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Blog / December 7, 2022

The Winter Solstice

The winter solstice marks the beginning of the winter season and it is a time to pause and reflect on the past year. It is also a time to prepare for the new year.

sunset behind trees and clouds

Have you noticed the nights getting longer and the days are colder? These shifts are the signs of the Winter Solstice.  Also known as the shortest day of the year, first day of winter and the beginning of the coldest season in the Northern Hemisphere. This solstice rounds out our current year and beckons us into the new one, which is a great time to self-reflect and set intentions for the future. It is also a good time to be grateful for what we have accomplished in our lives so far.

What Causes the Winter Solstice?:

The winter solstice is the shortest day and longest night of the year. It is an astronomical event that happens when the tilt of the Earth’s axis is farthest away from the sun meaning the Sun reaches its southernmost point in the sky (or northernmost point depending on where you live). This happens each December 21st or 22nd, depending on your location in the world. From now on, days start getting longer and nights start getting shorter as the sun begins its slow climb out of darkness and into light again.

What Does It Mean?:

The word “solstice” comes from Latin roots meaning “sun” and “stationary.” Because it consists of only two days (21st or 22nd), this date doesn’t line up with any traditional holidays on our current calendar. However, many cultures have celebrated this important turning point throughout history and many continue these traditions today!

In many cultures around the world, December 21 is celebrated as a festival day or holiday, known as Yule or other names. Yule’s main focus is on light and happiness. It is a time when we reflect on all that has been accomplished over the past year, while also celebrating new beginnings with family and friends. It’s a time to embrace our spirituality with an open heart and mind so that we can continue to grow and share out light throughout our lives.

Celebrations often included singing, dancing and gift-giving. Gifts were often made of natural materials like wood or leather. They might include food (such as corn). Gifts were often handmade by the giver, and given to Mother Earth or to the Sun. In ancient times, people believed that this was the day when the sun died and began to be reborn again as it traveled southward over the horizon.

Rituals for the Winter Solstice:

Light a candle: Lighting candles at midnight during this time can bring good luck and prosperity into your life. If you do this ritual at home, be sure to blow out all candles before going to sleep.

Meditate: Meditation helps you get in touch with your inner self and discover what changes may be needed in order to make this coming year better than last year’s.” Best time to do this is when it’s dark outside. Get comfortable sitting or laying down. Think about what you’d like to release in your life. When ready, say aloud “The sun is gone. The old year has passed. I now release this.” Allow some time, taking steady breaths to clear your mind. Now light a candle close by. Get comfortable again and think about what you’d like to bring into your life. Say aloud “ The sun has risen. The new year is here. I welcome ______ into my life”. Allow some time, take steady breaths, and when ready, in sitting position, bow your head, namaste hands if you wish, and say thank you. Blow out that candle and continue on with the remainder of your day.

The Winter Solstice can be an auspicious time for setting intentions for new beginnings or fresh starts in life. Your focus should be on looking ahead rather than back. The winter solstice is a great time of year to start fresh—to clean out the old and welcome the new.

Happy Winter Solstice to you and yours.