Winter Solstice – Time for Our Spirit to Transform
What is the Solstice?
December 22nd marks the December solstice, also known as the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. It is the shortest day of the year because earth’s Northern Hemisphere points farthest from the sun and the sun is at its southernmost point in the sky. In ancient times, the harsh winter months brought times of struggle for survival and Winter Solstice was a time for celebration because the sunrise after this darkest, longest night of the year brought hope and spiritual awakening.
People all over the world have celebrated this solstice with festivities and rituals.
1. Newgrange in Ireland
An ancient Stone Age temple holding ceremonial importance where spiritual, astrological and religious worship was carried out on Winter Solstice. Here the Winter Solstice sun sends light down the cruciform corridor and chamber creating a cross of light representing the return of light over darkness.
2. Chichen Itza Pyramid in Mexico
A place of worship for the Mayans, marking the Winter Solstice and many other celestial events. People have gathered for ceremonies at the temple for centuries, watching the Solstice sunlight travel down the side of the pyramid, as it illuminates the stairs and lights up the serpent head, giving the impression of the Snake God slithering down the mountain to earth.
3. Stonehenge Pillars in England
A circular setting of large standing stones that are designed to mark the summer and Winter Solstice. The pillars are aligned with extreme mathematical precision so when any solar or celestial event occurs, the light striking the pillar indicates what celestial event is happening, similar to a sun dial but much more sophisticated.
The Solstice has been celebrated not just from an astronomical perspective but also from a spiritual one. The Pagans celebrated this not just as a festival that honours the seasonal cycle of the year but also as the rebirth of their God figure. Yule is celebrated over a 12-day period beginning on the December Solstice and ending on Yule night, 1st of January; many believe this is where the 12 days of Christmas originated from.
Yule is the seed time of the year when the Goddess mother gives birth to the sun king on the longest night of the year, bringing new spark of hope- the light of the world. On Yule, bonfires were (and still are) lit to honour the old Pagan Gods. It is a major festival celebrating the end of darkening nights and the return of increasing light. Christians used this time of the year for the birth of Jesus. Fire festivals throughout the world celebrated the rebirth of the sun on the Winter Solstice.
The Roman festival of Saturnalia involved decorating the house with evergreen trees and bushes and gifts exchanged. Followers of Mithraism in Persia celebrated the Winter Solstice as the eve of birth of the sun god Mithras, marking the victory of light over darkness with feasts and prayers. Finally, the Winter Solstice is celebrated by the Japanese as the sun goddess Amaterasu coming out of her cave.
What the Solstice Means for Our Souls
Just like the ancient structures and shrines lit up with the rays of the solstice sun, our hearts and minds have the healing path offered by the renewing solstice light. This traditional importance of our relationship to light is translated into our consciousness defining our relationship to the spiritual light. Through the ages, in various cultures, we have celebrated the birth of God into human form as a way of enlightening our souls with God’s light.
Opening our hearts to the universe at this magical time brings us the chance to rebuild our lives in sync with the rebirth of the light.
- The longest night of the year is spiritually the time to look inward and tune ourselves with the Winter Solstice.
- Our subconscious and our intuition is the strongest at this time and it is a time to trust, to close our minds and souls to the outside and focus on what we can feel.
- Using our inner peace and clarity, we make our way out of the past confusions and we make choices based on what our spiritual soul tells us at this important time.
We can use this time to have faith and trust our senses as we make decisions and step forward from the Winter Solstice. It is a time to purify our souls and fill our lives with hope and love for the future, leaving behind the struggles and obstacles of the past by harvesting the spiritual strength available to us from the Solstice Sun. It is the time to redefine our lives in the direction we want- it is indeed a time for spiritual re-growth.
A Ritual You Can Do at Home
One simple Solstice ritual that can help us harness the healing powers that the universe has to offer us at this time is by lighting a white candle on this day to manifest what we dream about.
We can bring back light in our lives and allow new beginnings by lighting this candle, holding it in our hands, closing our eyes and asking the angels around us to help guide and protect us as we make our way into the future. Ask to be released from the past and from all that no longer holds value in our lives. Ask for wisdom, for love, compassion and strength to create the life that we envisage. As we close our eyes and breathe deeply, we can feel our souls centring and connecting with our angels. We can visualise a future as we want it to be. As we open our eyes, we remember to keep the faith and awareness of the happiness in our life we know we deserve!
Let us all use this Winter Solstice as a time when the spirit within all of us has the opportunity to transform our souls from inner darkness into light.