by Dayna Seraye
In the Northern Hemisphere, December 22nd marks the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year. Long considered a very special time, the ancients observed this time with ceremony, feasting and abundant festivities.
For three days at Winter Solstice, the sun seems to stand still on the horizon before it switches direction and begins moving the other way. Just as the sun seems to pause, it is a wonderful opportunity to pause your normal, everyday routine
and enter into the magic of the Solstice season.
Here are my favorite reasons to celebrate Winter Solstice:
Connect to nature.
The stress of modern life can easily bring us out of balance physically, emotionally and spiritually. One of the easiest ways for me to get back into balance is to connect with nature. Humans are evolutionarily designed to live close to the Earth and in harmony with the rhythms of nature. It actually improves our health when we connect
, whether it be through our breath, bringing our thoughts to nature, or actually getting outside in a beautiful spot in nature. On the Winter Solstice, we connect to the life-giving power of the sun.
Honor the dark.
Just as the day is balanced by the night, the inhale is balanced by the exhale, we need both the light and the dark. In the cycles of nature, the darker, colder winter is the time to slow down, spend time inside, and find more stillness in our lives. Animals go into hibernation. The energy of plant life descends deep below the surface of the Earth into the darkness and warmth of the roots. It is healing for us to allow ourselves to experience the gifts
of this darker time - to slow down, rest more, meditate and check in on a deeper level. What do we really want, from that deepest place? We make our resolutions from there.
Celebrate the Light.
Now this is where it gets really fun. While Winter Solstice is the longest night of the year, from now on the days begin to lengthen. Long celebrated as the "Return of the Light," or "Rebirth of the Sun," Winter Solstice is the time to rejoice
in the fact that the light half of the year has begun again.
Feel the thread that unites us all.
Does "Rebirth of the Sun" sound familiar? The truth is, many of our modern holidays at this time of year originated with the ancient celebration of Winter Solstice. Christmas celebrates the birth of the Son of God. Hanukkah is the Jewish Festival of Lights. Hindus celebrate Diwali, their Festival of Lights, and there are many more examples of holidays from all over the world that celebrate the light at this time of year. When I celebrate Solstice I feel connected to all of humanity
. I remember how similar we all are, despite our seeming differences.
Creating sustainability and healing for the Earth.
Species are going extinct at a mind boggling rate. Polar ice caps are melting. Odd weather patterns are wreaking havoc on humanity. War and conflict between nations is seemingly endless. Conscious change needs to happen to ensure a bright future for all. When we remember that we are all connected and that we are more alike than different, we can create a bigger conversation of peace on the planet. When we feel our connection to nature, we will be inspired to take better care of the earth
and all beings.
How to Celebrate Winter Solstice
There are so many ways to celebrate - from creating a Solstice ritual with friends, to feasting in community, to honoring the day in stillness. Our friends at Celebrate Solstice
have created a FREE Winter Solstice Celebration Handbook
that offers many ideas and practices to inspire your Winter Solstice festivities. You can also learn so much more about this ancient holiday on their website.
Check it out
and happy celebrating!