winter solstice rituals

Meaning of the Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice rituals have been celebrated for thousands of years because it marks the shortest day of the year in the Nothern hemisphere. The word “solstice” means, in Latin, “for the sun to stand still”. From Earth it does, in fact, appear that the Sun briefly pauses before pivoting to change directions. 

This change is a turning point in the seasons, but the oh, so brief pause of the sun can open us up to experience a shift in consciousness if we allow it. Both an ending and a beginning, the solstice can help us close one chapter of our lives and open the next. 

Many cultures have celebrated the Winter solstice with large festivals and get-togethers. But during the pandemic, gatherings are not always an option. This gave me the opportunity to create my own Winter solstice rituals in solitude. 

Celebrating the Winter Solstice in Solitude

Here are some ways I plan to deepen my connection to the Sun, celebrate the change of seasons, and give thanks for the dark long nights of the last few months.

  • I will be present for the sunrise and the sunset on the day of the solstice. As the sun is first rising or when finally setting, during the safe hour, I will gaze at the Sun and receive beautiful healing energy through my pineal gland. See more about Sungazing here.
  • I’ll find a comfortable, quiet corner of my home. I will light a candle and sit with it, focusing on softening my breath. I know that soon, the sun will be with me a little longer every day. I welcome it back and give thanks for its warmth and brightness.
  • Lighting incense or a smudge stick I’ll walk around each room in my home, and ask my angels and guides to clear the rooms of all negative energy and make room for the new ideas and inspirations that will come with the return of the Sun.
  • Facing the East, I will lay down a yoga mat, and do the Sun salutation slowly, and with reverence.
  • After the sun goes down, I plan to fix a warm cup of tea, and draw a hot bath. Then I will add some bath salts or essential oils, and soak in the warm water, giving thanks to the darkness that allows me more time for rest and relaxation.
  • After I get cozy in bed for the night, I’ll practice self-Reiki and make an intention to practice Reiki each day, to be dependable with my practice, just like the rising of the Sun.

On the Brighter Side of Pandemic Solitude

I miss the pre-pandemic gatherings and festivals, for sure!  I have longed for the” normal” of the old days. However, I am grateful that the pandemic has given me the chance to meet the Winter solstice with deep and quiet reflection. I appreciate the feeling of isolation, reflection, and aloneness. I now deeply appreciate any time spent with my tribe. That has become the “bright side” of pandemic solitude for me. I hope you can find a bright side as well, and I hope you can find some time for a few small rituals to celebrate the winter solstice, the return of the Sun.

With love and winter blessings,


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