3 Ways to Bring Meaning to the Winter Solstice
December 21st will mark the shortest day and the longest night of the year. This sabbat is also known as Yule. I’ve been anticipating how to best use this time to reflect on my spiritual work and honor the coming of the sun for self-growth. What were some big shifts for you this past year? What do you aspire towards in the seasons to come? Maybe these are questions better left to the night’s sky. And on the longest night of the year, I have a few ways to help you find your answers.
Enjoy this excerpt from “A Celebration of Winter Solstice” from The Circle of Life by Joyce Rupp and Macrina Wiederkehr to get you in the right mindset for bringing meaning to the Winter Solstice.
But winter darkness has a positive side to it. As we gather to celebrate the first turn from winter to spring, we are invited to recognize and honor the beauty in the often unwanted season of winter. Let us invite our hearts to be glad for the courage winter proclaims. Let us be grateful for the wisdom winter brings in teaching us about the need for withdrawal as an essential part of renewal. Let us also encourage our spirits as Earth prepares to come forth from this time of withdrawal into a season filled with light.
As you embark on connecting with the Winter Solstice here’s a reflection to keep in mind.
Create Your Solstice Altar
Honor the Triple Goddess with the symbolism of the phases of the moon that represents the Maiden, Mother, and the Crone. As the cycle of the seasons comes full circle, you have experienced all of the faces of the goddess somewhere in your life. Do not forget what each has taught you.
Revisit these lessons by remembering where you have felt wild, abandon, or birthed a creation. Maybe you need to revisit a time of loss. Open your heart up to this life cycle and feel gratitude that you are still standing; that you have survived your darkest days.
Connect by decorating your altar with festive colors. Here’s a guide for bringing Winter Solstice colors into your sacred space.
Dig deep with red.
Red represents your root chakra. Stay grounded and humble with poinsettias, red ribbon, and cranberries.
Find faith with green.
Choose holly leaves or a miniature pine tree. It’s said that once upon a time when the days grew short and cold, all of the trees withered in the sun’s absence. The Evergreen trees were the exception to this. They instead had faith in the sun’s return. Because of their faith, the sun rewarded them by allowing them to keep their green leaves all year round. Be like the evergreen, have faith that light will prevail.
Blessed is she who believes.
“Oh, holy night. The stars are brightly shining.” Add some bling to your altar this solstice to represent growing daylight. Use gilded items to depict the growing sparkle in your heart and happiness in the face of adversity.
Here’s an Instagram Reel of a Yule Altar Refresh:
Celebrate with a Solstice Eve Ritual
Wear a Crown
On the night of the Winter Solstice, you can wear a holly crown. Holly is said to help soothe feelings of loss while ushering in new life. The red berries on the crown will awaken the root chakra as you dig your roots into the earth to meditate on the seasons of your soul.
Draw a Card
With an Oracle deck in hand meditate beneath the vast night’s sky. Let go of the past, and now see the sky as a blank canvas for your year to come. Next, draw an oracle card that will represent the theme that will inspire the next cycle of seasons in your life.
Light a Flame
Ignite the light within by lighting candles, burning a log, or stringing up lights on your altar. If you burn a log you can save a little to add to next year’s fire for continuity of the solar cycle (save the ashes to use in charm bags for protection).
I stopped looking for the light. I decided to become it instead.
Gather with Family
Spend this solstice with your family and friends. On the longest night of the year, you’ll have plenty of time for feasting, playing games, telling stories, and hopefully lots of good belly laughs! Stay warm and cheery in the wee hours of the night (and maybe until dawn) with this festive brew!
- 1-gallon apple cider
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1 chopped apple
- 3 oz brown sugar
Bring cider to a boil over high heat, reduce heat and add spices. Stir until spices dissolve. Add chopped apple and brown sugar. Cook for another 10 minutes over low heat. Optionally, you can add sherry, brandy, or ale to this beverage for some extra warmth!
The light is coming, but until then, enjoy and reflect in the dark spaces. Soak up the love and gratitude from your family and friends and enjoy a warm cup of Wassail! Find more rituals for the Winter Solstice here.
Categorised in: Meditation, Moon phases, Symbolism, Wheel of the Year, Yule
Cassie Uhl is the author of five books and two card decks, an artist, intuitive energy healer, and death doula. Her lineage and practices are rooted in pagan earth-based spiritual practices of Northern Europe. She approaches her work and clients with trauma-informed support through all phases of life. She currently resides on the land of the Myaamia people in so-called Indiana of the US.