The longest night. The shortest day. Winter solstice is a sacred time to express our gratitude to the yellow dwarf star at the center of our solar system – the sun. For without it, life could not exist.
It has been celebrated by our ancestors for centuries. From Scandinavian Norsemen, we gain the tradition of Yule. Egyptians celebrated the return of Ra, god of the sun, and similarly, ancient Greeks held a festival called Lenaea. The Roman Empire held Saturnalia celebrations, the Druids celebrated at Stonehenge, and similar festivities took place at other ancient sites such as the Cerro del Gentil pyramid in Peru.
The main event doesn’t last an entire day – it’s a specific moment in time. Today at 16:28 UTC, to be exact—when the sun is directly over the Tropic of Capricorn. At this moment the sun seems to stand still, and then reverses its direction
This is a time of great power, marking the return of light.
A DIY Winter Solstice Ceremony
The solstice is the perfect opportunity to let go of the past and begin creating your new future. All of those old resentments, heartaches, blocked energy, unhealthy patterns, ineffectual habits—bring it all with you on this first day of winter and be ready to let it go in order to start the new year with clear intentions.
Are you ready?
1. Create a sacred space this evening. This could be in your own living room. Although it’s already dark, dim the lights even more. Perhaps use only candlelight.
2. Consider adding a crystal to your space.
• Smoky quartz helps release old patterns and beliefs.
• Aquamarine helps you move past anger, fear, and unhealthy emotional patterns.
• Rutilated quartz reaches the root of your problems and helps facilitate healthy change and calls in divine protection.
• Citrine helps you get out of stuck patterns from the past and get into the present joyful flow of life.
3. Use essential oils as both an offering and as a symbol of releasing.
• Frankincense: for prayer and meditation, and to promote spiritual awareness.
• Cedarwood: for wisdom and discernment.
• Bergamot: for letting go of anxiety and fear.
• Jasmine: for letting go of stress.
• Rosewood: for letting go of grief and sadness.
• Ylang-ylang: for letting go of fear and courageously embracing your new future.
4. On small pieces of paper, write down key words that represent the limiting beliefs and patterns you would like to rid yourself of. Each belief should get its own scrap of paper – ideally you should feel an emotional charge to each one as you mark it down.
Important: There is an alchemy to this process and the power of the experience will be heightened if you can fully give yourself over to the notion that these words are in fact a physical anchor for a non-physical inner shadow that is holding you back.
5. When you are finished, take a few deep meditative breaths, empty your mind, and read through each of the words one final time, letting their meaning wash over you.
6. Pick up the first piece of paper. Staring at the words written on it, say aloud “I choose to release you now.” Then, using a lit candle or lighter, ignite a corner of the paper and let it burn in a heat-safe dish, or better yet—a fireplace.
7. As paper and ink turn to smoke and ash, let the symbolism of this act work its way into your subconscious and dissolve the corresponding belief or pattern within you.
8. Repeat this process until all words on paper have turned to ash.
9. Close your eyes and meditate for a moment on all of the lessons you learned about yourself while igniting those pieces of paper. Often times, letting go of what does not serve us leaves a free hand to reach for something vibrant and fulfilling in our lives.
As you close your meditation and ceremony, and as we close this message, we offer this prayer.
Hopi Sun Prayer
You who are the source of all power,
Your rays illuminate the whole world,
Illuminate our hearts also,
So we too may do your work.
Wishing you light, love, and many blessings this holiday season and in the new year, from your friends at The Sacred Science.
Founder, The Sacred Science
I am the major content contributor to Shamans Market, an online retailer acting as cultivators and enhancers of spiritual, soul-centered living through fair trade of sustainable and artisan products that promote cultural wisdom, world heritage and the ritual arts. We are seeking permission to reprint this article with credit to you and your site in our newsletter/blog which is published monthly mostly on the 3rd Tuesday. It would likely appear in our November or Dec newsletter. Thanks for your consideration.