Winter is a hard time for me. Less so since moving to the sun-drenched South, but it’s still a season that I’ve struggled with over the years. Because of that, it’s only in recent years that I’ve begun to craft Solstice traditions to welcome the return of the light while at the same time honoring the dark. I’ve realized that, even as the darkness pushes me inside myself, if I take the time to properly honor the season (and SLOW DOWN), I can do better than just survive in winter; I can begin to heal, to rest and restore, in preparation for a thriving new year.
A few years ago, I attempted this lovely recapitulation ritual (inspired by an article in Yoga Journal), and the following year, my husband and I burned a jar of wishes we’d been collecting the entire year, plus a jar of the best moments we’d remembered to write down (we read the best moments to each other before giving them to the fire, but we sent the wishes in silence).
This year, we’ll be traveling back and forth quite a bit during the winter holidays, but I still want to take the time to honor the Solstice, even if I’m a few days late. I’ve planned a quiet ritual that’s a combination of mundane and magical, and I wanted to share my plans with you in case they spark an idea for your own celebration.
Weather permitting, I’d like to sit down in the next week after dark to a fire in our fire pit. First, I’m planning to burn the box of bills, bank statements, and other “shredable” mail that I’ve been collecting over the past few months. My hope here is to clear away the energy of a year of tight finances so that we can enter 2015 in a new place. There’s the practical part of my Solstice-week plans.Borrowing from last year, the magical component of these plans is to, once again, burn a jar of wishes together, sending our love and dreams up on the smoke to the dark winter sky. We’ll probably offer some chocolate to the fire, too, to sweeten our secret wishes.
Finally, I’ve started a clutter clearing crusade lately in an attempt to help our small home to remain cozy rather than cramped, and there are a few pieces of clutter that I’m planning to offer to the fire. My first yoga mat has been dead, dead, dead for over a year (ever since I began my yoga teacher training, actually), but I haven’t been able to bring myself to part with it. This week, however, I’m planning to burn a scrap of the cloth bag that the mat has lived in, before finally tossing my little square of sacred space into the trash.
This year, I’m trying to embrace the darkness as much as I wait for the return of the light, and I’m hoping that my Solstice ritual will help me find a place of quiet stillness to see out the year. How will you be celebrating this time of dark and light? Love and light to you and yours this season, and always!