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Winter Solstice 2020: How To Bring Some Light To The Longest Night Of The Year

Spiritual Coach & Ritual Researcher By Barbara Biziou
Spiritual Coach & Ritual Researcher
Barbara Biziou is a spiritual life coach and two-time author of The Joy of Ritual and The Joy of Family Rituals. She holds bachelor's degrees in both Art History and Psychology from NYU, and has been featured in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Oprah.com.
Woman Lighting A Candle In The Darkness

The winter solstice, falling on Monday, December 21, signals the shortest day of the year and the longest night. In many ways, this annual event represents a gateway: an ending and a new beginning.

This year, the solstice falls on the same day as the Great Conjunction—when two planets, Jupiter and Saturn, will come so close that they will appear as one in the sky. Jupiter represents newness and exploration, while Saturn represents rules and traditions, and the two opposites will come together to close out 2020.

The winter solstice may be the darkest day of the year, but it's traditionally been celebrated as a time of light. Many cultures believe that the archetypal Mother gave birth to the sun on this day: It's when the Egyptian deity Isis gave birth to Horus, the sun god, and the Greek Leto gave birth to shining Apollo. In the matriarchal religions, the day marks the rebirth of the goddesses Persephone, Besana, Amaterasu, and Sun Woman.

Here are some of my favorite winter solstice rituals for acknowledging the darkness while celebrating the light:

1. Cleanse and protect using a bowl of salt.

Choose a non-wooden bowl to use for this one: Add sea salt or kosher salt, black peppercorns, cloves, and a bay leaf. Mix the ingredients together and call on the spirit of your home to cleanse the energy of your space and protect you from any negativity. Place the bowl near the front door and replace its contents every few weeks.

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2. Create a solstice wish tree.

In this ritual, ornaments are not merely decorations—they are wishes. Make your own ornaments or personalize ones that you buy at the store. You can write words on them, such as peace, good health, prosperity, or loving partner, or paste pictures on them of things you are hoping to call in: a wished-for car or a place you want to visit next year. Make some wishes for yourself and some for friends, family members, or for the greater good.

I recommend hanging your baubles on a living indoor tree that can eventually be planted back in the earth, or you can decorate a tree outdoors.

3. Express gratitude.

Pour a few drops of cinnamon essential oil into a diffuser or spray bottle, or crush two cinnamon sticks into a small bowl of warm water. Allow the aroma to permeate your space. Take a piece of paper and start listing your material possessions: your home, car, clothes, books, computer, and so on. Then, write one or two reasons each is important to you.

Now, list memories of the places you've been, the paintings you've seen, the music you've heard—and why all of these experiences matter to you.

Finally, make a list of the people who have added value to your life and have helped you become the person you are today. Write or call at least one of them to say how much you appreciate them.

4. Look up.

In many religions, the star symbolizes the guiding light. There is a lot to see in the night sky this solstice season, so go outside and experience the dance of the planets if you can. The Jupiter–Saturn meetup reminds us that each one of us is an opening for light, a gateway through which the absolute can manifest.

On a spiritual level, this alignment shows us the energies ahead. Jupiter gives us freedom and expansion, while Saturn places her limits and rules. Take some time to go inward and see where you need to be free to express yourself. Then, consider what rules you may need to put in place.

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5. Pray for the planet.

Take a few moments to center in your heart, take a few deep breaths, and imagine a beautiful silver and blue lotus blossom is opening in your heart center. From your heart, imagine that you can send pure love to Mother Earth to give her energy and to bring healing to the planet.

6. Shine, shine, shine.

Place some gold glitter in a bowl of water and light a candle to represent light and prosperity. Dip your hand in the water and sprinkle the glitter "sunshine" onto your hair or anoint your hands or face. If you are with others, let each person do so on another. You might also want to play a song that brings in the spirit of light, like the classic "This little light of mine." Then, proceed to celebrate your sparkle.

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