Listen with a quiet heart and you can catch Winter Solstice murmuring across the land as time slows and the still-point in the year approaches. The longest night of the Solstice falls across December 21st- 22nd. It’s a time to fold into the mysteries of the darkness, to reflect on the past year and reconnect with our own inner light as the sun begins to glimmer back in.
The evergreen wreaths we hang on our doors at this time of year are adorned with plants chosen by our ancestors for their folk uses: pine for clearing, ivy to follow your own path, holly for protection, oak for endurance and to herald in the new solar year. This ritual is an ancient echo, connecting us to the essence of one of many festivals of rebirth and light, which have been celebrated on the planet throughout time.
The word solstice is from the Latin sol “sun” and sistere “to stand still”. Also known as Yule, from the Norse word Nul meaning wheel and connected to the Goddess Frigga who sat, spinning the fates and labouring through the darkness to birth the sun again. It’s said the great wheel of the universe stops turning briefly at the point of Solstice, which this year is at 22.23 on the 21st.
Amidst the swirl of life, whether it’s in the planning of winter celebrations or the ever-changing nature of the world around us, it can sometimes be hard to catch a breath. By marking the Solstice we can discover a pause point amidst this frenetic energy, an opportunity to surrender to the stillness and access a deeper layer of ourselves.
Take an hour or two, or take from the moment the sun sets on the 21st and ride the darkness of the longest night all the way through to the returning of the light the next morning. Spend the evening by candle and firelight, replace screens with books, gather loved ones close, meditate on where in the world we can offer and extend our light, give thanks for lessons learned, release anything that no longer serves and lay the intentions of what’s to come. Let the tugs of the world wait. Set aside the ‘to do’s’ for a brief moment and watch as time slows down and hearts settle into the softness of flickering candlelight.
Wishing you well as you journey through the longest night & into the light as it creeps back in and slowly stretches out into the year ahead.
“Everything is transfixed, only the light moves.”― Leonora Carrington