In mundane terms, Winter Solstice or Yuletide is the shortest day and longest night of the year. Yawn… But when we look through the eyes of the Ancients, this becomes a time of rejoicing and celebration!
Of what, I hear you ask? Well, nothing much. Just the rebirth and return of the all-powerful Sun!!
Our ancestors would revel in the knowledge that soon the warm days of spring would return, and the dormant earth would reawaken to gift us with abundance. Just like magic.
In fact, they were so in awe of and inspired by the cycles of the Sun and Moon resulting in the seasons, that sacred places such as Stonehenge and Machu Picchu were designed to honour and track these celestial wonders.
Although I’m very much a summer-loving witch, Winter Solstice is an incredibly powerful event in my sacred self-care journey, and none more so than this year as it’s energy will be amplified with a solar eclipse!
I liken the energy of this time of year as to that of the Dark Moon phase on steroids; a rebirth and new beginnings. In fact, the Ancients referred to it as ‘The Renewal’, a celebration of the return of light after the longest night.
I embrace this sacred time to go within and reflect on the year past, indulging in restorative activities, especially journalling and meditation, and minimising outside noise so as to heal in the stillness. No more electronics for this little Katie-witch after today’s post!
By spending time in contemplation of days gone by, I can set my sails on a new course or recommit to an intention already made. Blockages and obstacles to living as the best version of myself in a life I adore become apparent through the guidance of the Goddess and Universe that I actively seek through prayer and connection.
Incorporating witchy correspondences into my day-to-day life brings me huge joy, comfort and peace of mind. I’m a bit of a ritual-fiend if the truth be known! From my outfit and makeup, crystal and candle choices, there’s always something there to remind me of the intentions I have set. So here are some of the elements I will be bringing with me today…
Herbs & Flowers
blessed thistle, allspice, sage, chamomile, cinnamon, ivy, peppermint leaf, rosemary, nutmeg, lemon & orange peel
Incense & Oils
cedar, cinnamon, clove, frankincense, juniper, myrrh, peppermint, pine needles, sweet orange, spruce
And now to my simple ritual to design & create a life I love to live by bringing it altogether…
Unfortunately I don’t have access to a Yule log or fire pit so I’ll be working with my candles, however, the principles are the same, and you can adapt any or all of them for your purposes!
You will need:
- candles/fire pit/safe source of flame
- essential oils/incense
- a pen
- bay leaves
- a heat-proof dish
- a hot cup of tea!
So back to the candles! I’ve chosen midnight blue, silver and white but, again, make the choices that resonate with you. I’ve anointed them with frankincense and myrrh oils – what ritual would be complete without them?! – and a little dried sage for its cleansing properties.
Creating a private, quiet, uninterrupted sacred space for this ritual is vital. No darling puzz-cats, phone, electronics, other humans and what-not to disturb me please!! If you can comfortably be outside, that would be awesome but it’s not mandatory.
Come dusk, I’ll lay all of the above elements before me, diffuse my oils, clasp my crystals in my hands, light my candles, and it’s time to be hypnotised by the flame and slip into a meditative state. I offer up a little prayer to the Goddess at this stage to ask for her guidance but that is neither here nor there, or you may like to say an affirmation such as, ‘tonight, my soul releases all blockages and welcomes all the goodness headed my way!’
When my mind has stilled, I want to reflect on the year behind me; the good, the bad, the ugly. What is holding me back? Is fear restraining me? Where and when have I felt pure joy? How can I replicate that?
This is a ritual of decluttering mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It requires you to be entirely honest with yourself to get the best results. There’s no need to hide or be ashamed of this shadow self – your perfectly imperfect self. Only you and your higher power (if you have one) know the words you speak in your heart and soul.
Focus on love, understanding and compassion. Can you see a way(s) to be the person you want to be each day? To live every day in a life you just adore? Is there any action you can take to clear your path of the obstacles you’ve identified?
It’s during this questioning that I often whip out my journal/notepad and jot down notes on what is coming up for me. My memory is highly erratic and not to be relied upon!
When it feels to be the right time, I take my bay leaves and write a word that encapsulates each ‘nodule’ that came up for me during the meditation. Bay leaves are only little so I can’t waffle like I do when blogging(!), so a single word to capture a myriad of things is what I’m after (for example, fear).
Once I have these tangible symbols of what is holding me back from living my best life, I get to what I think of as the fun, witchy bit! Over my heat-friendly dish, I very carefully hold the bay leaf to the flame of a candle and while it burns, really focus on the inscribed word. I imagine a life without it and what will replace it instead. I call upon the setting Sun to take these impurities with him.
By symbolically burning what we wish to release, we are calling on the power of Mother Nature’s ultimate source of renewal – fire. As the leaf disintegrates in front of us, we are offering the Universe an incredibly powerful demonstration of our intention and what we want to manifest.
Gently blow out your candles and, depending on how long this has taken(!), enjoy your cup of tea and ponder the wonder and mystery of the life that is winging its way to you.
Do you do anything to mark the occasion of the Winter Solstice? I love hearing about other people’s ways of celebrating, so please share below xo