tune with nature and are more consciously aware of the turning of the seasons.
Nature is our biggest teacher
"The Solstice offers an opportunity to recognise the cyclical order of the cosmos and remember that our lives are part of something bigger that is always changing and renewing."
This is a time where we can bring ritual into our lives, be in community and connect to nature. Having marker points throughout the year for reflections and intentions can set how the next phase of the cycle unfolds.
When we tune with the natural cycles of Earth, we can learn to flow and be guided with our own natural rhythms. Modern life makes attuning to the subtle changes and cycles of the seasons pretty challenging, but if we can, we might just help ourselves attune more lovingly to the subtle changes and cycles in ourselves.
The winter solstice is a time of rebirth, of letting go of what has been and embracing the new, the possibilities, the opportunities for growth, and the joy of being able to welcome back the light which is so vital to life.
This is a quiet and reflective time - can you embrace the darkness and see what waits to be revealed to you there?
Create your own winter solstice ritual
We may not think of traditions like our yearly Christmas office party, decorating the tree with baubles, or gathering with friends and family to gorge on turkey as rituals, but the act of performing any action or ceremony in a customary way like this is just that. The Solstice provides an opportunity to create a ritual that really serves your highest growth.
Here are some ideas to create your own at-home ritual:
'EMBRACE THE DARKNESS' RITUAL
This is a super simple ritual you can do at home, without the need for any fancy crystals or smudge sticks.
A RITUAL FOR BURNING AWAY THE OLD
This fire ritual can be done on your own or in a group and involves my favourite way to reflect - journalling.
How will you be celebrating the Winter Solstice? Let me know in the comments below.
The Curious Souls blog is a place to learn more about creating rituals in your life that serve you, connecting with your natural rhythms so life becomes easier, and living consciously so we can create a more peaceful world.