Winter Solstice Rituals

You may already know that tomorrow is one of the most significant cosmic events of the year: The Winter Solstice​​.

I’d like to share some information about this auspicious time and how we can utilise the energy available to us all with simple rituals​​.

About the Winter Solstice

The 21st of December is the moment when the earth’s tilt reaches its tipping point, bringing the northern hemisphere furthest away from the sun and the southern hemisphere closest to the sun​​. This results in the longest night of the year for those of us in the northern part of the world and the shortest night for those in the southern part​​.

Although this date is also known as ‘Midwinter’ above the equator and ‘Midsummer’ below the equator and it may indeed feel more like we are “in the middle of it” than at the end of anything; astrologically speaking, it is the end of a 6 month cycle where days have been getting longer or shorter depending on where you are, and the beginning of another 6 month cycle where the opposite will begin to happen​​.

And why does this matter?

Simply put: The macro and the micro are directly linked or in other words as the Earth shifts so do we​​. This planetary transition from darkness to light (for those of us in the north) is associated with death and rebirth and is a great time to consider what parts of ourselves must die for a new version of ourselves to come into existence.

Winter solstice rituals

As we are plunged into darkness for the longest night of the year we can connect with the light within ourselves with this simple practice known as Trāṭaka Meditation.

We can also use this time to go within and contemplate the past 6 months and set our intentions for the 6 months ahead of us​​. I recommend doing the meditation first and answering the journaling questions after.

Practice tools 

  • Cushion to sit on
  • Blanket to keep yourself warm
  • Candle and candle holder
  • Furniture to place the candle on so it is level with your third eye chakra (between your eyebrows)
  • Journal & pen
  • Incense or smudge stick to purify the space
  • Water or tea to keep yourself hydrated

Trāṭaka Meditation

  • Create your space for practice (Choose a quiet space where you will not be interrupted and where the candle won’t be blown out) and light incense or a smudge stick to begin the ritual
  • Sit in a meditation pose and take a few clearing breaths 
  • Light the candle and begin to breathe slowly and deeply
  • Gaze at the centre of the flame just above the wick for as long as feels comfortable 
  • Close your eyes and turn your gaze up to your third eye chakra 
  • Try to keep the image of the flame in your awareness for as long as possible
  • When the image disappears open your eyes again to gaze at the candle
  • Repeat this process for 10-20minutes

The flame of the candle represents your inner light and by gazing at it you can connect with the unseen light within you that is always lit even when you are not aware of it​​.

Benefits of Trāṭaka meditation

This ancient meditation technique has many benefits from increased concentration to improving mental and emotional wellbeing​​.

Our gaze and breathing patterns influence our mental activity and emotional state therefore by learning to slow our breath and still our gaze we can consciously come back to a more relaxed state any time anywhere​​.

  • Journaling prompts you may find insightful:
  • What has happened in the past 6 months? 
  • What did you learn?
  • What did you overcome? 
  • What are you ready to let go of? (beliefs, behaviours, habits)
  • How can you use our experiences of the past 6 months to help you blossom?

Taking the time to ask ourselves these questions helps us make the subconscious conscious and consequently make space for new ways of being – allowing for a new version of You to be born​​.

Connect to your heart and envision the life you want to live – perhaps you are already living it, perhaps not. 

Remember most of the time we tend to be our own biggest obstacle​​ and ‘impossible’ is mostly a matter of perception 😉 .

  • What does it feel like? 
  • What do your days look like? 
  • Who surrounds you? 
  • How do you give back?
  • What steps do you need to take to move closer to the life you dream of?
  • What can you do today to begin the transition?

I hope you can make the time to practice these 2 rituals in and that you find them enlightening and inspiring. If you are not able to do it on the night of the solstice, do not worry, the energy is maximised in the days prior and after the event.

My warmest wishes to you and your loved ones,

Melissa

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