December 21, 2014 is the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.
This year, let your winter solstice celebration be an occasion to look deeply at small things, to feel at home in the world and to be just where you belong.
This is a significant time of ritual, reflection, and renewal. Creating a meaningful celebration of winter solstice, either in place of or in addition to other holiday activities, can help us cultivate a deeper connection to nature and family and all the things that matter most to us. Winter can become a time of feeding the spirit and nurturing the soul, not just emptying our bank account and fraying our nerves.
Here are some wonderful rituals etc. for winter solstice.
Embrace the darkness. Make the solstice an evening of ritual. As the sun sets, turn off all lights and electronic devices. Light several candles and spend the evening reflecting on the dark and light. Use the darkness to help you turn inward and tune into that quiet, internal voice. Meditate on gratitude for the many gifts in your life. Enjoy the opportunity for quiet contemplation and set an intention for the coming year. Invite the impending light into your heart and vow to live joyfully and light-heartedly.
“Hello darkness, my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again,” Simon and Garfunkel sang in a popular song years ago. Make a special effort today to greet darkness and share some of the feelings that arise in you when you think about darkness.
A prayer by Edward Hays from Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim.
A Winter Solstice Prayer
The dark shadow of space leans over us. . . . .
We are mindful that the darkness of greed, exploitation, and hatred
also lengthens its shadow over our small planet Earth.
As our ancestors feared death and evil and all the dark powers of winter,
we fear that the darkness of war, discrimination, and selfishness
may doom us and our planet to an eternal winter.
May we find hope in the lights we have kindled on this sacred night,
hope in one another and in all who form the web-work of peace and justice
that spans the world.
In the heart of every person on this Earth
burns the spark of luminous goodness;
in no heart is there total darkness.
May we who have celebrated this winter solstice,
by our lives and service, by our prayers and love,
call forth from one another the light and the love
that is hidden in every heart.