Winter Solstice Vibes

The shortest day (and longest night) of the year, also known as the winter solstice, marks the end of autumn and the official start of winter. Winter solstice is an ancient pagan holiday known for rituals and traditions that celebrate nature. It is the perfect opportunity to give thanks and set intentions for the coming year.

Here are some wonderful, customary ways to celebrate this powerful threshold day and night and usher in the return of the light.

Build a Yule Altar
Honor the return of the sun by creating a yule altar. The most significant item you’ll need is a candle, which represents the return of the sun. Ideally it will be gold-, silver-, or yellow-hued and will take center stage of your altar. Surround it with talismans of winter, such as boughs of fir, pomegranates, and pinecones. Cleanse the altar with sage or sweetgrass.

Meditate
Winter is the time of year most suited for cultivating growth and inner peace. Take time on the longest night to reflect on the year that has passed and set intentions for what you want to bring forth in the new year. Create a cozy, quiet meditation spot where you won’t be disturbed and visit it for a daily meditation until the new year.

Build a Wreath
In ancient pagan cultures, evergreens represented protection and prosperity. Use winter evergreens like pine, fir, juniper, and cedar to make a wreath to hang on your door.

Burn a Yule Log
The Nordic tradition of burning the yule log was historically done with an entire tree, and was meant to burn for the entire 12 days of Christmas. The tree was carefully chosen and brought into the house with great ceremony. The largest end of the log was placed into the hearth while the rest of the tree stuck out into the room and the log would be lit from the remains of the previous year's log (which had been stored for this occasion). Keep it practical yet cozy and ceremonial with one log. Sit by the fire until the log has burned (watching fire is incredibly meditative and purifying!).

Exchange Solstice Gifts
The practice of holiday gifting has its roots in a winter solstice tradition of exchanging gifts. Don’t worry about going shopping; traditional solstice gifts come from nature. Give a small handmade wreath, beautiful crystals, a plant-based candle, or even seeds. (And if that’s not practical, go ahead and shop Plastic-free.)

The winter solstice is a time to celebrate the natural world. If none of these are doable for you, taking  some time to be in nature is plenty celebration enough. Happy solstice!  We hope yours is full of magic.

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