Happy Winter Solstice Wise Women!
The darkest night and shortest day are near here in the Northern Hemisphere.
This is such a celebratory time in so many cultures across the globe. There are many holidays and rituals connected to this period of time when Winter begins its descent.
This is the day the Sun is reborn. The days begin to lengthen and we are reminded, even as the days continue to be cold and ice finds its way to many of our home landscapes, that spring will come again and the earth will awaken.
The Wheel of the Year is based so much on survival and this holiday is no different. We gather with family and friends this time of year and part of this comes from the need to check on others during this cold season. Reaching out to a neighbor or loved one or friend to be certain they have what they need for the long winter months and that they are warm and well, was a necessity in the past. The other part is that celebration of the return of the light.
There are so many stories and fascinating history that resides within this holiday (as well as some of the traditions of Christmas) but I am not going to fill your inbox up with these at this time. (Perhaps I'll save that for a blog next year).
Today I want to offer you some ways to celebrate this season.
This year the Winter Solstice is on Saturday the 21st. This is the first day of Winter and the shortest day of the year.
Host a Story Telling Party-
Back in the days before we had television people would often gather and tell stories or sing songs. Invite friends to gather for a potluck and sit in circle. Take turns sharing stories or singing songs. It can be really fun to tell stories to each other especially under soft lighting and when cozied up in a circle.
Sing your heart out. Maybe you sing winter songs, or maybe holiday carols. Walk down the street and knock on your neighbors doors. Or ask people over to have a sing along. Either way, the joining of voices is not only lovely to hear, but also raises energy and builds connection.
Keep a candle or fire burning through the night
I do this every year. I have small glass lanterns that I set small pillars in before bed and leave burning outside (on the cement patio) through the night. I call it my welcome back the sun ritual. I think of it as a light to guide the sun back to us.
Welcome the morning sun after the longest night.
I am an early riser and see many sunrises throughout the year, but there is none quite as lovely as the one after the longest night. If it's not raining I go outside with my tea and sing the sun up (The Sun was born again today, we greet the sun's first morning ray, we sing and celebrate the light the sun is born the longest night. this song is by Diane Baker, from "Circle Round and Sing! Songs for Family Celebrations In the Goddess Traditions). Or dance the sun up and revel in energy this brings.
You can also light a candle with an intention of what you want to carry through this winter to nourish you.
We have several traditions within my women's circle. One that we have done off and on through the years is to sit in darkness and allow all the words that come to you about darkness to be spoken. When these start to fade and you have said all that comes to mind, light a candle and do the same for the light. Then spend some time journaling about this experience.
Decorate an evergreen, outdoors.
I recently saw an article about decorating a tree outside with edible items for the birds. I love this idea. Not only are you decorating an evergreen, which is a symbol of life in the midst of winter, but you are also creating an offering to the wildlife to help sustain them as well. This is such a lovely idea to do with children (or as an adult). You can smear pine cones with peanut butter and add birdseed, carve out oranges into bowls and fill with birdseed and string popcorn as garland.
What traditions do you hold Wise Women? What rituals do you choose to do to celebrate this time?