The winter solstice happened on December 21, at 11:28 a.m. this year. It is also known as midwinter. And, is an astronomical phenomenon marking the day with the shortest period of daylight and the longest night of the year. It is here, that the Northern Hemisphere is pointed at its furthest distance from the sun.
The term solstice comes from the Latin word solstitium, meaning ‘the Sun stands still’.
This is because on this day, the sun reaches its most southern position as seen from the Earth. The sun seems to ‘stand still’ at the Tropic of Capricorn and then it reverses its direction. It is also common to call it the day the sun turns around.
Where there is sun, there is light.
Since ancient times, cultures all over the world have certain rituals and customs meant specifically to welcome the return of the sun. The days after the winter solstice will get longer through the rest of the year. And, this is a cause for celebration!
Many of these strong traditions are celebrated by both natives as well as diaspora (Jews living outside of Israel) communities who have brought their traditions with them to other parts of the world.
Thereby, creating a melting pot of winter solstice celebrations across the globe.
After the solstice, the darkness wanes as more light emerges. The sun brings light, energy, and warmth into our lives. As the sun’s energy increases, there is a promise of spring and renewal of life. This in which brings hope for a bright and warm future. When we usher in the light, we are inspired to continue on our path. The winter solstice symbolizes the return of the light. And, in this case also known as a period after darkness.
It is a time to acknowledge our fears and remember that new life emerges from the darkness.
It is from our challenges that we grow and evolve.
The winter solstice is a time to acknowledge transformation and most importantly, be open to the possibilities that life will present you with.
Are you ready to receive?
Reflection During the Winter Solstice
During the winter months, the energy is quieter than at other times of the year. We can honour the winter solstice by slowing our rhythm, focusing inward, listening with intention, and contemplating what arises. It can be a time to reflect on what is no longer serving us and, to let those things go.
Acknowledge the past, both the pleasant and the challenging times. This is where we grow.
Think of areas in your life you would like to improve or expand upon. You may want to make changes in your career, relationship, health, or your lifestyle. Perhaps you want to find new opportunities or change your way of thinking. Whatever the changes are, the winter solstice is the time to plant the seeds of intent so they can grow and get ready for harvest in the coming spring.
Excerpts of a Winter Solstice Ritual
Light a fire or a candle in a fireplace if possible. An area that is safe to do so.
Use your fire to help bring your desires for the coming year into manifestation.
Write down the things you want to let go of on small slips of paper. These may include resentments, regrets, worries, fears, toxic relationships, bad habits, or any aspects of your life that are simply, not working for you.
One by one, place each slip into the fire and say out loud what it is that you are releasing.
Once every slip of paper has been consumed by the fire, take a moment to think of what you want more of in your life. These are the things you want to experience and achieve. It may be better health, to travel more, connect deeper with others, an increase in abundance, a new career path.
Or, anything you feel will benefit you in the coming year.
Share out loud your wishes for the future.