The 21st of December marked the first day of astronomical winter, a season of deep rest, regeneration, death and rebirth. This day also marked the winter solstice – where we are enveloped in more darkness than light, and while it marks the beginning winter, from this day, more light begins to filter through, lingering with us for longer and longer as we continue our dance through the wheel of the year, and move toward spring once again.
While the solstice lasts for but a moment, we can use this day as a reminder to prepare for winter, to allow of desires for the coming months ahead to rest deep in our hearts and wombs. We can use this time to “Winter”, to connect to the outer seasons, and possibly magnify the potency of the inner season that you may be moving through. We can connect deeper to the Wise Woman within, stepping in time with the life/death/rebirth cycles within and without. What projects, ideas, ways of being and relationship of seasons past are ready to be transformed?
The art of letting go allows death to move through, which allows for whatever it is to be reborn into something new. Winter teaches us that nothing is ever lost, rather it is transformed.
Through death, we celebrate life. There are powerful energies at play during the time of the winter solstice, and all throughout winter; this important season offers up a chance for us to move deeper into the darkness, deeper into own womb space. This is a potent time for reflection, as we celebrate the darkness and welcome the return of the sun.
There are many different traditions for marking the Winter Solstice, and coinciding with the Winter Solstice is also Yule, which is on of the 8 seasonal events on the Wheel of The Year. In ancient times people knew that this was the day with the longest night, and they celebrated the darkness and the winter, knowing that while the earth lay dormant, life would spring forth once again.
Winter, and the Winter Solstice is a beautiful time to let go and create space for new life, new beginnings and transformation.
Here are some purposeful Winter Cleansing Rituals that you can use to immerse yourself in this winter as we head toward lighter and longer days.
1.Write a letter to your darkness/ allow all of your darker thoughts and feelings to emerge onto paper. You can release and burn your words afterward. This can also be done over the dark moon (the two days leading up to the new moon)
2. Self enquiry questions
(Journal or speak out loud)
Where is shame coming up for me right now? What actions do I believe I have done that have caused me harm and why? Can I discover the benefits of those actions?
What/who am I am feeling envy toward? What is my envy telling me that I may want for myself?
How am I expressing my anger, rage and frustration? Am I judging myself for experiencing these emotions?
What parts of me would I like to bring out of the darkness, to nourish and allow to grow?
3. Create an Altar
Creating an altar is a beautiful way to honour and bring a focal point of intention to any sabbat. Use you intuition, feel into the energies of winter, the crone, death and rebirth – some ideas for your altar could be
Tarot cards representing death/rebirth or oracle cards
A Yule log or branch
Holly or mistletoe/evergreen foliage
A wreath to symbolise the wheel of the year
Any red, green, or white crystals
Ash, frankinsense lavender and rosemary
White, black and silver candles
A representation of something in your shadow that you’d like to alchemize and release as you move forward into spring.
Other winter practices
Clear and cleanse your home and bring foliage and herbs into your space such as bay leaves, mistletoe, holly and rosemary.
Light a white candle everyday to welcome the return of the sun
Write a list of what you would like to let go of and transform
Create a crystal grid/place crystals around your home such as carnelian, lapis lazuli, citrine, black obsidian and amethyst.
Connect with your inner wise woman (the crone) and listen to her intuitive wisdom, what needs to be transmuted and transformed.
Honouring winter, both internally and externally can be as simple as deeping your connection to nature, listening to the wisdom that all around us, and within us. Spend time daily in nature, amongst the sleeping trees and listen to mother earths gentle whispers.
I’d love to hear about your winter practices – you can connect with me on instagram or facebook.