Winter Solstice Wonderment
Here is a beautiful song to play while ushering in the winter solstice.
December 21 is the Winter Solstice. This year, it coincides with two cosmic events, the full moon and a huge meteor shower.
The word solstice derives from the Latin word ‘solstitium’, which means ‘sun standing still’. Today is a day to be still. Ideally, in the middle of a forest, but you can just be still wherever you are. If you listen closely, you can hear the wheel turning, and feel the earth stop for a moment and shift its axis as the sun stands still just for a fleeting moment before it shifts towards longer days and lets in the light.
The first time I honoured the Winter Solstice was four winters ago. I had been going through a particularly dark and troubled time following the sudden death of my father, the meltdown and collapse of a twenty-year marriage to the father of children and the subsequent horror and aftermath. Deep grief had gripped me round the throat, I was barely keeping my shit together, was just about holding down my business, trying to be strong and steady for my children, paying the bills, moving house, putting one foot in front of the other while all the time fighting a dark narrative in my head that I was a terrible person. I was filled with shame for inflicting such a selfish act on my family. Happiness and joy were fleeting birds darting through my dark, stormy sky. On request of their father, my children were not spending Christmas with me for the first time. We were going to do alternate Christmases instead.I had never felt more miserable and alone.
I found myself on the shortest day, wandering through Kensington Gardens with my dog, feeling utterly lost. As I ambled through the long grass, not paying attention to the path, I found myself in the middle of a copse. The sun was shining through a cool, white blanket of cloud creating the vision of a bright pretend moon. A robin flew up to me and landed on the branch of a wild bush festooned with red berries. The robin had looked at me with his beady little eyes. I felt as if he was asking me a question, but I had no clue what it was.
I stood very still, and noticed everything around me. The cars were rumbling in the distance, there was nobody around except the trees, the creatures in the wood darting around and my dog who had come and sat at my feet. We stayed there for some time with the robin, watching the cold sun drop behind the trees in the distance. I felt profoundly held by this moment, as if mother nature herself was giving me this moment as a gift, just for me. I felt a sense of hope fill my insides and for a moment, I felt a renewed sense of belonging. I hadn’t felt that for so long. I realised I do belong. I belong to the earth. I belong to the sky. I belong to me.
This moment of stillness brought so much peace. When I eventually got home I lit a candle and sat with myself. I felt so different. I was enough. For me, the Winter Solstice will always symbolise a shift into the light, an end to suffering, and to new beginnings.
Every year, it has become a powerful day to reflect on what has passed, to welcome in what is to come and most importantly, to honour every moment as it happens, for each one is a gift. That’s why we call it the present.
A WINTER SOLSTICE RITUAL SUGGESTION
There are lots of ways you can pay homage to this momentous turn of the Divine Earth Mother’s wheel.
I will be lighting a big candle to pay homage to the sun, then with smaller candles, each one representing someone I love, I will honour them by lighting their flame from the big sun candle, spreading light into their souls, and placing them in a circle around the sun. This is something you can do at your kitchen table with nightlights and any old candle. It doesn’t matter how you do it, just the act of a ritual can bring so much magic to your day.
Honouring this moment of the earth shifting on its axis [at 22.22 GMT, by the way], and the north pole tilting back towards the sun is something to share as it ushers in a sense of renewal, of rebirth, of one cycle ending and a new one beginning. Even though Winter Solstice marks the shortest day and longest night, once you tune into the turning cosmic wheel and share in that moment by being in nature too, you might find things shifting for you in a cosmic way, away from the darkness, and back towards the light.
Winter Solstice is not dependent on any religious beliefs. All humans who walk this earth, regardless of faith, can take part, if they so wish. I hope you do. I have a feeling it will bring you some magic.
Co-Founder of Goddess Charms