December 21, 2014, 6:03 PM EST (23:03 UT) marks the solstice—Winter solstice is an astronomical phenomenon which marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year. Winter solstice occurs for the Northern Hemisphere in December and for the Southern Hemisphere in June.
The winter solstice is a time of reflection, during the darkest and longest night of the year. A time to spend with family and friends. A time to imagine what the coming year will bring.
Herbs: Holly, mistletoe, pine cones, pine needles, oak leaves, Yule log ashes, fir, birch, hazel bark, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, wintergreen
Colors: Red, green, white, gold, silver
The winter solstice, the rebirth of the Sun, is an important turning point, as it marks the shortest day. Yule is deeply rooted in the cycle of the year, it is the seed time of year, the longest night and the shortest day, where the Goddess once again becomes the Great Mother and gives birth to the new Sun King.
Here are some wonderful suggestions to start winter solstice traditions — feed the wildlife, eat by candlelight, release the old and welcome the new.
- String cereal onto thread and drape it across the bare branches of trees for the wildlife to share… some apples too, hung on a thread. This is a wonderful gift to the creatures that share our world in the night, the longest night of the year.
- Welcome the return of the sun by eating in only candlelight and firelight… thank the sun for all of its strength and energy, and for bringing light into our lives.
- I feel one of the most important things that you can do is write out your hopes and dreams for 2015 on slips of paper, then light them on fire by candles or fireplace and watch as the paper transforms to smoke… carrying your intentions out to the universe. Your energy and intention is not unnoticed.
- You can also use this ceremony to release any old thoughts, patterns or unwanted energy from 2014. Just write down whatever comes, draw a picture. Sometimes words are not needed.
The history of the Winter Solstice and Stonehenge. Stonehenge is carefully aligned on a sight-line that points to the winter solstice sunset. It is thought that the Winter Solstice was actually more important to the people who constructed Stonehenge than the Summer Solstice. The Winter Solstice was a time when most cattle were slaughtered (so they would not have to be fed during the winter) and the majority of wine and beer was finally fermented.
The Winter Solstice is the most important day of the year at Stonehenge and a truly magical time to be there. For many the impulse to arrive at Stonehenge in time for the Solstice is a little like all those people drawn to the strange rock in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It’s akin to a spiritual experience for those that attend.
Please light a candle (white, gold, or silver) and spend at least 5 minutes in mindful mediation.
Make sure you take time to enjoy this sacred day in some special way.
Winter solstice blessings,