by Tara Pilaprat
The Winter Solstice (12/21-12/22) is what happens to mark the longest night and the end of a year’s Solar cycle. Then three days later on December 25th the light and days begin to get longer.
This time has long been honoured as a sacred and holy time as the return of the light brings the promise of new life, possibility as well as illumination.
So, how do you infuse the Winter Solstice into your life to create a long lasting ritual that celebrates the longest night (and shortest day) of the year – and align it to your divine purposes and highest potentials, at this time of new beginnings?
Well, I didn’t grow up with any specific Winter Solstice traditions of my own and found myself wanting to celebrate it and to get in sync with Earths rhythm.
I started by learning to observe nature around me on a daily basis, and I began to incorporate those observations and their meaning into my life, as the seasons turned.
1.) Do Yoga – perhaps some Sun Salutations, pranayama (breath work) and meditation, such as trataka.
2.) Light a fire or a bunch of candles and feel their warmth.
3.) Invite friends over, or don’t. Plan to keep it small. Serve a solstice meal and maybe dessert.
4.) Make a favourite dish, bread and dessert. Be silent and in mindful observation as you do it. Let the sound of your breath during the journey of the longest day become your silent path of true acknowledgment that this is the season of inward reflection.
5.) Do a clean up around the house and think of it as a cleansing. Wash your floors and kitchen sink with a magical floor wash.
6.) Ask for a dream before you go to sleep. Keep a journal next to the bed so you can write it down in the morning.
7.) Gather up Yule greens after 12th night and save them. At Imbolg, burn the Yule greens to banish Winter and usher in Spring.
8.) Begin a 40 day Sadhana (daily practice).
9.) Bake cookies or bread using cinnamon, a traditional spice representing the Sun.
10.) Stay up all night and watch the sunrise. Toast the Sun’s return with fresh orange juice or a mimosa and have a nice breakfast, and plan to then take a long winter’s nap.
11.) Create your own Hygge. The darkest time of the year is prime time for “hygge,” one of those Scandinavian words that translates somewhat akin to coziness. Hygge can be anything from playing a board game with the family in front of the fireplace, reading a good book curled up under a cozy blanket on the couch, or having a delicious hot chocolate, after returning in from the cold. And lighting candles – lots of candles – not so much to fight the darkness, but enough to make the most of it.
12.) Read about the winter and the Winter Solstice (myth, lore and ancient nature based holidays stories).
13.) Do a bit of journaling. Think about how you can rise in times of darkness and challenges. How to see the gifts in your difficulties? What have been your greatest celebrations and gratitudes this year? What have been your growth edges and challenges? How have you learned from these experiences? What do you want to leave behind? What unspokens, need to be voiced? What do you wish to amplify and invite in for the coming cycle/year?
This is an excerpt from an article in my Winter Solstice Issue of FXYWLF Magazine, check out the issue for the full article and more (link in bio)!
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About the Author:
Tara Pilaprat is a co-creator and teacher at fxywlf. She currently is writing a series of Issues for her Magazine, with the focus of the theme on the Wheel of the Year; creating a course on the 7 magical days of the week, called Slay; and a pile of magical books for when the time is right. She is able to channel esoteric concepts and understandings, so that they can be applied, experienced, and then taught (no longer just theory). Her focus is teaching ancient wisdoms as modern truths and daily practices. You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram and learn more about her on the website, www.fxywlf.com
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