“Listen–are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?” – Mary Oliver
This year the winter solstice falls in the evening of the 21st of December here in Seattle. In the Northern Hemisphere this 1st day of winter is also marked by the Sun’s ingress into the sign of Capricorn. This earthy sign ushers in a stabilizing energy; concretizing the lofty ambitions of the Sagittarius energy we are just leaving behind. This shift in astrological sign will lend support to manifestation as we go forward into the new year.
The end of the year seams to always bring a time of reflection, an inner processing. What did and did not manifest? What is and is not working in our lives? When coinciding with this dwindling of daylight, culminating in the Winter Solstice, we can be call to turn inward and ponder our lives.
The tradition of humans honoring this tipping point, this darkest night of the year; long out dates our current calendar system. The dwindling of daylight and lengthening of night has always been a powerful time, and like our ancestors we can work with this time of change. This is a time of letting go, release, shedding and dropping that which no longer serves us.
There are many rituals humans have done at this time of year and you are welcome to make your own. Setting intention, to the process of letting go is universal at this time – but what speaks to you and your dear ones can be of your own making.
This year I’ve been putting together something new to do with friends, although it has pieces of things I’ve done in the past. Here’s a bit of what I intend to do tomorrow night – take what speaks to you, and add what you feel called to inter weave.
Winter Solstice Liberation
Gather with your friends / family and light some candles. (This can be done alone as well)
Taking a deep breath sit for a moment to reflect on what in your life you would like to let go of, release up to the cosmos.
What have you clung to that no longer serves you?
What do you not wish to carry with you into the New Year?
What do you wish to be liberated from?
Taking a piece of paper draw a large circle in the center.
In side the circle write, draw or paint a picture of what you would like to let go of. It doesn’t have to be pretty, or spelled properly – you will soon me tossing it into a fire – it is the intention that is most important.
When everyone is done, roll your paper up tying a natural- fiber twine around it. As you are tying it off add the twig of a pine tree to your bundle. (Your welcome to add other herbs as well I always love sage and sweet grass – protective and purifying herbs).
If you can, go outside and build a fire – or use a fire place.
As the fire is building, and growing in strength, use this time to share with your dear-ones what you are letting go of. If you don’t wish to share that is fine, just ask them to hold space for you to let go. Even if they don’t know what it is you are letting go of, they can still bare witness to your courage.
When everyone has spoken (or opted not to), one-by-one, with the intention of release and liberation place your rolled of paper and herbs into the fire – if you have a prayer, mantra or quote that speaks to you about the letting-go and healing process feel free to say it as you place your scroll into the fire.
When everyone has gone stay for a moment, inhaling the spirit of liberation and collective love.
You can close the ceremony in any way you feel called to.
I’ve always love “The four immeasurable Thoughts” – from Buddhism. Use this or or something else that speaks to you as this ceremony comes to an end.
“May all sentient beings have happiness and its causes,
May all sentient beings be free of suffering and its causes,
May all sentient beings never be separated from bliss without suffering,
May all sentient beings be in equanimity, free of bias, attachment and anger”.
Happy solstice here’s to the release of the old and the slow returning of the light.
Winter Solstice 12/21/2015 8:49 PM (PST)