Today marks the Winter Solstice, the beginning of Yuletide, the shortest day of light and the longest night of the year. It’s a time of vision and dreaming, a time to cradle warmth and call in wishes, a time of introspection, joy, and rebirth.
The solstice has been regarded since the Stone Age, and for eons before, since we opened our animal eyes to movements in the heavens above. “Solstice” comes from the Latin “sol,” meaning sun, and “sistere,” to stand still. Today, the sun, which faithfully moves through the sky all year long, appears to pause in its arc and remain still.
Whether you enjoy this sacred time in quietude or merriment, inward journeys or outward landscapes, know that you are weaving threads from humanity’s ancient past and creating the image of our luminous future.
Here are a few ways to celebrate:
If you have a tree in your home, you might choose to do as the ancient Celts did, and revere it for its evergreen ability to live and grow through all things, as a sign of divinity and love. Or do as the Druids did and decorate it with totems of gifts you’d like bestowed upon your hearth, heart, and home.
If you don’t have a tree, spark some candles or a bonfire, the old origin of today’s festive twinkle lights.
Hang some chimes or bells, believed by our ancient ancestors to rustle and ring from tree branches when spirits were present.
Use traditional warming herbs, like ginger or cinnamon, to spice some mead, which was traditionally ready to drink on this day, or wine, or apple cider.
Use this day of hallowed stillness, this darkest day of our year, to call light back into your life and back to our Earth.
The holiday and winter seasons are a time for celebration and family, so just as you may have special memories of your parents and grandparents, they too remembered their own grandparents, who remembered their own grandparents, who remembered their own grandparents, and so on, all the way back, to time immemorial, to a tribe of lovers and children who went out and found the sun, overhead, perfectly still, who knew this marked our darkest time, this time of rebirth — the point at which they beckoned the light all through night to finally return — and to bring with it a green Earth, and animals, and fruit.
Take this time to delight in the foods we have to eat, our bodies’ heat, and to the fires we can make to warm and rekindle our world.
May you find peace and love in the darkness tonight. May you rejoice in the returning of the light. May you always have faith that abundant harvests will return, that evergreen gifts will be laden upon our lives, and that you yourself hold a sacred place in our ancient human family.