The Solstice, by definition is the time when the the earth’s northern hemisphere is tilted farthest away from the sun. These astrological tides throughout the year are opportunities for all of us to synchronize our energies with the larger forces. Each solstice has a unique astrological fingerprint which can be used to customize magic and ritual work. One year the moon will be full during the solstice. Another year it will be waning. In 2018 the full moon occurred the day after the solstice. In 2020 there is a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn during the solstice.
I watch for those moments of astrological or seasonal alignment and use them to add power and oomph to my magic. I’m sharing that process here with all of you so that you can choose to use the narrative and spellwork I’m creating, but also with the idea that it might inspire you to start watching for your own intuitive alignments. Doing magic this way forces you to stay on your toes, stay observant, and be willing to adjust your plans late in the game. Encouraging that sort of flexibility in your magical practice is not only good for your spiritual creativity, it’s good for your ability to adjust to change in the rest of your life too.
Life and magic are both a creative. Let’s use that to empower our solstice practices.
After I’ve had that intuitive moment where I see something that resonates with my heart, I do research. In this case I already know a lot about the myths surrounding the solstice. This time I feel called to focus on the moon, so I looked up some of my moon research, including month names, since many early calendars were based on moon cycles.
The Anglo-Saxon for the month of December is Hailag-mānod or “holy month”. The Celtic name was Dumannios or darkest depths. The Lithuanian name for December is Gruodis or “lumpy frozen land” because it is the beginning of winter. Some of the other germanic languages refer to month that are “before yule” and “after yule” indicating that yule was a temporal marker.
In terms of deity and myth, I honor the moon as Menulis or Meness. In many northern European cultures the moon is seen as masculine while the sun is seen as feminine. I honor the her as Saule, the sun goddess who weakens each year and then is reborn or strengthened on the solstice. I tell the story of how she was captured and then the stars released her. It’s easy to pawn off the story of the sun captured as a tidy myth about how the sun shrinks in power each year, but when I let myself delve into the myth I think about how trauma is remembered. We often feel our own trauma and pain echo through the years in our own lives. For me, the beginning of October has become a difficult time. For Saule, maybe it is the solstice that is the memory of her own trauma. This is the story my intuition tells me.
Other years the solstice has been dark and there have been times that I felt the cold winds of the Wild Hunt in my soul. I shivered in my home even as we kept the candlelight vigil on solstice night. This year the moon is there to light the way and keep things bright. It reminds me of how we can ask for help in our difficulties. I see the moon as buffering the darkness this year. Frankly, it’s a good time for lessening of darkness. Internment camps, erasure of transfolk, and an American Nazi resurgence just pile on top of underlying problems of climate change and energy addiction. It’s been a tough year.
So this year I will light my candle on the sunset of the solstice. I will pray for the sun’s strength but also for the strength of all women. I will pray for the men in their lives to brighten their paths. Not to lead them, or to do the work for them, but to hold up a gentle illumination in order to make the path a little friendlier. I will honor the moon for this work and send out my magic that we might assist those who are as steady as the sun.
A Prayer for the Winter Solstice with a Full Moon:
Sun Goddess, steady one, who lights each and every day, I pray in thanks for you.
I pray for all the women who struggle to center their lives on service,
Who guide their families, who grow their gardens, who nag, and brag, and teach.
I pray for those who have suffered, who have cried in pain and anguish,
Who remember their suffering with sorrow.
I pray for those who survived, I pray that they may thrive.
Moon God, tide maker, changing one, I pray in thanks to you.
I pray for those men who ache in this world wanting to help.
I pray to the changing moon that they find the path to a gentle healing light that does not rule or control.
May we all learn how to listen, and how to sit with suffering as a companion.
May we all rise from our cries of sorrow to greater strength and compassion.
May our communities be resilient and our lives be meaningful.
May we give more than we take,
And may we we not break as we change and become the ones we need to be.
Sun Goddess and Moon God, bright ones, blessed light and he who reflects,
Be with us as we we end the year and start the next.
May your new year be fruitful and may your healing make you stronger. If you would like to support my work, please consider becoming a patreon in the coming year.