This ritual to invite winter solstice magic is best done sitting in a circle (real or virtual) with others.
The winter solstice (December 21st in the Northern Hemisphere) might be my favorite moment in the solar year. It is the darkest time, the longest night, the moment when the sun is at its absolute lowest point and, at the same time, it heralds the return of the light.
For me, this is a moment to honor the grief of the last year, but also to shift out of that grief and start to move towards hope and new possibilities. It is a powerful time for making our peace with the past so that we can set some intentions and make some wishes for the new solar year.
[Read: “Ignite Your Inner Fire: 25 Inspiring Intentions.”]
Part of the reason there are so many different religious holidays in December is because of the magic of the winter solstice. All over the world, people light candles and bonfires at this time of year, gathering, feasting, and staying up late. The winter solstice is a powerful time of darkness, and darkness is often the place where magic happens.
Cast a Spell on the Solstice
The solstice is also a powerful time to cast a spell. Spells don’t have to be like recipes: they don’t require any specific items or sequences to work. They can simply be a symbolic ritual that means something to you. Your intention matters more than anything else.
While you can certainly do the following ritual alone to invite winter solstice magic, gathering in community is a part of the tradition of this time of year, so find someone to share this with if you can (and yes, it works just fine online!).
- A journal and pen
- A candle
- A circle of protection (this can be imaginary, but you can also draw a circle with chalk, stones, or salt if you like)
- A special item to hold like a crystal, rock, or toy—whatever has meaning for you
Step 1: Set the Circle
Draw a circle of protection around your group with salt, chalk, or your imagination. Set the intention that this will be a safe container. Only helpful energies are welcomed here; everything else is filtered out. Take a moment to acknowledge the land you’re on, naming the traditional people of this land if you know them. Call in any other deities or ancestors you’d like to involve.
Step 2: Grieve
Sit in darkness. Close your eyes. Think about your losses. What did you lose this year? Go around the circle and share whatever you feel comfortable sharing, passing around the special item to indicate who is speaking (if gathering in person). When everyone has finished speaking, the group may respond: “We honor your losses.”
[Read: “16 Grief Affirmations for Coping With Loss.” ]
Step 3: Gifts
What will you keep from this past year? From your losses or from anything else? What did you learn? What were the gifts of this last year? Again, go around the circle and name your gifts. After each person shares, the group can respond: “We celebrate your gifts.”
Step 4: Hopes, Dreams, and Wishes
Now, light your candle or candles. It’s time to look to the future and express our wishes and hopes. What you wish for—for yourself, for your family, for the planet. Speak these wishes out loud together so that you are in a big soup of wishes. Keep in mind that the energy of every wish is shared with everyone else in the circle, so make sure your wishes are for the good of all. When this feels complete, write down your wishes.
When you’re ready, thank the sun, the moon, and the land for witnessing your ritual. Blow out the candle and close the circle. You might say something like “blessed be,” “so may it be,” or simply “thank you.” Anything that feels right to you is fine.
Keep the paper with your wishes close by. If you can, put it up somewhere you’ll see it often.
Solstice wishes to you all!
Try Julie’s 10-minute guided winter solstice meditation for acknowledging what’s been lost.