By Yvonne Esther Nieves
For those of you who follow paganism, you know that Winter Solstice not only marks the first official day of the winter season, but it also rings in Yule, the original Christmas. Last year during the solstice, I took the time to do my own short ritual. In front of my Yule altar, I wrote down a list of things that I wanted to banish from my life, including bad habits, negative sentiments, and financial woes. On another page, I wrote down a list of things that I wanted for my life in the next year. I kept this list basic, and realistic. I put the list away and vowed to not look at it again until the next year.
I decided to release the energy that I had put into my ritual by going outside. I bundled myself up, took a stick of incense with me, and proceeded to walk the perimeter of my urban city block. It was a cool night, and the snow fell fresh on the ground. Everything was still and silent at the midnight hour. I spoke to the Goddess while looking up at the moon above. I made some wishes and asked for her blessings. I left the incense outside near a tree as my final offering and proceeded in doors. I went to sleep.
The year prior, on Yule 2010, I had done a similar ritual. Back then, there had been a very rare planetary alignment right on Solstice. I had gotten the sense that something had happened. There had been a shift. The predictions that December 21, 2012 were not necessarily on point, according to what some people reported. What ever was said would occur on 12/21/12, had already occurred during Solstice 2010. On that night, humans were given an opportunity to make a decision whether or not they wanted to remain with their old ways of being, or progressing as more enlightened, spiritual beings. This is what I felt deep down in my heart.
As my 2011 year proceeded forward, I was blessed by the Goddess. She provided me with new friendships, spiritual circles, helpful people, and unexpected changes in my life. She brought tests and challenges, but due to my connection and dedication to Spirit, I overcame them. I was awarded with spiritual gifts and initiations, new strength and faith.
Yesterday, I revisited last year’s Solstice list. To my surprise, I overcame everything that I wrote down, and gained everything that I asked for. The list alone reconfirmed my beliefs, and allowed me to reflect on the pivotal moments that have brought me to where I am today.
This year I am looking forward to celebrating with my spirit guides, and meditation on my totems, one of which is the hummingbird, who in the Nahua tradition, heralds in the winter solstice. I plan on sending healing to the earth and making offerings to the planet. I urge you to take advantage of this year’s solstice energies as well. Take the time to connect. You can light many candles, or one small one. Dedicate yourself for the next year to working in service on behalf of Spirit, and the greatest good for all. Meditate, for that is that time when Spirit can speak to you.
Yvonne resides in Chicago’s Pilsen community, holds a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Anthropology with a concentration in contemporary cultures and world religions. She is a practicing Pagan, an initiated 5th Ray healer, a crystal energy worker, a second degree reiki practitioner, and the co-founder of Sisterhood of Universal Light. Her freelance work includes blogging for The Divine Lotus blog and serving as the Vice President for The Offering Enterprises, an international heavy metal magazine and webzine.