The Winter Solstice, also known as Yule, is the day with the smallest period of daylight, and also the longest night of the year. The date varies slightly each year, but it is usually around December 20 - 23. It is a powerful portal between Fall and Winter and calls us to turn inward and begin a reflective journey for the season ahead.
Winter itself is a time of rest and dreaming of the year ahead. It is a time of hibernation, being cozy, and nourishing our bodies and minds. We know we will need to expend a lot of energy in the spring and summer, so we use this time to rest and prepare. While winter can feel isolating, it is a time of deep, introspective magic. Of reflection and inward soulful journey. We visualize and dream in the winter, knowing that just as spring will slowly unfurl, so shall we. We spend most of our winter days inside, dreaming and visualizing the year ahead. We know it is coming, even if we get impatient and want growth, change, and action. We have faith, and we wait in our knowing.
I recently looked up the definition of 'dormant' because it's often used when talking about winter. You might hear someone talk about how plants and many animals are dormant, so we (humans) should be too. It got me thinking about exactly what that word means. So I looked it up.
And I was surprised!
Dormant, in botany, means "not actively growing but protected from the environment."
This got me thinking about how humans also need to protect themselves during the slower winter months. We bundle up before going outside, eat warm, nourishing foods for fuel, and become more aware of the systems and schedules we have in place that are keeping us from slowing down. During the more introspective period of winter, we may realize that we've been burning the candle at both ends and need more boundaries to ensure our day has long stretches of rest, not just moments or pockets here and there. As we deal with less sunlight and warmth, the things that bring us joy and pleasure become crystal clear. What helps you feel cozy, rested, nourished, secure, and at peace? Focus on those treasures and care for them; they protect you as we move through the long winter.
Colors: Red, green, white, silver, gold, midnight blue
Gemstones: Bloodstone, emerald, garnet, ruby
Trees: Cedar, chestnut, fir, holly, juniper
Flowers & Herbs: Chamomile, ivy, mistletoe, peppermint, rosemary, sage
Animals: Bear, deer, owl, squirrel, tiger, wren
Symbols: Bells, candles, evergreens, lights, pine cones, reindeer, snowflakes, wreaths, yule log
Rituals for the Winter Solstice
Some of my favorite ways to mark the longest night of the year are:
❄️ Spend the night by candlelight
❄️ Reflect on the year and release what you can
❄️ Relax with a mineral salt bath
❄️ Getting up the next morning to watch the sunrise - I love doing this one as I feel like I'm welcoming longer days back, even though it will be colder here for quite some time.