Breaking away from the usual posts to share with you some Winter Solstice Rituals I want to try out this year. I used to be more a more avid practitioner of my until I lost my focus and chronic illness and pain set in and made things doubly worse. Then, I began noticing things in my life. I am a huge believer in synchronicity and I saw enough things that I realised that not only did I need to bring Wicca back into my life, but that the calling had been from a Dark Goddess herself- Hekate.
The Dark Goddess is present in the darkest times of our lives and moments in our lives that come to an end. These times are often known as the “dark moon,” phases of our lives; a time when something comes to an end, yet there’s a traditional period before renewal, revival or new beginning taking place. All of which I am very much in the midst of in many places of my life at the moment. During these times is when Hekate encourages me to see things as they really are despite the severity and rawness of it all or even how painful it may be so that I can move past it with peace in my heart. Which brings me to the heart of this post, sharing these Six Rituals I plan to practice over the last few weeks until the Solstice.
1.) To Burn is to Cleanse
Burn a list of things to release. Release to rise- like rising out of the ashes. What is it that you need to let go of to expand to your truest self? Is it fear, stress, worry, regret? An old grudge you’ve been harbouring that you need to let go of so that relationship can grow and evolve? It really can be anything that is preventing you from moving forward, letting go, or just growing as a person. The solstice, among other things, is about renewal. Once you have the list, read it aloud. Take a moment to genuinely say goodbye to each item, and toss it in the bale-fire of your choice.
2.) OooOoo Let the Light Shine In
What does the light mean to you? Think about all the ways the light makes you feel and how you feel when you are illuminated. How does it feel when you are outside on a gorgeous day, your face tipped skyward, bathed in the warm glow of the sun? How does the radiance of the people in your life affect you? Do you tell them and does anyone remind you of your radiance?
3.) That old adage, ‘We are what we eat.’
Our bodies need to be grounded and our bodies need to eat. So it only makes sense to sustain our bodies with food that is nourishing and that will ground us. Therefore, it is the perfect time to binge on a platter of seasonal winter foods that our bodies will thank us for. Some favourites would be Belgian endive, broccoli rapini, carrots, fennel, kumquat, persimmon, radicchio, winter squash, cranberries, raspberries, pomegranates, potatoes, onions, leeks and parsnips. Winter calls for root veggies, perfect for thick stews and soup! Add some cinnamon to your dessert for its anti-inflammatory properties and anti-oxidants, add ginger or Tumeric to boost immunity.
4.) Bonfires and Yule Logs!
Enjoy a bonfire with friends and add a Yule log to make it special. If you can’t have a bonfire, use your summer fire pit or even your fire -OR- if you can do it safely, use an abalone shell, offering bowl or just a plain bowl and use a cinnamon stick for your perfect “mini” log.
5.) Honouring your Tree
Give thanks to your Holiday tree. It’s a small gesture to extend another living thing if you do still purchase a live tree. This one of the rituals I won’t be doing because I haven’t purchased a living tree in many years because of my allergies. But if you do it is something you can do to honour the life that has been cut short so you can have a pretty tree to decorate for the holidays. And it’s not a judgment on you. It’s teaching you to be respectful to nature and to thank her for the bounty of what she has given every year. Just taking a moment to do this creates energy that is given back to the earth. It’s a beautiful ritual to honour its’ sacrifice and presence. Have some apple cider or spiced red wine- (the apple cider can be spiced too if you like and a glass reserved to drink for yourself.) Sprinkle the branches and the trunk with the cider or the wine while taking a moment to give thanks to nature for for filling your home with the soothing scent and festive vibes. Decorate your tree with ornaments from the heart that make you smile and sip your drink.
6.) Give Back
This is the most important of all. The holiday season bombards people with the commercialised nature of Christmas. For many people it reminds them of what they don’t have; the scarcity of everything. There are others that are reminded of loss and pain. If you are one of the lucky ones that find yourself with abundance, whether it be money, or loved ones, joy or food, and are blessed by your circumstance and want to share that good fortune with others, there are many ways to give back. Purchasing gift cards for food at the grocery store can be donated at local community shelters. They can also be donated to school where often times children are too ashamed to come forward and say that suffering and not getting enough to eat. You can share your time at local soup kitchens that will always accept your help if you have the time. Performing random acts of kindness for people you don’t know, if you can’t volunteer but want to help in some way is something you can do. Keeping in touch with your friends, or neighbours is another thing you can do. People get lonely this time of year during the course of a normal year and this is a very abnormal year. Check on people whom you wouldn’t normally check in on. Drop in on neighbours, practicing social distance and just say “Hello, you were thinking of them.” You’d be surprised what a wellness check like that can do for someone’s moral. Think about how you can use your radiance to illuminate someone else’s darkness and remind them that there is always light to be found.
Remember, be the light. These rituals are not meant to be a once-a-year thing. Light & Dark will ebb and flow during the cycle of each year like good times and bad. These can be drawn on to eradicate darkness and invite the light back into your life, through any transition.