Welcome to winter, soulful folx. This season is one of my favorites, not necessarily because I love the frigid temps of northeast Ohio, but because this season always feels like a quiet magic to me. I may not always love the transition it brings, and I may sometimes struggle with the dark hours and the things that surface in chilly, quiet moments, but I always feel the quiet, resting magic that allows me to tuck inward, reach for quieter parts of me, and just… play.
Today I spend time reflecting in a broad way. Later I will sit down with something more structured and I will tease apart the year I’ve had, untangle its moments and form a blurry picture of where I’m headed, create intentions, pick a word for the year, all that jazz. But today, on solstice, I sit with a broader view and allow my inner knowing and my available soul helpers to show me what to throw out and what to pack for the journey.
Every year is a little bit different, but each year contains the following key components:
Altar light, journaling, soul helpers, shared space, and burning/cleansing.
I use a lot of candles. Today is the shortest day of the year and part of what I’m honoring is my gratitude for living in a time when I can survive the darkness and the cold. I light candles to remind myself that light exists even when it’s scarce, to welcome the light back with my own tiny flame, to honor the ways in which this season is about illumination, sparks of creativity, and creating our own warmth and light.
I light them because they’re always a part of creating altar space, part of my way of welcoming the elements and my ancestors and all those in need of light into a moment sacred space with me. Sometimes I have a candle that I get specifically for solstice and I light it regularly after solstice has passed to honor the energy of today’s ritual and any insights I want to carry forward.
I spend time with my people. I have a special dinner with family by candlelight and we talk about gratitude and the year we’ve had as a family, and then I head to my office where I have a yearly gathering with the special people in my life who are willing to share solstice space.
I call in the elements, ancestors, soul helpers, our highest available selves, and the land we’re standing on. I drum for a bit while we all gather a sense of what needs to be seen, blessed, and sent packing, offer space for others to journal about and share based on comfort level, drum a bit for the internal part of that work, and then we engage in a ceremony of burning/destroying, while also deciding how we will honor and consistently remain connected to what we’re taking forward into winter.
Remember that today is just one day, a beginning of a season. Deeper dives and further forward motion will come as the season continues. For today, I try to remember to just honor what this day means in terms of transition from a prior year and/or season into something new, with some initial sacred work to honor what’s coming with me and what is finished.
Holding space for all of you today as you honor the same in your own way.