It’s the Winter Solstice! This is one of my favorite holy days, because it symbolizes the power of light over darkness and proves that life is eternal. In the middle of winter, it’s dark and it’s cold where I live. The trees are all bare, the plants have all withered, and the grass is covered in a blanket of white. Things seem very dead, but that’s just an illusion as death always is.
The very shortest day precedes the very longest night of the year, and when dawn comes tomorrow, the sun is reborn. Every day thereafter grows longer as the sun gets stronger. We’ve passed the darkest point and are now on the return trip.
The energy of this holy day is the energy of hope, but more than hope–certainty that goodness prevails, life triumphs, and light returns.
How to Celebrate the Season
This is the time of year when we take some time to mull on the year gone by. What worked for us, what didn’t. We discover what habits of thought and behavior served us well, that we want to enhance in the year ahead. Perhaps more importantly with the energy of the day, what habits of thought and behavior did not serve us?
This is the most powerful time of the year for the energy of breaking habits. Write them down, wad them up, and offer them to the darkness. I burn them in the fireplace so the smoke can take them into that long, dark, cold night. I leave them behind in the year that ends tonight, and begin tomorrow without them.
From then on, I can focus forward.
I also leave my letter to Santa about all the things I’m looking forward to in the coming year, on the mantle with an offering of cookies and milk. I repeat this on Christmas Eve, and then burn that letter as well.
The Ritual of Letting Go
- Pen or pencil
- White candle
- Fireproof dish or small cauldron (or fireplace)
Create sacred space in whatever way feels natural to you. Get your mind relaxed with several long, deep breaths. Focus on the feeling of the air moving in through your nose, down into your lungs, expanding your chest. Focus on the feeling of the air nurturing your cells and empowering your heart. Focus on the air moving outward again, up through your airways, out through your mouth, swirling and eddying into the room around you.
When you’re ready, take your pen and paper, and make a list of every single habit of thought, behavior, or experience you wish to leave behind with the darkness of the year gone by. Do not do this with regret. Do this with gratitude.
On a SEPARATE SHEET, answer the following questions for each thing on your list:
What have I learned from this? What did it come to teach me?
Everything happens for a reason. Our experiences hold up a mirror so we can see what’s inside us. Did we manifest an illness? Is it reflecting an inner attitude that’s a little more pessimistic than optimistic? Is it reflecting fear of losing our health and vitality or an expectation of being unwell? Is it simply showing us life choices that are not serving us well and need to be changed? Really examine this, because nothing comes to us from without. We project it all from within.
Every illness can be released with an internal shift in thinking.
What is the opposite of it; What’s the thing I want instead?
Now that we’ve experienced what we don’t want, we should be much more clear about what we do want. Everything in our life has two opposite ends. The topic of money, for example, can be one of lack or one of abundance. If you’ve experienced lack, then you know clearly that you prefer abundance. So the thing you prefer is abundance. So identify what this experience you wish to be rid of has caused you to desire in its place.
Can I begin to believe more in the preferred thing, than in the unwanted thing?
This is the key. You must believe in abundance in order to have it. You must believe in health in order to have it. You must become the thing you want. It’s easier for some to believe in cancer than to believe in vibrant good health.
To convince yourself that the things you want are real, the method is this. Start listing every single person you know who has what you want. Just write down beautiful examples of people who’ve done what you’re trying to do.
Then, start looking for examples already present in your own life. If it’s abundance, look around you. Do you have a home? Do you have a car? Do you have enough to eat? Do you have a wealth of good friends? Family you adore? Are you surrounded in natural beauty? Do you have pets? Do you have sunshine every day, and stars dotting the sky every night? What do you have plenty of? What do you have ridiculous amounts of?
Count them all. Feel gratitude for them all. Take a moment to appreciate the blessings you have. Write them down.
Turn off all the lights, and light that single candle. It symbolizes the sun being reborn once again, and burning away all you wish to leave behind.
Crumble your first paper, the one where you’ve written down the things you wish to leave behind, and drop it into the cauldron with true appreciation for the new desires they helped you to clarify. Those new blessings you’ll harvest in the coming year would not have been born without the contrast that created the desire for them. Light the paper with the flame from the newborn sun, and let it burn. (Alternatively, toss it into the fireplace, feeling the same energy.)
From that moment on…
Think of what you want instead, look for signs it is already present in your life, and watch it blossom and grow as the year unfolds.
Here is Lisa Thiel’s Winter Solstice Song!