For more than thousands of years the Winter Solstice, also known as Yule, has been a celebration of the rebirth of the Sun. Signifying light coming back to the Earth while beginning winter. The days start to stay lighter longer, and the new solar year begins. It is truly a magical time! On December 21st 2015, at 11:48pm EST the Northern Hemisphere will experience its winter solstice. The longest night if the year, it will bring balance to the Earth and then allow the light to shine. It is rich in traditions and lore. Did you know that most ancient stone circles are built around the sunrise of the winter solstice? The solstice is also symbolic of a time of hope and miracles because, even through the darkest times, we can rest assured that the light will come. This is probably one of my favorite times of the year. Maybe it is because I am Capricorn, or maybe because I have witnessed and been a part of a real miracle that took place on the Winter Solstice in 2012 or perhaps because as humanity we draw our attention to things like charity, good will towards men and peace on Earth. Our spirits are lifted somehow and we draw together as a community and help others who are in need. We remember the things that are important and we cherish what we have in our lives. At the same time, whether we are conscious of it or not, we are reflective of the past year. We grieve the losses we experienced, and yet are hopeful for what is to come. Just like the sun comes back and rises, our own inner light resurrects inside of us with love, joy and faith. There are so many great traditions and celebrations that you can incorporate into your own space for this special evening. Here are a few of my favorites that you can do on your own or with friends, family or loved ones.
- Growing up, our family called it a Buche de Noel, but it is also known as a Yule log, so for the Winter Solstice find a recipe that works for you and your family, and decorate it with whatever your heart desires, or traditional items such as powdered sugar as snow, and run a fork through the frosting to make it look like an actual tree log. Then enjoy it with your family or friends during the night of the Solstice.
- Make a Yule wreath. Gather any items of your choice and bring the energy of Yule into your home for the entire holiday season. Set your intentions for the New Year while making the wreath, and pick decorations that may represent those wishes for you. Then on the night of the Solstice hang your wreath, either on a door, or somewhere in your home. Then, on New Year’s day, return your wreath to Nature , either by offering it to the woods, or if you have an outdoor fire pit, maybe you would like to have a fire ceremony and allow the Universe and Mother Earth to receive your intentions and set them in motion for you in the New Year. If you decide to make an offering in the woods, be sure to include the trees in your offering. Trees have very special energy and are a traditional part of the Winter Solstice.
- Story telling by candle light, or fire. This tradition comes from many cultures, but one of the most popular for the Winter Solstice comes from Celtic traditions by sharing the story of the legend of the Holly King and the Oak King. You can also choose to share stories about the winter, or past events that you have experienced during previous Winter Solstice celebrations, or sing Yule songs. What is important is that you and the ones you love gather by the light and be together. When you do this, you raise your vibrations and connect with the energy of the Solstice. You can also incorporate sound in your evening. Ring bells at the exact moment of the Solstice. This symbolizes the cycles of nature and honors the four directions. It also symbolizes wish granting, so be sure to make your Winter Solstice Wish while ringing your bell.
- Prayer is very powerful and, as I mentioned before, there is something about the Winter Solstice where it is like prayers are accelerated and miracles happen. Through the power of prayer I received my Winter Solstice gift from the Universe. So, a prayer circle or ceremony happens to be my favorite! You don’t need anything special for this, just a candle of your choice. You can do this privately, or in a group and make it your own. Sit by the light of the candle or fire and pray. If you are doing this in a group, sit around the flame in a circle and hold hands if you feel inclined to do so. Pray for anything you want, there are no limits on what you can pray for or how many prayers you say. In fact, the bolder the prayer the bolder the Universe, God and the power of the Winter Solstice can respond to that prayer for you. This year, an amazing healer and I will be having a Winter Solstice prayer circle at The Sacred Space in Concord NH. You can be a part of our prayer circle from anywhere in the world. For the entire month of the December, leading up to the Winter Solstice, email me for free at firstname.lastname@example.org with your prayers or wishes, and I will personally write them on a piece of paper and place them in the prayer offering bowl during our Winter Solstice prayer circle. Prayers are welcome from all over the world so no matter where you are you can be a part of the ceremony with us. If you happen to be celebrating the Summer Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere, and you need some prayers for anything at all, email us and you will be included. There is so much going on in the world, let’s join together from everywhere and pray for health, love, peace on earth and anything that rests in our hearts that we may be in need of this special season.
No matter how you choose to celebrate the Winter Solstice or Yule, I hope you take a moment to welcome the sun back and welcome the light back into your life in any way you need. Have a joyous yule season, and may you also experience the power of prayer and the magic of the season. “I do believe we’re all connected. I do believe in positive energy. I do believe in the power of prayer. I do believe in putting good out into the world. And I believe in taking care of each other.” – Harvey Fierstein
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