5 Rituals To Ring In Winter (Which Officially Starts Tomorrow, BTW)
The winter solstice—the point in the northern hemisphere's calendar when the night is longest and the day is shortest—happens on December 21st. From the 22nd onward, the days will steadily get lighter, so the winter solstice is seen as a symbolic time of death and rebirth, the darkness inevitably giving way to the light.
Because of astrological, energetic, and cultural forces, different days in the calendar have a different type of energy and power to them. Look upon December 21st as a chance to go deep inside yourself and reflect, which is something winter asks us all to do. Create some sacred time to drop anchor, connect with your intuition, get answers, and set new intentions. It's the perfect day to perform a ritual—here are five ideas to get the wheels turning:
1. Seek answers to the questions that this past year brought up for you.
What in your life has been dark for the past six months since the summer solstice, and what cracks of light are you beginning to see? What has been difficult for you since the height of summer, when the days slowly began getting shorter and darker? Maybe you've had some financial worries or issues with your boss, or you might have developed a chronic physical condition like a skin rash or stomach pains. Think about what has caused you the most consistent headache (either figuratively or literally) since the summer solstice.
A seed-planting ritual
Once you've identified an issue, sit and ponder some of the cracks of light you are beginning to see around this issue. Find something that has shifted in a positive way around this issue, and feel into the gratitude of that. Close your eyes and let yourself experience warm, thankful, hopeful emotions around this issue for a few moments. This humble gratitude energy is a great place to manifest from! Connect to your spiritual guidance squad and ask for even more light to shine into this situation in the coming weeks and months as the sun also shines more light on the world. Open your eyes and clap your hands. Then say softly, "As it is above, so it is below," or "On earth as it is in heaven." You have just planted a sacred seed in the Universe's soil with your winter solstice prayer. Now it's time to watch to see how it grows.
2. Connect with your intuition (three times!).
On the morning of the winter solstice, ask your intuition to give you guidance. Whether you are spending December 21st child wrangling or working at an office or getting ready for a holiday gathering, try to be mindful of the sacredness of this day. As souls in human form we are all sacred, but stopping to acknowledge that now and again can be a great way to open up and access our intuition.
A ritual for intuition
On the morning of the winter solstice, while you are in the shower, commuting to work on the train, or reading the news with your morning coffee, ask your intuition or your higher self to send you some important intuitive guidance via one of the four clairs. In my new book Angel Intuition, I offer lots of information and exercises to help you connect with the four clairs—clairaudience (hearing intuitive information as a voice in your mind), clairvoyance (seeing intuitive information as an image in your mind), claircognizance (knowing intuitive information like a download from heaven), and clairsentience (feeling intuitive information like the energy of a room, the emotions of others, or gut instincts). Touch in with this intention to receive guidance from your intuition three times today—once in the morning, once at midday, and once at dinnertime. (Three is considered a sacred or holy number in many spiritual traditions.)
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3. Break out your favorite divination tool.
As the winter solstice is a sacred day on the mystical calendar that has been celebrated since ancient times, it's an excellent time to use your favorite ancient divination tool to get divine guidance. Runes, the I Ching, a pendulum, a tarot deck…grab whatever tool you have handy or are most comfortable with.
A personal divination ritual
Set aside some time on the day of the winter solstice and go to a quiet room where you can shut the door to block out other people's energy. Take a few moments to center and ground yourself—close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Once your mind chatter has slowed down and you can feel into and connect with the sacred energy of the day, get out your favorite divination tool. Hold the card deck, pendulum, etc., between your palms for a minute, sending this tool clear, healing energy. Your palms contain strong chakra centers! Now give yourself a reading. Remember that you are a powerful spiritual being and a natural mystic.
4. Journal about your winter solstice message.
Often during highly charged times, like Mercury retrograde or the winter solstice, we will receive a special message from the Universe. Discerning what this message is so we can use this helpful advice to improve our lives is all about having the time to mindfully reflect.
A ritual for reflection
At the end of the day on the winter solstice but before you get too sleepy, take out a journal and reflect on all the meaningful things that happened during the last 24 hours. Intuitive guidance from the Universe and your own higher self is often the memories that stick out in your mind at the end of the day. Sift through the worry thoughts and mind chatter to the gold—what interesting synchronicities happened today that popped back up into your mind again and again? Were there wise words you heard from a friend or even a stranger? Did you read an article that had you still pondering its message long after you stepped away from your computer? Did you have any information from your intuition come in today as ah-ha ideas, gut instincts, or strong feelings? See if you can compose your winter solstice message in one or a few sentences in your journal. This could be a fun exercise to do each year, and then look back in your old journals for previous winter solstice messages.
5. Think about what you want to call in in the new year.
What in your life is wanting to die so something else can be born? Is there a job, relationship, attitude, or habit that you know in your gut is on the way out? Maybe you already have had inklings of what might be born in its place, or maybe you have no clue (although, trust me, something better or more appropriate will be born). Winter begins dying tomorrow so summer can begin coming to life—find the parallel in yourself.
A ritual for rebirth
Find a quiet place where you can meditate for a few minutes undisturbed. Get in a comfortable position, put on some sacred music like nature sounds or soft instrumentals, and silently ask your intuition to give you guidance about what might be dying in your life right now and what is waiting to be born. Pay attention to any images you see in your mind's eye, words you hear, or thoughts you have.