Winter solstice marks the shortest day and longest night of the year. The significance of the solstice is that it symbolizes the rebirth of the sun and a renewal of energy. As the darkness of winter gradually recedes, we are patiently waiting for the return of the light. Winter is a time of patience; a time for rest and recuperation which is necessary for growth. Hope inspires us to wait for the world to awaken to new beginnings after the transformative experience of the darkness and inner reflection.
For people throughout the ages, midwinter has been a significant time for ritual, reflection and renewal. Creating personal and meaningful traditions and rituals can be a way to attune our senses to the subtle changes and cycles of the seasons. By being receptive to the changes in our environment, we can plant the seeds for the future.
A good starting point for creating a ritual to honour the transition of the seasons can be to involve nature and acknowledge the cycles of life. Make a wreath with evergreens collected on a walk through the woods. Evergreens symbolize the continuity of life, protection and prosperity. Build a circle of candlelight. Begin with giving each person a candle to light and sit in darkness to offer gratitude. Then light one central, larger candle to symbolize your unity over the coming year. Ring bells or chimes at sunrise and sunset and offer seeds to winter birds. Let the solstice be a time to appreciate the small things in life and offer gratitude for the gifts received as a result of change.
To connect with the energy of the transition of midwinter, we have put together a gift bag with stones that reflect the special qualities of this time.