WINTER SOLSTICE REFLECTIONS & RITUALS
Here in the UK, today marks the Winter Solstice and a rare celestial event called The Great Conjunction.
With less than 8 hours of daylight, today is the shortest day and the longest night.
We are in deepest midwinter here; the branches are bare, the ground is cold and frosty underfoot, and there is the promise of snowy stillness still to come.
Today, too, marks an opportunity to reflect on the year that has passed and welcome the gradual return of the light.
In today's Celtic solar festival, known as Yule - meaning 'wheel' - we are offered a chance to slow down and ponder, to reflect on the 'wheel of the year' that constantly turns, and to notice the seasonal shifts that take place so effortlessly in the world around us, and within us too.
We are a significant piece of the galactic jigsaw, and we are each woven into the cyclicality of the cosmos.
We are offered an opportunity, today, to fill our soul with warmth rather than rushing around shops - online or on the high street - to buy gifts for people in a festive panic.
Choosing gifts for loved ones is a beautiful thing to do, especially if we are able to support small businesses, but so often we can be swept up into panic-buying and mindless consumerism and commercialism.
But on this solar-powered winter festival, we are invited to reconnect with what truly matters and to remember our true connection with nature.
The word 'solstice' comes from the Old French, meaning ' sun that stands still', and on this winter solstice, my Celtic ancestors would most likely have spent time today burning a yule log beneath the stars, sharing food and storytelling.
For me, today will involve watching the sunrise and sunset and truly appreciating nature - and, as it grows dark, lighting a candle to welcome in the light.
When we light a candle in the darkness,
we send out warmth & light to the seeds of our future self
and to all the possibilities that lie before us in the coming season of spring & beyond.
Today is an opportunity to be grateful for all the points of light in our life - from being thankful for our friends, family and loved ones to being thankful, simply, for the sun that shines on us each day.
Today, too, marks a rare astronomical event called The Great Conjunction.
This is when the planets Saturn and Jupiter align and appear, to the naked eye, as a single star shining brightly in the night sky.
Some people are calling this 'The Christmas Star', and there are those who believe that this is the true beginning of the Age of Aquarius - a time that mystics have long spoken about as an auspicious time of enlightenment and positive change, of creativity and solutions-focused ideas, of innovation and inspiration.
Whatever you believe, let the theme of illumination fill up your heart, mind, body and soul - and if you look up into the wonder of the night sky tonight, know that you are looking at light that has taken sometimes many thousands of years to reach earth, and know, too, that these pinpricks of light connect you not only to your ancestors but to all people throughout time.
We all look up into the night sky and feel awe and wonder.
So today, I invite you to take a moment to shine a light into the darkness and into the year that has passed.
What have you experienced? What have been the gifts - the blessings and the lessons?What moments of meaning have there been? Look at the good and the bad; look at all of it. What word would sum up 2020? I know we might all have some very colourful expressions here!
Now think about what you would like to carry into the New Year, and what you would like to leave behind? What will your word be for 2021? What word would you like to set as your intention, your talisman, and your guide to all that you do in the coming days, months and seasons?
Perhaps my word will be Fearless,
or perhaps it will be Light.
What word will you choose...?
Sending you blessings of the season, and wishing you a happy, healthy, peaceful and luminous New Year.
Love, Rebecca x