This year in the northern hemisphere, today marks the Winter Solstice.
This is the shortest day of the year and the longest night. During a three day period over the Winter Solstice, the sun rises and sets at the same place on the horizon, appearing to stand still. This natural occurrence is at the root of the word "solstice" which means to "stand still of the sun."
The Winter Solstice has been celebrated across many cultural and religious groups around the world for thousands of years.
Traditionally, it is a time for inner reflection and the release of what is unwanted into the darkness, in order to welcome renewal and the return of the light. From this point forward, we have longer and brighter days to look forward to.
The Winter Solstice is an ideal time to turn inward, which falls somewhat ironically during the holiday season — a very busy time for many of us. Amidst all of the hustle and bustle that is characteristic this time of year, there may be great benefits to taking a short pause from the flurry of life, and participating in a simple ceremony for the Winter Solstice.
Some traditions believe that an energetic vortex opens during the sun's transition over the Solstice, during which the possibility for personal and planetary transformation is heightened. Vortex or not, it can't hurt to take time to reflect and release what is unwanted, as we welcome in this new and brighter phase.
The Winter Solstice is the moment on Earth when darkness reaches its peak, just before the return of the light. This is a perfect opportunity to let go of whatever you are ready to release and let it be enveloped in the darkness as you — and the Earth — turn toward the light.
Here are two simple ceremonies you can do with a group or even alone, to ring in the Winter Solstice. Ideally you'll want to partake in the celebration around the time of the sunset for maximum benefit.
Releasing What Is Unwanted