Simple ways to celebrate winter solstice
I've always thought of the solstices as the earth's true religion.
Winter solstice may have been celebrated by humans as early as 10,200 B.C. Many cultures around the world have long celebrated the weeks surrounding the winter solstice and the longest night of the year. The moment when the days begin to get longer signifying the coming of spring. The Inca Empire payed homage to the sun god Inti at a winter solstice celebration called Inti Raymi (Quechua for “sun festival”). The ancient Norse and Germanic peoples celebrated Yule from winter solstice through January. In Roman times, Saturnalia was a time when food and drink were plentiful and the normal Roman social order was turned upside down.
Many of us participate in solstice symbology even if we don't realize it. The Christmas traditions of decorating trees. caroling, holding feasts, lighting fires, taking time off from work and spending time with family are all part of these ancient traditions. In the past few years I've tried to be more conscious about honoring this important natural and astronomical cycle and it's impact on us emotionally and psychologically.
Here are some simple ways to honor the solstice as we say goodbye to the night and welcome the sun back (at least in the Northern Hemisphere).
Hang some natural bird feeders with pine cones, bird seed and peanut or almond butter
Create a nature altar of found objects like rocks, leaves, pine cones, nuts, dried berries
Go for an evening walk reflecting on the unconscious aspects of your life, such as dreams, fears, wishes, and long held beliefs as the beginning of shifting old patterns
Spend the evening by candlelight or fire light honoring the darkness
Eat or Drink something specific to the season (apples, chestnuts, oranges, squash, hot chocolate, Irish coffee, mulled cider, hot toddy, wassail)
Welcome back the sun with a walk, yoga poses, a song or even a brief outside meditation
A few songs to get you in the spirit. Happy Solstice!