Happy December! One of my favorite days of the year, the Winter Solstice, is occurring this month! December 21st will be the longest and darkest night of the year. One never needs a reason to celebrate the many blessings in their life, but the Solstice is a wonderful time to check in and remind ourselves of how numerous they are.
The Winter Solstice is known as a meaningful time for intention-setting. Many of the traditional rituals honor the energy of rebirth, transformation, creativity, new beginnings, and the release of unwanted habits. During the Winter Solstice, we focus on what we would like to bring forth with the return of the light and our hopes and dreams for our highest expression.
Winter months and the time surrounding the holidays are perfect for reflection and healing because they are an opportunity to move inward and take stock of the year that has come and gone. As we hunker down in the Winter, we are preparing for the growth to come. Personally, I know that the sun setting at 5pm has made me want to be cozy at home more often. It’s a time to heal and nourish our bodies, minds, and spirits.
The Ranch will honor this time of reflection with a special chant, meditation, sound healing, and ceremony, all of which will focus on the inward journey of contemplating the year that is almost gone. For those of us who may not be at The Ranch during the Winter Solstice, I’m honored to share a few of my favorite rituals of the season. I hope you will join me in practicing them this month.
- I do sun salutations daily to move my body and tune in with my breath. I like to do these as soon as I get up, as close to the sunrise as possible. On the Solstices (Summer too!), I do my best to do 108 rounds, which is also a terrific workout.
- Burn sage in my house to purge myself and my space of negativity and past traumas.
- Clean and declutter around my house to remove energy blockers.
- Play guitar, paint, write, or any other creative pursuit that calls to me. All the lessons from the year have the potential to be seen in these creations.
- Light a candle (or two!) representing the winter sun to invite my own daylight into my space and make the mundane activities I’ll do today (reading, eating, taking a bath) special and spiritual. It also allows me to appreciate the modern conveniences I often take for granted.
- Enjoy a meal to celebrate the abundance of the fall harvest. I don’t know yet if it will be by myself or with loved ones, but either way I’ll be appreciating the bounty of the harvest and getting nice and full so I can sleep peacefully through the long night with a warm heart, home, and belly.
- Journaling my thoughts and intentions (getting a head start for my New Year’s intentions!) to release what’s no longer serving me. When I give these thoughts to the page, they take up less space in my brain and make room for new ones. This practice allows me to honor the light and dark in myself. In past years, I have written things I want to let go of on pieces of paper and thrown them into a fire (a safe, controlled fire, of course!) to watch them literally disappear. It’s a very satisfying activity.
December 22 is a pivotal day that brings the return of the sun. The days will begin to get longer again, slowly but surely, until we celebrate the longest day in June (the Summer Solstice is June 21).