Depending where you are in the world, you’re either in the midst of cold weather or gearing up for a hot summer. If you’re wrapping up warm and finding the days growing darker, the winter solstice is arriving, whereas if you’re in warmer climates, the opposite is true, and the summer solstice is growing near. The shortest and longest days of the year retrospectively, the solstice is a time to think inwards, reflect, and set intentions for the season ahead.
Symbolically this is a turning point in the seasons and a powerful time to stop, reflect, and give thanks for what we each have in our lives. It's also a momentary step back from our day to day successes and trials, and remember and feel our place in the bigger picture and the cosmos. It is a powerful time to honor the sun, which gives all things on our planet life.
Taking some time for some simple solstice rituals is a great idea to bring in the new season, and to think about what you want to welcome into the year ahead.
Here are some simple rituals to honor the solstice, wherever you are in the world.
Winter Solstice Ritual Ideas
Create a yule altar
Ancient cultures used to make offerings during the winter months, to ensure the sun would return from beyond the horizon each day. You can carry on this ritual by creating a yule altar, to honor the return of the sun. Bright candles in colors of gold or yellow are perfect for this, to light and reflect on your intentions for the season ahead. You can even create a shrine of natural objects such as pinecones or berries (or use a Christmas wreath), and cleanse the air around you by burning sage. You can even adapt your Christmas tree into your altar, by adding sun shaped ornaments.
Create a meditation space
Creating somewhere quiet and sacred to set your intentions is a great ritual for the winter solstice. Find winter colored fabrics and cushions such as white, red, blue and green, to represent purity, prosperity, stability and harmony. Use these colors and watch the sunrise on the solstice, to set your intentions and connect with the earth around you.
Find an empty notebook and use it for a journal dedicated to the winter solstice. Make wishes for your friends and family, and perhaps the rest of the earth. Use your journal to write down your intentions for your new year ahead.
This easy ritual just requires a few candles. Gather your loved ones for a celebration, and light one large candle to represent the sun and symbolize the power of oneness. Then light a candle for each of your guests, and have them blow it out, offering gratitude for the warmth and light of the sun.
Summer Solstice Ritual Ideas
The summer solstice marks the longest day of the year. It can be a celebration of light, and invites a connection to all your senses and the elements with the sun - the source of all energy.
Show gratitude to nature
Getting outside when the sun is shining light in the sky is a great way to celebrate the summer solstice. Summer solstice is a great time to get back to nature, and immerse yourself in the sunlight. Give thanks to the sun while you’re getting back to nature, and think about how it supports all life.
Even though it’s at the middle or end of the year, summer solstice is a great time for growth and fresh starts. And growth starts best when you have some time to self-reflect. It’s empowering to acknowledge and understand where you are, and think about the ways you’d like to grow or change to get to where you want to be.
Do something creative
Your mind and soul will crave creativity during a solstice, and summer especially helps to unlock creativity and expand our way of thinking. We’re far more likely to do something different or creative during the summer, such as taking on an adventure, going to galleries, go on holiday. Create an ‘experience’ for yourself and unlock your creative juices. If you’re still at a loss for creative inspiration - why not start a dream journal? The best way to remember your dreams and listen to your subconscious is the writing down your dreams as soon as you wake up. You can have some serious breakthroughs in creativity just by remembering your dreams.
End the solstice with a sun ritual
You can set up a sun ritual to draw in the energy of the sun and new season. Do this by drawing a circle with a dot in the middle, which will represent the sun. Place four candles in each direction of the circle, and face south. On the north side of your circle, write down everything you want to leave behind in the new season. On the south side, write down everything you want to take with you in the new season. To the left, to the east side, write down everything you want to learn and things you’d like to manifest. Now light the candles, north then south, then west, then east.
You can offer your thanks to the sun by practicing yoga, especially sun salutations. Sun Salutations are included in many yoga practices, and are an energizing sequence of poses which link your body, breath and mind, to revitalize your being - both physical and spiritual. Practice your sun salutations outside if possible, to fully experience the energy that the sun gives.
By Amy Cavill
Try these two solstice rituals with Natalie Maisel!
Yule (Winter) Ritual
Summer Solstice Ritual
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