In the Northern Hemisphere, the winter solstice begins on Dec 21, 2022. This date marks the first day of winter and the shortest day of the year. Historically, this day has been celebrated by cultures around the world as the “return of the Sun.” Because after this period, the Earth enjoys increasingly more sunlight day by day.
As you are probably aware, this period was usurped by Christian believers and subsequently realigned to coincide with the date of Jesus’ birth. While his official birth date was later changed to the 25th, the theme was basically the same. Christians were likewise celebrating the return of the “Sun.” Though early folklore was very clear on this observance, the true meaning of this event has been lost to history.
Even so, many cultures still celebrate this auspicious time of the year as it marks the season of death and rebirth. All forms of life go through this process in many ways throughout the course of their lifecycle. It’s the season for a clearing away of the old to make way for the new.
Winter Solstice Rituals
As the elements of the Earth begin to dissipate and decompose, it’s likewise a time for us to banish and bury those things that no longer serve us. In general, this is a great time to shed and let go of our old “skin.”
In the Haitian tradition, we start all major spiritual work with a spiritual bath. This process is necessary for spiritually preparing you for ritual work. It is a great way to cleanse your entire being for connecting with Spirit on a deeper level.
There are many ingredients you can use in a winter solstice spiritual bath. Since this energy is about letting go and releasing things, it’s best to include ingredients that synchronize with it. Special, customizable spiritual soap is likewise ideal for this purpose. So, be sure to take a spiritual bath before engaging in the following or other rituals during this season.
The winter solstice marks the beginning of the coldest season of the year. Therefore, it is vital to work with the element of fire during this time. Doing so encourages balance and harmony. As such, sun gazing is the perfect activity to engage in at the beginning of the winter solstice period.
Sungazing is a very beneficial practice that involves staring directly at the sun to promote healing. This time of the year is all about celebrating the Sun. So what better way to connect with the energetic flow of the Sun during this time?
This practice is an effective way to supplement vitamin D levels when you are unable to get enough through your diet or supplements. It also can be used as a natural pain reliever, improve sleep quality, and help with seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
Sun gazing is not new, as it has been around for thousands of years. Ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians, Indians, and Native Americans have practiced this for centuries. These civilizations engaged in this practice to ascertain enlightenment and wisdom.
Sun Gazing Guidelines
There are no special rules for engaging in this process. Instead, the following general guidelines can help you get the most out of your practice:
- Find a comfortable, quiet place to sun gaze
- Ensure that you have full view of the sun
- Sun gaze within 30 minutes of sunrise and sunset
- Do not shield your view of the sun in any way
- Start by staring at the sun for at least 10 seconds
- Increase the length of time as appropriate for you
- Engage in meditative practices while sungazing
Fire Release Ritual
As mentioned, working with the fire element during the winter solstice is very beneficial. In which case, engaging in release rituals that involve fire can be helpful in letting go of the old. A simple fire release ritual involves making a list of everything you desire to let go of. It’s best to do this in a quiet, comfortable space where you can have optimal privacy.
After that, light a candle and give an appropriate offering to your Higher Self, ancestors, spirit guides, orishas, or other deities that you work with. Then, read your list to this spirit and ask for its assistance with helping you to let go of these things and anything else that is no longer serving you. Once you feel truly ready to let go, burn the list in a cauldron or other heat-resistant device.
Many people naturally engage in decluttering processes as we near the spring season. For a number of people, this has become a rote process that they mindlessly engage in. However, to get the most out of it, you can intentionally declutter to sync with the energy of the winter solstice season.
Decluttering is a process of eliminating things from your life. It can be physical, mental, or emotional. It can be about getting rid of physical objects or mental clutter, such as thoughts that are not serving you well. In relation to intentional decluttering, you are removing these things mindfully with a clear, sincere purpose.
As such, you should begin any decluttering work you perform during this time with an intention-setting ritual. The ritual can be as simple as stating, “I am clearing this space of all things that no longer serve me. My purpose is to make way for things that are useful to come forward in the future. Anything that I remove shall not return to this space in its current state or form. If it has a need to return, it will do so transformed and holding useful space in my life.”
Of course, you can make this ritual as layered as you desire. You can add candles or offerings, use cleansing incense, fragrances, etc. You can likewise direct your intentions to any deity that you work with, as outlined in the fire release ritual. Whatever way you decide to do it, the goal should be to mindfully cleanse your space of things that no longer serve you. And likewise, prevent their unwelcomed return.
Astrology of Winter Season 2022
From an astrological perspective, we will have plenty of energy to propel us forward during this season. Ceres will be in Libra, giving us the maternal energy we need to declutter and organize. This is an excellent period for cleaning out spaces.
Jupiter will likewise enter into Aries the day before this blessed event. In this case, we will probably spend a lot of time in quiet introspection and reflection during this season. A lot of this energy will be geared toward helping us understand our place in this world. Many will reflect on their identity as they seek out their soul mission or purpose.
The next day, on Dec 21st, the Sun will enter the sign of Capricorn, which will help us stay focused and on track. Shortly thereafter, Chiron will return to direct motion in the sign of Aries after experiencing a six-month retrograde in this same sign. This means that we will have enough information about who we are and our place in the world to understand what we need to release during this season.
During the past six months or so, you may have been dealing with a lot of old wounds and trauma related to your self-image. This is especially the case for those with major planetary aspects in the sign of Aries. Chiron showed up in this position to help us overcome and face these challenges. Now, it is time to shed old ideas and beliefs about ourselves and welcome better ideals that serve our soul mission. And the new moon in Capricorn will help us flesh out the details and give us the energy to stay the course.