Ritual for Winter Solstice

Needed:

  • Cinnamon
  • Rose petals
  • Mint
  • Gold and silver spheres
  • Wreaths
  • Oak shavings
  • Pale green cloth
  • Red berries
  • Ivy
  • Pine branches
  • Yule log
  • God & Goddess candles
  • Things for activities

If it's physical feasible, fast and pray for three days beforehand. This allows you to enter the new year's cycle purified in body and spirit. Also consider a ritual bath with cinnamon, mint, and rose petals to improve psychic awareness.

Decorate the sacred space with gold and silver spheres to represent the returning sun, and wreaths to symbolize the turning Wheel. Have oak shavings ready as a base for your incense. Add any other personally meaningful herbs to this mixture and start burning it before the invocation to help prepare the sacred space. Finally, put your sun candle from earlier in the year at the southern point of the circle.

Cover the table with a pale green cloth (the color of early sprouts), which represent continuance. Add red berries for life's blood; holly; ivy; and pine branches as a symbol of longevity. The pine also welcomes sylvan spirits to your circle.

Have a Yule log at the center point, placing there your God and Goddess candles. Always keep part of the candles or the log itself for future years; this brings good luck, life, health, and providence.

Light the Goddess candle in the Yule log, then move to the northern point of your circle. This is the quarter traditionally ascribed to the season of winter.

North: "Ancient Mother, I look for your opulence, but tonight naught but barren trees decorate the land. In this restful moment, let my spirit find healing."

East: "Ancient Brother, I listen for your winds, but tonight they are still. In this quiet darkness, help me find inspiration."

South: "Ancient Father, I look for your fires, but tonight the embers only begin to glow more brightly. May this gentle warmth temper my spirit."

West: "Ancient Sister, I seek your glistening tears, but tonight they are frozen. Beneath this cool blanket, let my emotions find stability."

Center: "Ancient Ones, I seek your face, but tonight darkness surrounds. Help me find your spark within to guide my path."

Winter Solstice is an excellent time to undergo a vision quest to find your magickal name, a totem animal, a mantra, or other empowering insights. This meditation is meant to accent that quest by opening your awareness to the power within and without all things.

Begin in a standing position. Center yourself and breathe deeply. Slowly take off your mundane clothes, likewise removing the "world" with each. Wrap a blanket around yourself for warmth, but remain naked for the meditation. You need no trappings to discover personal power.

Sit and close your eyes. Let any remaining tension drain away, then begin listening to the sound of silence. Smell the aromas of oak and herb. Feel the latent energy of everything around you and the magick you've placed there. Know it is your own.

Listen to your breath and your heartbeat. Sense the pulse and ebb within as the same energy without. Listen closely, does it whisper a message to you? Does it whisper a name? Do you hear the cry of an animal? Do you hear words that fill you with energy? Linger in this place between Earth and stars until you receive a message. Then return to normal levels of awareness, and write of the experience in your journal.

Turn toward the northern part of your circle. Think of things that you want to banish, such as bad habits. Say:
"I call to the darkness. Come embrace my (fill in with your negative characteristics). Take them to yourself. I release them. As the sun climbs in the sky, take these things with you in retreat, never to return to me again."

Turn to the south of the circle, light the sun candle, and repeat this chant. Let it naturally grow to fill the entire space with positive vibrations:
"Strong sun, returning sun,
the light burns as the Wheel turns
Strong sun, returning sun;
the shadows fade; by magick bade
strong sun, returning sun;
the shadows flee, the magick is free!"

Return to the altar now and light the God candle, using the Goddess candle as a fire source (symbolic of the womb). Say:
"Sun Father, your journey has left you weary. May this light give you strength to reach toward the heavens again with warmth and brilliance."

After so saying, go through your home and light all its candles, lamps, flashlights, or decorative lights to represent the sun's return.

Make symbolic decorations for the tree. The traditional pastime of stringing popcorn and cranberries can symbolize continued providence, for example. Or bundle scraps of yellow cloth with brightly colored ribbons, tying in wishes as you go.

Another customary activity in rural communities is the blessing of fruit-bearing trees. If you don't have a fruit tree nearby, use any indoor plant as a substitute. Sprinkle it with wassail mixed with the ash from your incense. This helps manifest a productive year.

Finally, make predictions for the coming year based on the weather. Folklore says a white Christmas brings prosperity, while a green one precedes a bad year for crops; when the sun shines through fruit trees on the Winter Solstice, it foreshadows abundance.

West: "Spirit of the West, thank you for cleansing body, mind, and spirit. As you go from this place, likewise purify Earth."

South: "Spirit of the South, thank you for this warmth of body, mind, and spirit. As you go from this place, likewise generate love on Earth."

East: "Spirit of the East, thank you for this stillness of body, mind, and spirit. As you go from this place, likewise bring peace to Earth."

North: "Spirit of the North, thank you for healing me in body, mind, and spirit. As you go from this place, likewise heal Earth."

Center: "Ancient Ones, thank you for the turning Wheel that enlightens body, mind, and spirit. As you go from this place, likewise edify Earth."

Go with your traditional holiday foods, which for some include many that have solar symbolism. Cookies are round like the sun, eggnog is golden and fertile, gingerbread is hot and spicy, and fruitcake bears red and orange highlights. As a side, try a little flaming brandy to warm you up!