In the modern era, many of us are disconnected from Nature, and from natural cycles. Therefore, making a conscious effort to realign ourselves with Nature is a important to maintain a sense of wellbeing and harmony in our lives!
So, why not consider observing what so many indigenous cultures and ancient traditions have done for many years - honouring the Great Wheel and its points of power, as it turns throughout the year. In doing so, it reconnects us with natural time & timing, and can increase our spiritual awareness and power to manifest what we desire in our life.
We can learn a lot about ourselves through nature and natural timing. Also, for women in particular, I feel it is really empowering to become aware of cycles in our lives - the lunar cycle and our menstrual cycle are both 28 days... coincidence? I don't think so! Women are cyclical creatures, and learning to notice and embrace cycles of birth, life, death, rebirth can be very enlightening and empowering.
Whilst I don't really call myself a Pagan, I align with much of the Nature-worshipping elements of it and I choose ot honour natural cycles and utilise their energies as a point of focus for my spiritual growth and personal empowerment. I don't usually perfrom full on rituals, I do make time to meditate and turn inwards or to write in my journal / manifestation book or do other mini-rituals for my personal healing and growth, so I will share one below for this Winter Solstice!
The Tradition of Winter Solstice
Winter Solstice (also called Yule or Midwinter) is the day with the shortest daylight hours, and the longest night. Here in the Southern Hemisphere, it falls on the 22 June, 2019. In the Northern Hemisphere, it is 22 December.
As it is traditionally a Pagan festival, the tradition is to celebrate it with fire, to honour the rebirth of the sun and celebrate the return of the light. A "Yule tree" is decorated with a pentagram (five-pointed star) at the top to represent the five elements. A Yule log is burnt during this night, with a portion of the burned Yule log kept as a protective talisman for the home for the year, and and is used to light the following year's Yule log. Wreaths of holly are used in decoration, and bayberry candles are burned to attract wealth and happiness. Notably, the colours associated with this are red and green! As it is a time of celebration, gifts are exchanged, and a feast is prepared. (Hmmm... it's starting to look & sound a lot like... Christmas!!)
Midwinter represents the rebirth of light in the midst of greatest darkness. At this time, the Goddess gives birth to the Sun God, or the Divine Child, which is the new Solar Year. The Divine Child evolves into the Sun God, at it peak at the Summer Solstice - the longest day and the peak of the light, before waning again and later dying to be reborn again at the following Winter Solstice.
The birth-death-birth cycle offers us a great opportunity to spend some time in meditation and self-reflection, to acknowledge what needs to be released/let go of at this turning of the Great Wheel, and to also celebrate re-birth and the return of the light!
Winter Solstice Releasing and Manifestation Ritual
Performing a Winter Solstice ritual is a great way to honour the changing cycles and to celebrate Death/Life and the rebirth of the Light! If you don't have a community or circle that you belong to that celebrates the Winter Solstice, you can always celebrate it in your own way! I suggest performing this ritual at night, as it is a time for honouring the darkness.
What you will need:
- A candle (red, green or white)
- Your Journal or Paper and pen
- Things to set up an Altar - see image for example (optional)
- A piece of fruit, cake or other treat to symbolise the fruits of your labour (optional)
- Find a quiet space where you won't be disturbed. Turn off your phone etc.
- Light a White Sage stick or Palo Santo or Frankincense to cleanse and purify the space and yourself.
- If you wish to, create an altar space with things to represent the natural elements of Fire (candle), Water (shell or bowl of water), Air (Incense or Feather), and Earth (Crystal or Plant) and things that are symbolic of the changing cycles. You may also wish to add an Ammonite Fossil as it is a representation of Evolution and the Spiral Path. You may also wish to use the colours green and red, and you may also wish to add elements onto your altar to represent God/Goddess or other personal Spiritual items, or crystals to work with in your ritual. You may also wish to set up a crystal grid to enhance your manifestation work!
- Mentally set your intention for doing the ritual. Imagine a circle of light and protection around you and your space. You can call on your spiritual guides for protection and guidance, call on the elements or whatever you connect with to support and guide your ritual.
- Start the ritual in darkness, in honour of the Goddess. Take some time to honour the darkness, and all that it is... a space of the infinite, unlimited potential, the creative space from which all is birthed. Give thanks to the Goddess/Divine Feminine, the Collective Womb from which all Creation is born!
- When you are ready, Light the main candle to symbolise the return of the Light, and spend some time in reflection and gratitude for the Sun and the Divine Masculine and all that energy represents - actualising manifestation, action, energy, life, etc.
- Next, write your reflections in your journal of your thoughts and feelings around death and rebirth, with a focus on what you are wanting to let go of / things that are no longer needed in your life (Death/what is dying) and them what you want to manifest and being into your life (Birth)
- Write what you want to release on a seperate piece of paper
- Have your cauldron or other fire-proof bowl ready, and when you are ready, light a corner of the paper with the main candle and place it in the cauldron to symbolically release its energy. As it burns, say out loud "Thank you for what you have brought into my life. Thankyou for serving your purpose and teaching me what I need to know. I now choose to lovingly release this energy from my life, and acknowledge it is done. And so it is.". Take a moment to sage or cleanse yourself and using your breath, release any residual energy from your Being.
- Now, focus on the candle. You may wish to hold your crystals that align with your intentions to help amplify and focus them. Focus on the Light, and call forth from your heart and soul what it is that wants to be birthed in your life. What does your heart desire? What is your soul calling you to action? Tune in, and when you are ready, write these impressions in your journal or on another piece of paper. When you are done, say out loud "I now choose to become all that I am destined to be! I consciously plant the seeds of...... within me and ask the Sun and the Light to nourish this".
- You may wish to place the paper under a clear quartz pyramid or in the centre of your crystal grid, or in another special place whilst you visualise your intentions coming to life.
- When you feel ready to close the ritual, it is time to ground the energy. You may wish to take 3 breaths, and call your energy back into your body, and back into the present moment. Snuff out the candle, giviing thanks. Eat the fruit or other food you have placed on your altar both to ground yourself, and to symbolise enjoying the "fruits of your labour" once the ritual is complete!
What do you do to celebrate the Winter Solstice? Feel free to share in the comments! Also, if you wish to purchase any of the products mentioned in this blog, simply click on the links to add to your cart. If you purchase before the end of this weeked June 23, 2019 - enter the code YULE19 at checkout to get 15% off when you spend over $50!
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Michelle Rowland is an Energy Worker and Holistic Therapist, qualified in Kinesiology, Life Coaching, Reiki, Flower Essence therapy, Crystal Healing and is currently a student Naturopath. She loves helping people to clear away their stress, suppressed emotions and limiting beliefs so that they can re-balance their body, mind and energy systems to feel lighter and more empowered in their lives.