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Winter Solstice…let the celebrations begin!

Happy Solstice!  No matter what your particular religious affiliation may be, the solstice is a wonderful pagan celebration that everyone should honor.  The big holidays have so much hype we all run around getting thing done, preparing, buying gifts etc. etc. and sometimes forget to actually relax.  Well, this is the perfect occasion.  The winter solstice is the longest night of the year, conversely, the shortest day. Which means, people, that even though we haven’t gotten winter weather yet, the days start getting longer from here out! I find that very comforting when our fair city is covered in ice and snow– we are getting lighter every day.

Here are some pared down celebrations that everyone can do at home without much preparation and without a lot of time.  One of my favorite traditions involves the burning of holly to say farewell to the past year with appreciation and releasing old pains.  Then, each person burns an acorn to represent the year ahead and the hopes we have for it.  Now, I don’t happen to keep holly and acorns around my house SO, I print out coloring pages and my daughter and I color them together and talk about the solstice while we color. Then we burn our “representative” holly sprigs and acorns.

We also do a candle light circle.  Each family member get a candle and there is a central candle as well to represent the sun, we start in the dark and I read one of my favorite prayers and then light each individual candle and together the center.

The longest night has come once more,
the sun has set, and darkness fallen.
The trees are bare, the earth asleep,
and the skies are cold and black.
Yet tonight we rejoice, in this longest night,
embracing the darkness that enfolds us.
We welcome the night and all that it holds,
as the light of the stars shines down.

When we light our fire that will eventually consume our acorns and holly, we each take a moment to talk about something we like about winter. Snowflakes, cozy fires, hot chocolate, making snow angels etc. Here I read my two other solstice prayer choices:

Great sun, wheel of fire, Ra in your glory,
hear me as I honor you
on this, the shortest day of the year.
Summer has gone, passed us by,
the fields are dead and cold,
all of earth sleeps in your absence.
Even in the darkest times,
you light the way for those who would need a beacon,
of hope, of brightness,
shining in the night.
Winter is here, and colder days coming,
the fields are bare and the livestock thin.
We light these candles in your honor,
that you might gather your strength
and bring life back to the world.
O Ra, mighty sun above us,
we ask you to return, to bring back to us
the light and the warmth of your fire.
Bring life back to earth,
Bring light back to earth.
Hail Ra! Ruler of the sun!

 And I always like to end with a more general blessing:

I am grateful for that which I have.
I am not sorrowful for that which I do not.
I have more than others, less than some,
but regardless, I am blessed with
what is mine.

Happy Solstice, I hope you take a moment to embrace and enjoy the wonders of our natural world today and tonight.

 

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