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A Winter Solstice ritual

Today is the eve of the Winter Solstice, or Midwinter's Day. Tomorrow, is the shortest day, the day with the least sunlight of the whole year. Then the sun stands still, appearing to rise at the same point on the horizon each day for 3 days, the 22nd, 23rd and 24th December. And then, on 25th, it begins to move northwards again.

For many who follow the old traditions here in northern Europe, the 25th December is the New Year. It's actually the astronomical New Year too, the time the sun starts moving back northwards again.

This is a very good time for reflection, for understanding that the things that may have seemingly 'gone wrong' this year are excellent learning places! It's a time for reflecting how we can live to our own scripts, to our own core values and that we do not have to conform to other people's beliefs. This Midwinter Standstill is a great time to reconnect to everything that makes us our own unique selves.

If you have time over the next few days, here is something I learned from one of my teachers that I practice each year and thought I would share it with you.


Starting tomorrow, spend some time over the next 3 days, 22nd, 23rd and 24th December, reflecting. Give yourself 30 minutes or a whole hour if you can, to sit quietly somewhere. Choose somewhere you love to be, outdoors is good if you can manage it, somewhere you can be with nature, trees, birds, water are all good. If outdoors isn’t an option, find a quiet corner in a cafe or at home and make this a joyful time of reflection, not a 'task'. Sit quietly, have a journal or notebook and imagine roots going down from your feet into the Earth beneath you and imagine a thread of light going up from your heart to the sun. Feel yourself connected to the universe. Then ask yourself:

1. Am I all still on track? (whatever that means to you)

2. What do I need to do for the next six months?

3. What might I have done better?

4. What stopped me, held me up?

5. What's at the core of what's stopping you?

6. How can I dissolve this (no.5)?

7. How has getting it "wrong" expanded me in ways I'd not before considered?

Be honest, be brutal, but be kind to yourself.

As you ask each question just sip your drink – ideally something warm and comforting. Really enjoy it, really get into the taste, the smell. Doing that will create a deeper connection with yourself and help you get answers more readily.

As the answers come, write them down. And keep on just sitting there, being present there with yourself.

Do this each day over this next 3-day Standstill.

You don’t have to go to the same place every day. Just go where you feel drawn to go. Sometimes it’s the same, sometimes it will be a different place. Get in the groove of listening to your Instincts and allowing them to guide you. You’ll find you learn so much more that way!

On Sun Return, 25th December, make time amongst the festivities to give yourself space alone. Get a coffee, cuppa, glass of wine, maybe a mince pie too, and sit with what you’ve been writing down these past few days.

Just sit with your notes, read them, look at them, allow your feelings to feel them, allow your instincts to get insights, allow your intuition to show you what the future may hold for you. Try your best to keep your thinking brain from frantically overthinking the jewels of information and insights you’ve gathered. Instead, try and feel and marinade them. Doodle down any more reminders of what comes now in this quiet time.

When you’re done (you’ll feel the off-switch go inside yourself), put all your notes away and leave them to brew for a day or three. Over the next few weeks, between now and Imbolc on 1st Feb, take them out (with a cuppa) and ponder them. You’ll get more insights to jot down.

And watch yourself over the coming 6 months, until the Summer Solstice in June. See how you integrate and implement the advice you got from Midwinter. Adjust things to fit as you go along. Change happens. Change is what makes the world go round, along with love.

Whatever you do, don’t beat yourself up about anything! Why not? Because that’s living in the past. That’s looking backwards. That’s feeding the weeds!

Focus on the Now, today, and the future you’re walking into every moment of every day. Just add in the lessons from the past and use them as stepping stones for your new Present.

Life is continual change. And learning.

That’s what makes it such fun!

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