midwinter rituals winter solstice

Blogmas: A Simple Winter Solstice Gathering

21 Dec 2021

This is it. The day of the winter solstice. The turning of the seasons + the beginning of the end of 2021. And, this is also my last Blogmas post. I cannot believe that we are here. I feel a sense of peace, contentment, and completion. Because of both the end of Blogmas and, more importantly, the celebration of the Winter Solstice.

Now, I know that we are all across the world, and that you are reading this in your own time and place, and perhaps you’ve even stumbled upon this in a whole different year in the future. But, I feel that gathering together this one last time before the end of 2021 is filled with magic. I want us to cross over this solstice threshold threshold together. I want us to step into the energies of new year that lies ahead… together.

So, I am approaching this last Blogmas post of 2021 as a Blogmas gathering. I am imagining us all together, connected at the deepest soul levels, as a community, celebrating this most magical day when the darkness gives way to light. Imagine with me that, at this moment, as I write this and as you read it, we are connected to each other and to every other reader that gathers on this page. A Winter Solstice community of love + support.

I am, in fact, creating a sort of virtual, written, solitary ceremony for us to embark on together – in our own homes and spaces of living. And, even though we are not physically together, it is the energy of the season + spirit of love that connect us. And, for just these few minutes as you read this, we are journeying together. Celebrating together. Following an ancient path of coming together, dropping into the center of our own soul, listening for a message, and then returning to live out what has risen, what we have unearthed, what has inspired us. Like a candlelit spiral – circling inward to the center and then back out again.

Here’s how I’ve planned this little ceremony. Oh, don’t worry, you don’t have to do anything except read this post – I’m just telling you the steps that we will be taking together as you move through the post.

| We will enter this winter solstice ceremony with a call to gather.

| Then we will listen to the message + the medicine of the dark.

| In silence, we will be able to explore, respond, and reflect on our own.

| And, finally, we will go forth from this gathering to return to our lives – inspired + filled by the medicine of the solstice

A word of welcome

With that said, and with all of my heart, I welcome you to our simple Winter Solstice gathering. A time of reflection, ritual, grounding, and benediction. It is my hope to give us a little bit of time together to mark the ending of this year, the turning of the seasons, the medicine of the dark, and the return of the light. And, then, I hope to send us out from this gathering space, anchored to our roots and with the hope of all things made new.


A call to gather on the longest night

“Finally, this season leads us to the Solstice. For me, Solstice does not mark the beginning of winter—it marks the depth of winter. We are truly in it, and the Solstice in and of itself is a ritual. It is a ritual of darkness and going inward. By honoring this ritual and this journey through darkness, we will be granted the ultimate gift of renewal and rebirth. The darkness can be appreciated, let us not rush it nor ignore it or fight it. Of course we will light our lamps and candles and we will sit by the fire, but so, too, will we rest more, sleep more, spend more time being still and quiet—and amazing things will be born from this practice.” – Carrie-Anne Moss

The message of this winter solstice

The winter solstice is a cosmic, scientific phenomenon. It is also known by a few other names—Yule, Midwinter, The Longest Night. It is the the time when the earth is tilted on its axis the furthest from the sun. But, after this night, as the earth continues its annual revolution around the sun, the days will become longer, one minute, one day at a time. Until we reach the summer solstice – the longest day – when we then begin to turn back towards the darkness.

The light, however, begins to return tomorrow. For now, in the deepest, darkest, longest night of the whole year, we are called to just be present. Perhaps it is the most perfect opportunity to really embrace all of the mystery and mysticism of the dark.

More than any other time of the year, this is the time when wisdom reigns. In the cold, dark, silent, still nights of the winter, secrets are whispered. Life slows down, all growth seems to stop, but the shift has just moved under the earth. So, we need the quiet, still time in the dark in order to unearth the deepest mysteries and truths of our hearts and souls.

But, we are often frightened of the dark. Of all that is unknown and unseen. We feel as if we have no control, as if nothing is happening, as if there’s nothing left. But, daring to sit and wait and breathe, daring to move through it, instead of avoiding it, we find that winter is simply giving us space to become ourselves again. Like the plants that have returned to the earth, we, too, can use the winter to rest and restore our souls – gathering resources, growing new roots, and strengthening the roots that we already have.

An oracle card ritual

The darkness is the home of wisdom. It is the perfect space for turning inward and listening to our own inner intuition. Today is an especially powerful day to listen and feel. On the winter solstice, I find it grounding and calming to honor both the light and the dark. It is the perfect time to remember that, as nature teaches us, both are a part of life. And, in trusting the cycles and rhythms of the earth and the cosmos, we learn to trust that all of life is a delicate, beautiful balance of constant change and evolution.

So, to honor the winter solstice, to mark the shifting of the seasons and the energy, and to celebrate our ever-evolving lives, I pulled three cards to inspire me in my own reflections as I move with nature… from darkness to light.

  1. Dark night: wisdom from this year
    • “Keepers of the earth”. This card comforts me and I feel a sense of pride as I understand just how anchored I have become. How I rely on the cycles of the seasons and the rhythms of nature to help guide me and inspire me through all that life throws at me.
  2. Candle: to get you through the dark
    • “Share your voice”. This card is exactly what I need right now. To remember that expressing myself, trusting in my own voice and wisdom is what calms me, leads me forward, and keeps me aligned to my deepest truth and my highest self.
  3. Sunrise: new hope for a new year + a new cycle
    • “Mintakan” Oh wow. I wrote a post about this card a couple of years ago and it is literally my most visited post on the blog. It is a reminder of truth that home really is within. As I move forward into this new year + new cycle, experiencing the first full year in my new home (we moved last July), it brings me a sense of deep peace to know that, as I have found a true sense of home within myself, I now turn to creating my physical home and life into the home and life of my dreams.

A ritual of release (That I found somewhere, but can’t remember where. So credit to someone. <3)

As we rest in the darkness of this day, I believe that it is important to let our souls guide us. It is the time for reflecting on the year that has been. And, in reflecting, we often find that there are things that we have outgrown or things that no longer serve us. Things that we feel that we do not need to carry with us into a new year. So, here is a simple fire ritual to help us release, let go, and transform whatever we do not need anymore into lessons, guidance, and understanding.

☾ Light a candle + begin to stare at the flame

☾ Quiet your mind, as you watch how the flame moves +dances

☾ When your mind is still, begin to reflect on your year. Reflecting on the good, the bad, the painful + the joyous times.

☾ Allow any of the more difficult moments to come through, hold them without judgement, send them love and when you feel ready, whisper “ I honor the darkness, and send it to the light “

☾ Visualize your darker times, being sent into the flames, ready to be transmuted into light energy or if you feel like it, write all that you want to release and set fire to them. 

Breathe deep. Start to release this year. Prepare your soul for the hope of what is to come. And, know, that everything cycles and evolves and manifests love.

The return

“Here is another truth about wintering: you’ll find wisdom in your winter, and once it’s over, it’s your responsibility to pass it on. And in return, it’s our responsibility to listen to those who have wintered before us. It’s an exchange of gifts” – Katherine May

Can you feel the shift? Or do you feel the pause? Are you trusting that the earth is holding you in these darkest days and longest nights? And have you started to discover the gifts that winter has for you?

Here’s my blessing to all of us as we travel onward, moving into the light a little more with each passing day.

1

Somewhere, out at the edges, the night
is turning and the waves of darkness
Begin to brighten on the shore of dawn.

The heavy dark falls back to earth
And the freed air goes wild with light,
The heart fills with fresh, bright breath
And thoughts stir to give birth to colour.

2

I arise today

In the name of Silence
Womb of the Word,
In the name of Stillness
Home of Belonging,
In the name of Solitude
Of the soul and the Earth.

I arise today

Blessed by all things,
Wings of breath,
Delight of eyes,
Wonder of whisper,
Intimacy of touch,
Eternity of soul,
Urgency of thought,
Miracle of health,
Embrace of God.

May I live this day

Compassionate of heart,
Clear of word,
Gracious in awareness,
Courageous in thought,
Generous in love.

John O’Donohue, Irish poet and philosopher


Thank you from the bottom of my heart for hanging out with me here throughout December. I have truly loved the practice of writing each and every Blogmas post.

But, now, it is time to move into those slow, magical, days of holiday celebrations and crossing over into a new year.

I wish you the Happiest of Holidays. May they be merry + bright. But, may they also be silent + calm. Sending you my deepest wishes and blessings for a Happy New Year as well.

See you in 2022!! Until then…

Deep Winter Solstice blessings to you. xoxo. liz.

2 Comments

  • Reply Arlene Hanratty 21 Dec 2021 at 16:11

    Thank you for that ritual. A moment of pause and reflection is always worthwhile.

    To hear you pulled the Mintakan card made me feel all the more connected in this moment because I am one of those people who found your blog because of that post.

    It was a big turning point in my life, after I was given redudancy from a job of 16 years and just before I left for India to do my yoga training. Long overdue, my husband and I redecorated our home and then off I went to India for a month. I wrote him a letter to remind him that home is not only what we have created together in this place but it it is also within us. It was a magical time for us both.

    I wish you and Lina a wonderful holiday with your family and sincere good wishes for a joyful and healthly new year filled with hope and love. All the best from Dublin Ireland. xx

    • Reply Liz 22 Dec 2021 at 08:02

      Dearest Arlene, I am so touched by your comment and so amazed how the universe connects souls. I can feel your spirit all through the blog and I am so grateful for how you share your own reflections and thoughts on your journey through life. Sending you and your husband so much love and light this season. Big hugs from Sweden. xoxo

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