The Winter Solstice may be my favorite day of the year. As time passes on, I grow ever more grateful for this day which calls us to honor stillness, darkness, quiet and reflection. In a hurried world, slowing down is a powerful and deeply needed medicine.
It as with honor and gratitude that I share this yearly ritual with friends near and far so that we may all take time to align with the rhythm of the season, and allow ourselves the gift of The Sacred Pause.
On the 21st of December, the Northern Hemisphere celebrates the darkest, longest night of our year.
As this season flows, we acknowledge the circadian rhythms of our sacred planet, and how our body, mind and spirit respond and reflect to the patterns of our universe.
In our present times, we are often encouraged to abandon these natural tendencies.
We feel busier than ever; with such heavy, demanding loads in direct opposition to what the world calls for, many of us fall into illness, and seasonal emotional fatigue and sorrow.
The earth sleeps beneath a blanket of snow and the thin veil of cold air.
Tonight, let us honor the stillness and the darkness; let us, too find rest, respite and quiet, in communion with the web of life, knowing the sun will soon make our days long and our energies high once more.
:: Winter Solstice Tea ::
-- Ingredients --
1 tablespoon dried Hawthorn berries
2 teaspoons dried Elderberries
1/4 Cinnamon stick, crushed
-- Directions --
Measure 8 cups water into a pot
Place Hawthorn berries, Elderberries, and Cinnamon into pot and cover
Bring water to a boil, then lower to a simmer
Simmer for 30 minutes, covered
Strain and sip
Step out of the mayhem with each sip; reconnect with your inner stillness and feel centered and calm through these dark times and hectic schedules.
:: Opening Movement and Intention ::
Beginning in quiet stillness, embracing the darkness
Bowing to our inner peace, and sacred solitude
Moving through gentle poses
Slowly opening and building, as we welcome the reliable and inevitable return of the Sun and the gift of the coming Light
Celebrating the sacred cycles of our earth and our sun
Returning to the place of stillness
Remembering the fire which burns within us always
Releasing that which no longer serves us
Opening to all that is yet to come
Traditionally, this is the time in which we transition from movement to stillness.
You may find resonance and benefit from the integration of the beautiful
Asatoma Sadgamaya mantra.
You can listen to it here for guidance on pronunciation // inflection // melody, but know that the intention behind its expression is the more important than anything else.
:: Closing Ceremony and Farewell ::
On our slips of paper, we have written down what we wish to release
As we hold in our hearts that which we hope to receive with the Sun’s return, we burn in ceremonial flame, the former
As the fire burns away the distant past, we celebrate with song, laughter, dance and gratitude, welcoming back our beloved ball of life giving fire, the Great Star
Thank you for reading and joining in the celebration of the season of darkness and introspection.
May your Solstice be warm and still, may the Sun’s return bless you, and may you be Nourished, today and always
With gratitude and lovingkindness,
Molly Jo Stanley
Educating for Mindfulness and Sustainability