Celebrate The Winter Solstice With A Sunset Ceremony

Written by Kaia Roman

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

  • Light a fire in a fireplace or other safe place.
  • Think about what are you ready to let go of: Is it fear? Lack? Worry? Regret? An unfulfilling job? A toxic relationship?
  • Write each thing down on a small piece of paper.
  • Announce out loud what you are releasing it as you toss each piece of paper into the fire.

Greet The Light

  • Think about the things you are welcoming into your life with the return of the light: What do you want to experience, achieve, or realize?
  • Write each thing down on a small piece of paper.
  • Announce out loud what you are welcoming into your life as you toss each piece of paper into the fire.
  • Share a bountiful and hearty winter feast by candlelight, decorating the table with herbs, pine cones, evergreen branches, or other items found in nature.

And here is a short Winter Solstice blessing you can incorporate into your ceremony:

"As the Earth turns, light returns. The light of the sun has returned to us, bringing life and warmth with it. The shadows will vanish, and life will continue. We are blessed by the light of the sun."

Remember as you light the fire and candles for your celebration, do so with the intention of bringing more light into the world. How can you help make the world a brighter place and bring light into the lives of those around you? Set an intention to increase your inner light in the coming year.

Allow yourself to feel renewed at the Winter Solstice and ready to welcome the new year with power and grace!

Cowritten by Sara Santokh Kaur.

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