4 Powerful Rituals To Honor Winter Solstice
For those of us in the Western Hemisphere, the 21st of December marks the shortest day of the year and the official beginning of the winter season.
Also known as the winter solstice, many believe it to be an important day of spiritual transformation. For centuries, people have celebrated the solstice and welcomed in the winter months, by opening up to deep inner reflection. Winter solstice is the darkest day of the year and thus symbolically provides us with an opportunity to lay our distractions aside, get quiet and familiarize ourselves with our innermost thoughts and feelings by looking into our own dark places.
When was the last time you slowed your mind enough to actually feel the rumblings of your soul? Our greater consciousness contains so much information about what we need in order to become more content and peaceful, but we must listen to the messages and absorb them. Otherwise what we notice by default, are feelings of longing and discontent which morph into overwhelm and anxiety during this season. If you’d like to create a sacred space in which to reorient and deepen your relationship to yourself this holiday season, choose the element ritual that you feel most drawn to, and create a private winter solstice ceremony.
1. Earth Element
Use your senses. Bundle up and take a walk. This should be a walk alone, where you can easily stay aware of the smells around you, the temperature of the air on your skin, the sounds you hear, and the landscape you see. Take this opportunity to be as fully present as you can. Breathe in and out, stay with the breath, continue to notice what’s happening in your immediate experience.
Reflect on this question: What do you need to stay grounded this winter?
2. Water Element
Draw a warm bath. Make sure to leave your phone and other distractions in another room. As you sink into the warm water, pay attention to how it feels on your skin. Take some deep breaths into your solar plexus. Allow feelings of relaxation to rise from your heart and your belly. Notice what you feel both physically and emotionally.
Reflect on this question: What do you need in order to feel more nurtured this winter?
3. Fire Element
Find your power. Settle yourself in a warm and cozy space in your home, make sure you can relax without disruption. Light a candle and gaze into the flames. Allow yourself to fall into a light meditation by breathing into your belly and out again, noticing what each breath feels like in your body. Watch the flame dance in continual motion as it changes form in reaction to the currents in the air. Cup your hands around the flame and feel the instant warmth on your skin. See if you can imagine what it would feel like to be the flame.
Reflect on this question: What do you need in order to feel more vitality this winter?
4. Air Element
Settle your mind. Find a comfortable seat and turn your phone off. Begin to breathe into your belly. Imagine a center point in your core that’s about 3 finger widths behind your belly button. Bring your breaths in and out from this point. Begin to count your in-breaths until you get to 10 and then start over at 1. This is a meditation meant to help you drop out of your mind, and into your body. As you breathe and count, be aware of any thoughts that try to creep into your awareness. As soon as you notice them, bring your attention back to the breath.
Reflect on this question: How can I be more consciously aware of my repetitive thoughts this winter?
Taking time to design a small ritual to connect into the wisdom of our soul is one of the most useful (and free!) gifts we can give ourselves. The above rituals can be done in 15 minutes or less but much can be accomplished in such a short amount of time. There is great power in simply setting your intentions, and creating space to receive messages from your higher intelligence during this influential time of year.
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