Winter Solstice occurs on around Friday 21st December every year in the Northern Hemisphere. When the sun reaches the lowest point in the sky – we are able to welcome back the light and the rebirth of the sun.
There is a Summer and a Winter Solstice every year. The summer Solstice occurs on around the 21st June, in the Northern hemisphere. The Solstices are very auspicious and symbolic events, which held a lot of importance for the ancients. The Latin word Solstice means ‘sun stand still’. At the pinnacle of the Solstice, when the sun is at its highest or lowest point in the sky, the sun does appear to be still in the sky and the energy feels magical.
In ancient times – people were deeply connected and aligned to nature and her elements. They understood nature’s cycles and the spiritual and energetic significance behind them.
During the Winter Solstice, we are letting go of the old year and celebrating the birth of a new one. In ancient times, some feared the light would not return! Vigils and rituals were performed; homes were decorated with holly, ivy, mistletoe and pine cones, etc. to bring in and welcome the elements and nature. Log fires and candles were lit to represent the return of light.
Many ancient cultures, for example, the Mayans, Essenes, Druids and Egyptians, understood the spiritual significance of the Solstices.
They built many temples and structures that captured the sun’s divine alignment at these times. Sacred ceremonies were then held to celebrate the light. The head of the Sphinx between the Great Pyramids of Egypt is crowned with the sun at the pinnacle of the Summer Solstice.
Hundreds of sacred sites align with the Solstices: Glastonbury, Stonehenge, Avebury, Tara in Ireland, are but a few.
The Winter Solstice is linked to many religious and cultural festivals. Many significant religious and spiritual teachers are supposedly born near this date, which demonstrates the importance of the Solstices in ancient times.
The Summer Solstice represents abundance, growth, connection to source and honouring the divine within us and within each other.
The Winter Solstice is a quiet time of introspection and reflection on what has been and what will be. This ties in with our tradition of making New Year’s resolutions.
If you are drawn to celebrating the Winter Solstice this year, here are a few ideas to help you celebrate:
A Solstice Fire ceremony
- connect deeper to the Winter Solstice energies
· Create an alter in your home and decorate it with holly, ivy, pine cones and candles;
· Light a fire or candle;
· Spend a moment in a quiet space and go within, tuning into the heart.
· Be grateful for all the beautiful gifts and wonderful things you have achieved so far this year.
· Thank Spirit and the Universe for their loving support.
· Take a moment to reflect on the aspects of your life that need addressing or changing.
· Write these aspects on pieces of paper.
· Put them in the fire with the intent to let them go and welcome the new beginnings that the change will bring you.