The Winter Solstice: Darkness Has Its Uses ~ Shakespeare


This year the winter solstice takes place on December 21, 2010 at 6:38 PM.

[photo credit]

Here’s a quick lesson from Candle Grove.

"Solstice means standing-still-sun

Winter solstice is when…
…because of the earths tilt, your hemisphere is leaning farthest away from the sun, and therefore:
The daylight is the shortest.
The sun has its lowest arc in the sky.”

It’s a simple, natural phenomena that happens every year and has been celebrated by many cultures in a variety of ways. It’s original meaning has also been adapted by other cultures and religions who suit it to their purposes.

Selena Fox says, “Most of the customs, lore, symbols and rituals associated with ‘Christmas’ actually are linked to Winter Solstice celebrations of ancient Pagan cultures. While Christian mythology is interwoven with contemporary observances of this holiday time, its Pagan nature is still strong and apparent.”

[Photo Credit: Me]

This year for the Winter Solstice, I am hoping to begin a tradition through ritualistic practice, meditation and worship that I will be able to sustain in the coming years. Perhaps this may differ from my summer solstice celebration and perhaps depending on where I am, I will do different things each year. Still, I want my own tradition.

Some of the ideas I’ve been floating around are…

  1. The week leading up to it, I want to burn incense and oils. Scents that seem perfect for this time of year are oak, holly, lavender, ivy, rosewood, pine, cedar and rosemary.  The oils I’ll burn are sandalwood and tobacco flower. (The Little Alchemist on Etsy has a Winter Solstice Incense. I love her recipe and may even buy her concoction just because.)
  2. I will adorn my home with natural elements. Herbs. Sticks & Branches. Flowers. Winter Berries. Bundles of cinnamon. Rather than purchasing decorations…although I never do, I want to start incorporating more natural elements in my home decor. It’s a perfect time to start. (Megan Monique was inspired to decorate with natural elements and have been chronicling her adventures.  She inspired me.)
  3. I want to explore my body’s relationship to earth. More specifically, during the season I want to be intention about my body in a winter way. I recently wrote a piece on Loving Your Body in the Winter but I want to find even more ways to relate to my body and to relate to winter. I want to release tension.
  4. The day of and the week leading too, I want to lit a candle for the winter solstice. I light candles for Maura, James, Tinu and my Grandma. (see side tags to read about them each) I light candles for peace and meditation. I light candles as a soothing remedy to the harsh lights everywhere else. And for this, I will light a candle too.
  5. During the week leading up to, on the actual day and throughout winter I will spend time writing about the winter. The seasons usually affect the tone of my writings and how my art manifest itself and I will intuitively take note and make mention of how this happens.
  6. I will develop a winter solstice meditative affirmation. This will articulate itself in my journal. This will be something I reference when the cold, bitter days take grip of my sanity.
  7. I will create a winter altar. I already have specific places in my home for this but I want to “winter solsticize” them. This means I’ll incorporate my natural elements decor. I’ll print out my winter solstice affirmation and place it there. I’ll light my candle there.
  8. I will spend time researching and learning about winter festivals, customs, rituals, traditions and myths. I’ll spend the days leading up to gathering my research and on the day of, I will read my favorite bits from everything I’ve gathered.
  9. I will begin articulating my goals via the Sacred Journey Journal on the day of the Winter Solstice. This is one of my favorite things. It takes me a few days to complete but its a method I’ve used for the last few years that helps me to develop my thought process for the coming year. The winter solstice seems to be the perfect time to do this. This is when I articulate my heart calling and other focuses for the year.   Check out this video to catch of glimpse of what I’m talking about.

So these are some of the things I have begun or will continue to do as the Winter Solstice approaches and as the winter begins to show itself to New York city. We’ve already had our first snow. I don’t dread the winter. For me, its nature”s intentional way of telling me to slow down. To some it may symbolize death but for me that just means the death of one phase. Life is cyclical in that way. As one season of my life passes, it is to make room for another to come. It is a time of reflection, a time of extra cuddling, and a time to rest before beginning again. This Winter Solstice, I will hold a ritualistic ceremony as a way to celebrate another wonder of nature.

Winter must be cold for those with no warm memories.  ~From the movie An Affair to Remember

More Articles on the Winter Solstice below
Winter Solstice here
A Celebration of Light here.
Celebrating Winter Solstice here.
Solstice here.
A Winter Solstice Shamanic Celebration at the Open Center here.
[photo credit 3] and [photo credit 4] and [photo credit 5]

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