Honoring the Darkness of the Winter Solstice: Rituals and Knowledge
* Southern Hemisphere Edition
We are now shifting into the energy of winter, a time of deep renewal through solitude and inward contemplation. The Solstices and Equinoxes remind us of the ongoing cycles of the world we live amongst. We, as part of that world, reflect these rhythms within our body, mind, and energy. Spring begins the cycle, Summer deepens it, Fall refines it, and Winter renews it so that it can start again. If we look around in nature, we see every plant and animal preparing for this shift. Trees have long lost their leaves and are preparing for the harsh winds of winter, relying on their roots to nourish them. Animals begin to slow down and conserve their energy, some hibernating the winter away. We, as humans, can choose to either go with the flow of nature or resist it. When we do choose to align ourselves with the natural rhythms around us, we make our lives easier and tune our energy into the universal frequencies.
In honoring the Winter Solstice, we accept our natural cycle and give ourselves the opportunity to renew our souls. It’s a powerful time for us to align with our own darkness. A time to look within to look ahead. Darkness takes on many meanings, but it is neither positive or negative. It pulls us inward, takes us closer to our unconscious mind and gives us time with our own energy. This time spent with our inner world allows us to receive information from the universe and ultimately from ourselves. We then emerge with a newfound sense of self and purpose, ready to refine our focus.
The Winter Solstice also ushers in a time when our intuition is heightened and becomes even more useful for making practical decisions. This enhanced inner knowing is the energy of Cancer, whose season begins on the Winter Solstice. Cancer brings us deep restoration and renewal of our being. On the zodiac wheel, Cancer is the lowest point and represents our most subjective thoughts and feelings. Align with the darkness to go into these places today and over Cancer Season. We know there is a light at the end of the tunnel of winter, but in the meantime, there is opportunity throughout the season of Cancer to develop a deeper trust in your intuition.
So how do we celebrate this day? Below are a few suggestions and rituals you can practice on the Winter Solstice. You can practice them any time during the day or night.
Celebrate the Quiet:
The Winter Solstice marks the longest night of the year and the most amount of darkness will experience in 365 days. Honor nature’s pull toward stillness and free yourself from electronics, loud noises, and even electricity. These things tend to scatter our energy, and we are able to focus more clearly without their influence. Use candles to light your way. Instead of relying on the phone or the computer for entertainment grab a book instead. You can also practice silence yourself, not speaking for the day or night. If you are practicing a ritual in a group trying speaking as little as possible as to not pull your energy outward, but rather leave it to travel inward.
Burn it down:
The Winter Solstice gives us a perfect opportunity to release unwanted energies. Make a list of all the feelings, thoughts, and even habits you want to no longer carry with you. Consider this a purging of your consciousness and energetic field. Write down your fears, your worries, your old programs, and your limiting beliefs. The quietness and darkness of the day will give you deeper access to the things which control you under the surface of your mind. Dig deep and bring them out onto your paper. Once you have them all written down, burn them safely in an indoor or outdoor fire. Watch the paper go up in flames. As it burns, thank the energy for serving you but let it know it is no longer wanted, or needed, in your energetic field.
Take a Cleansing bath for Clarity
Baths are a great tool to cleanse your energetic field and raise your overall vibration. Prepare a warm bath. Mix 10 drops of sandalwood essential oil, 10 drops of chamomile essential oil and 1 tsp of avocado, almond, or grapeseed oil. Add this mixture to 2 cups of Epsom salts and 1/4 cup of baking soda. Mix the ingredients in a large bowl, then place the mixture in your bath. Have a few sprigs of fresh rosemary and add them to the bath as well. Rosemary will help to increase circulation and remove stagnant energy. Sandalwood and chamomile will calm the mind providing clarity and peace, setting you up for a post-bath meditation. For an extra energetic boost, add in a few pieces of Bloodstone or Hematite to the bath for grounding and additional focus. Once you are soaking for a while, bring to mind three things which you are releasing into the water. Say them to yourself, then dunk your head under clearing your entire field. Repeat this dunking three times for each energy you are purging. Afterward, watch the water go down the drain, knowing that your unwanted energy is returning to the Earth for recycling.
The Winter Solstice is one of the most beneficial nights to meditate. Meditation will provide you with grounding, clarity, and access to your intuition. Spend some time sitting in silence and with your favorite meditation. You may practice either mediation from the Cancer Workbook or the Capricorn Full Moon Workbook. The Cancer Full Moon occurs the day after the Winter Solstice, making this an excellent night to prepare for her energy.
Whatever you choose to do, practice with the intention of honoring nature’s perfect rhythm of bringing you home to yourself. Be patient and honor any feelings that arise from this dark night, knowing they are only present for your evolution. Take time for yourself to recharge with one, or all, of these rituals and your inner light, will re-emerge with the breaking of dawn.
Cover Image via @becca_reitz