The longest night of the year is tonight, and the moment of the solstice, when the sun or “sol” appears to stop or “stice” its progression is 11:48 PM Eastern Standard Time. The spiritual meaning of the Winter Solstice is an inner echo of the celestial one. We too can bring our rushing and racing to a stop, even if just for a moment. We can take stock of where we are in our lives, and where we want to be. Have we made good progress this past year? Where have we grown? Where do we still need to? What do we want to do differently during the coming spring and summer? Winter, the deep, soft, dark time of year, is when we pause to ponder. Once the hustle and bustle of holiday time is done, the shopping is complete, the gifts are wrapped, stice. Stop. Just stop. Take the time to feel this moment within you, way down deep. Your entire body is attuned and knows what is happening. If you quiet your mind, you’ll feel the energy of this time working within you. You’ll know what the solstice is to you, personally.
The most perfect Winter Solstice ritual I’ve ever performed is a simple, but deep meditation in complete darkness. A complete silencing of the mind, to allow the inner self to be heard. And rather than making lists of the things I think I want, I try listening to my inner being whisper to me what my true desires are. Those will be my priorities during the coming year. At some point during this process, I may light a single candle to represent the newborn sun, the return of the light, which is the most sacred message of this holiday. In the morning, I will watch the newborn sun rise. It fills me with light and overflows me with joy.
In the ancient traditions, the sun was reborn, new again, on the sunrise following the Winter Solstice. We too can be reborn and renewed on this day. In fact, for me, the entire period from 12/21 until 12/31 is my Stice. I bask and ponder. I meditate and mull. I sleep more and work less, and quiet my mind and listen to my inner being. I journal about the year gone by with deep appreciation and gratitude. I think about the year to come, and visualize what I would like for it to be. I cleanse and detox. I soak my body and soak my feet. I focus on leaving behind all that I no longer need, letting it go with the old year’s energies, as I welcome the new year, the new sun, fresh and re-invigorated. I make room for the coming blessings. I give and share. I set goals and start anew. The Solstice is a powerful reminder that no matter how dark it may get, the sun always returns. Spring will always come. Death is an illusion, and like winter, a temporary one. This is a sacred time to me. And it’s a moment of utter peace, tranquility, and then it emerges into complete renewal. On January 1st my holiday is over. I take down the tree and undeck the halls, and prepare to return to my work with my focus forward on the coming spring. I’m refreshed, re-focused, re-invigorated, and renewed.