Longest Night

Have you noticed how early it gets dark now? It is a time to turn inwards, to be quiet and introspective. A time to sleep longer, rest and contemplate our lives.

Winter Solstice is near.

Winter Solstice is the one day of year that has the most darkness. Not zombie darkness…..lack of sunlight darkness.

On December 21st, the winter solstice will mark the shortest day and the longest night of the year. The sun appears at its lowest point in the sky, and its noontime elevation appears to be the same for several days before and after the solstice.

The word solstice, which comes from Latin solstitium, means sol, “sun” and -stitium, “a stoppage.”

Following the winter solstice, the days begin to grow longer and the nights shorter.

Winter solstice is a time for ritual, reflection and renewal. It reminds us to cultivate a deeper connection to nature, family and the things that mean the most to us.

Celebrating the solstice is a beautiful remembrance that our lives are part of a larger order, always changing, always renewing.

The winter solstice is known by other names such as Yule or midwinter and has been honored by people throughout the ages. We don’t know exactly how long people have been celebrating the winter solstice but we do know that they built Stonehenge to align perfectly with the sunset on that one day of the year.

In Celebrate the Solstice, Heinberg writes that “wisdom consists in knowing one’s place in any given cycle, and what kinds of action (or restraint of action) are appropriate for that phase.” The more we attune ourselves to the changes and cycles of the seasons, the more we can recognize subtle changes and cycles in ourselves.

Creating your own simple ceremony to celebrate the solstice can help you stay grounded and empowered.

Your winter solstice ceremony should bring peace and reflect on the stillness of the day. It should represent love of nature, respect for the renewing cycles of life and faith in the future.

Here are some simple ways you can celebrate the winter solstice this year:

  • Watch the sunset or sunrise.
  • Visit with nature. Take a hike, sit in a field, watch the wildlife or walk a Labyrinth.
  • Share food with others. Important in any celebration, during the solstice it represents faith in the return of the sun and the harvest.
  • Silence. Set a specific amount of time that you will create intentional silence for you and your household.
  • Make an evergreen wreath. Evergreens symbolize the continuity of life and prosperity.
  • Sit in the dark. Turn out all the lights and sit in the darkness offering gratitude for the return of the light.
  • Light a candle.

There are many different ways to celebrate the winter solstice. It can be simple or elaborate. Create a ceremony that works for you and give yourself some peace this holiday season.

How will you celebrate the winter solstice this year?

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