Bring In the Light: Celebrating the Winter Solstice
The winter solstice was once a highly regarded and celebrated time of year. Now for many of us, it either goes by unnoticed or is considered the first day or winter or midwinter. Yet there is a very spiritual meaning to the winter solstice that can assist you in spiritual growth, with new beginnings, and to walk your spiritual path. Here is what the winter solstice is about.
What is the Solstice
Two times a year our planet experiences what is known as the solstice. It marks the coming of either longer days or shorter days.
The earth orbits around the sun on a tilt. For half of the year, the northern hemisphere is tilted toward the sun and therefore more exposed to it. Giving us summer and making the days longer and the nights shorter.
Whereas the other half of the year, when our planet rotates around the other side of the sun, the southern hemisphere is tilted toward the sun. At which time they experience the summer season with longer days and shorter nights.
The winter solstice marks the point in time when the sun is the lowest in the horizon and we experience the least amount of sunlight for the year. This is when, whichever hemisphere you are closest to (Northern or Southern), is facing the furthest from the sun. In fact, around the time of the winter solstice, the areas around the pole of your hemisphere will not even have sunlight at all. The closer you are to the pole the less daylight you will have.
The winter solstice occurs for those in the Northern hemisphere around the 21st of December and for those in the Southern hemisphere around the 21st of June. If you are interested in more details of what the winter solstice is and how it works I recommend reading this article, A Short Scientific Guide to the Solstice, on Vox which explains it well and has many beautiful illustrations to help explain how it works.
Significance of the Winter Solstice
In a way, the winter solstice is the new year. It is the mark of cosmic winter. Where everything has retreated into hibernation, the old growth and remains of life have blown away in the fall winds, and the days are the darkest and the shortest they will get.
Yet the significance of the winter solstice means so much more than that for many. Once the winter solstice is complete the sun begins its ascent back toward us, bringing with it life. It is a rebirth of nature, of Mother Earth and of our own bodies and souls. It is the beginning of new life, fresh growth and represents hope for prosperity and abundance in the year to come.
A Time of Transformation and Hope
As we experience the winter solstice, we are at the darkest time we will experience for the entire year.
The earth has been ebbing away on its descent toward the opposite hemisphere giving light, warmth, and life to the earth where it touches the most. Leaving us in the cold, dormant fall and beginnings of winter.
Life has long since faded away and hidden from sight where it lays in wait for the sun to return and draw it out of hibernation.
The leaves, grass, flowers,
The sun that has become lower and lower in the sky showing itself less and less finally hits the point where it appears to stop moving before reversing its descent back toward us.
This return of the sun marks the coming of more light, longer days, the reawakening of nature, and eventually the reemergence of life that fills our environment with beauty and provides the food that will nourish our bodies.
A time we will begin to emerge from our own hibernation of warmth and safety within our homes and begin the pursuits of outdoor life, work, recreation, and enjoyment.
Once the days start getting longer and the sun appears higher in our sky the hope for the many good things that will come from the year also grows in intensity.
The winter solstice marks the moment the sun will begin its return to us. Carrying the promise of light, rebirth, and positivity. Not only for nature but the chance at transformation and rebirth within each of us.
United in Love, Life, and Light
The winter solstice is the moment that a new pursuit toward life, hope, prosperity, and abundance begins for us and the nature that surrounds us once again. A new year full of hope, promises, and potential. Yet as the sun begins to reemerge and stay longer in the sky, those on the other side of the world experience the opposite.
Their days becoming shorter and nature preparing for its descent into hibernation. It is the ultimate in loving and unconditional shared experiences between the people of the earth. Our deeper connection to the earth and all its people.
When it is time for our days to become shorter, we begin to push the light to the other side of the earth so the people, nature, and life have the opportunity to grow and prosper until once again they begin to push and share the light with us.
It is the same light of love, inclusivity, and life that is shared between all of us. Connecting us all.
Increases of Positive Energy
In Feng Shui, light is believed to be the embodiment of positive energy. So as the days become increasingly longer the hope for what life will bring becomes clearer. As does the positive energy surrounding us and propeling us to accomplish more, be more and attain higher levels of purpose.
How to Celebrate and Prepare
Throughout the world, there are many people who celebrate and honor the winter solstice.
In Europe, many people gather at Stonehenge where during the Solstice the sun lines up perfectly through the structures.
Pagans celebrate this time by burning the Yule log and having feasts and ritual celebrations.
The timing of the December solstice and many of the pagan traditions highly influence the celebration of Christmas for Christians.
Native Americans celebrate Grandmother Earth through ritual dances, songs, and celebrations.
In Iran, the winter solstice is celebrated with family and feasts.
All over the world, many such celebrations occur.
Yet no matter who you are, where you are or what race, culture or religion you are, the winter solstice carries an energy that can be celebrated and honored. A universal celebration shared between all living things on the planet.
It is a wonderful time to reflect on and celebrate our connection to the earth and all living things that share this planet with us.
Although the winter solstice is usually recognized and celebrated for the entire day, the actual event of the solstice occurs at a very specific moment in time. Occurring when the sun is directly over the Tropic of Capricorn.
At this specific time, the sun appears to stand still which gives the solstice its name. Originating from the Latin word
Otherwise, there are many ways you can honor this time of year and help bring in the positive, joy and hope of the light that is working its way back into our lives.
A Time for Cleaning and Clearing
Outside the winds, people and animals have cleared away the remains of life from last year. All now that remains is a vacant surface ready to nourish and support the life that is on its way.
Honor this time, bring in the new season and prepare for the new life and experience that await you by taking time to clean and clear out your personal environment.
Spend some time cleaning out the spaces in your home that tend to get neglected. Let go of things that you no longer need, use or love. Open and clear out your closets and storage spaces. Clean the corners of your house that gather dust and dirt and trap the old.
Create a clean slate in your environment in order to make room for the fresh, new positive energy to flow through your home and environment.
Release the Past
The earth, sun, and atmosphere give all they have to support and nourish life on this planet. Mother Nature provides exactly what all life needs to flourish and thrive. She respects life on this planet, but she is also aware of the need to let go of that life when its season comes to an end.
All of nature, every plant, flower, and tree play an important role and is necessary during the span of its life. Yet there is a time when it must be released so that new growth can emerge.
Mother Nature knows she must release and let go of the past in order to make room for life and new experiences. Keeping the old dried and dead petals of each flower
Just as Mother Nature must release the life she once nurtured so lovingly, so must you be willing to let go of your past that can no longer serve its purpose in your life. Past experiences, losses, old thoughts and feelings are part of an older version of you.
These aspects of you have served their purpose and can now be sent away to be transmuted and transformed into something more than they could be if you hold on to them. Releasing them makes way for new life to grow and thrive within you.
Spend some time this winter solstice clearing away that which no longer serves you. Reflect on past thoughts, experiences, and feelings that may be holding you back and create a willingness to let them go.
Give your past the love and respect it deserves. Thank all parts of your past for the good they have served then release them to God. Create an internal clean slate and be open to the possibilities the future holds for you.
Honor the light within
The winter solstice is about bringing back the light. Take the time to honor your connection with the light that is to come and the light that is within you.
Prepare for the coming year
Just like we create resolutions for the New Year, the winter solstice is a wonderful time to prepare and plan for what you want to accomplish in the coming year. Create new goals and positivity-oriented resolutions that will help you grow in life and in spirituality. Be sure they are created and based in love, light, and hope.
Light a candle for each of your hopes and dreams for the coming year. Or you can have each member of your family light a candle to honor their goals going into the next year.
Let yourself be filled with hope and joy going forward.
Reflect on Your Universal Connection
Reflect on your universal connection and the collective. We are all one. Regardless of culture, religion, race or orientation, we all experience this day. We share the light between hemispheres of the earth. The southern hemisphere sends their light to the north and the northern hemisphere returns the light at the summer solstice. Honor those who are releasing their light to give it back to you.
Take some time to meditate and feel your connection to all people on the earth. Think about all the people who may be doing what you are doing in that very moment.
How many people at that moment, across the earth, are meditating at the same time as you? Feel the connection between the millions of people across the hemisphere of the earth who are also experiencing the winter solstice. All the other lightworkers, parents, spouses, sons and daughters out there with thoughts, feelings, and experiences just like yours.
Let yourself feel the spiritual and energetic connection we all have with each other.
Honor your connection to the earth
Reflect on your connection to the earth and the universe. Practice being grounded and in touch with the earth and your roots. Walk barefoot on the ground or sit in meditation or in quiet reflection on the earth and nature. Focus on clearing your root chakra so you are stable and feeling safe and secure going forward into the new year.
Visualize energetic root-like formations coming out of your feet and burrowing down into the earth like the roots of a tree. See them grow and work their way down further and further until they reach the fiery center of the earth. Imagine these roots soaking up the orange fiery light of the earth and sending the energy from the core of the earth all the way up into your feet and working its way through each part of your body. Take a few moments to feel your connection to the earth and the life and power it gives you.
Take Some Time to Rest
With the coming of the light and increased activity, you will want to be well rested. As the earth is going through a restful, dark time it is urging you to do the same. This rest will refresh and renew you so you have plenty of energy to accomplish your goals and dreams for the coming year.
Our physical bodies produce melatonin in order to induce sleepiness in the darkness. So take the time to rest and relax and get plenty of sleep. There is no reason to go against your natural sleep cycle as it is in tune to the earth and its seasons. Go with the flow and relax now.
Affirmations for the Winter Solstice
Use these affirmations as part of your daily spiritual practice during the winter solstice and into the New Year.
- I honor the divine light both within me and without. This blessing of light shines within me now.
- I honor the darkness, the silence, and the peace that provides rest and renewal for the earth and for me. The blessings of this peace shine within me now.
- I experience love for myself, for the earth, and for all living creatures touched by the divine light. The blessing of love and light shine throughout my entire being now.
- I send blessings of love to all beings on earth. The blessing of love shines in me now.
- I move toward the warmth and compassion of divine love and light. The blessings of the divine shine through me now.
- I AM willing to let go of anything in my past that no longer serves me. The blessing of renewal shines through me now.
- I AM willing to release any self-limiting thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. The blessing of rebirth shines through me now.
- I allow myself to be transformed and my past to be transmuted by the light. The blessing of divine transformation shines through me now.
- I allow the light to wash away any fears I may have. The blessing of divine light shines through me now.
- I AM open and receptive to the good and positivity of life expressing through me. The blessing of positivity shines through me now.
- I AM open to new experiences and possibilities that are divinely guided. The blessing of divine guidance shines through me now.
- Abundance flows easily to me and through me. The blessing of divine abundance shines through me now.
- I AM open to both giving and receiving love, abundance, and prosperity. The blessing of divine balance shines through me now.
Do you have any thoughts, ideas or suggestions about how to celebrate the winter solstice? Be sure to share them in the comments below.
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