Tonight is the winter solstice. It is the longest night of the year, and represents both the end and the beginning of the solar year. It marks the point in our annual journey around the sun where we are tilted farthest away from the sun here in the north, and tomorrow begins our journey back towards the long, light filled days of summer. Tonight is both the darkest time of the year, and the beginning of the return of the light.
At Fiddleheads we spend a week talking about the winter solstice and preparing for our winter spiral ceremony, which celebrates going into the darkness, and bringing the light of our hearts to each other during this cold and dark season. During this challenging year, marking the solstice feels even more powerful and poignant, so we wanted to share some ideas for how to celebrate at home today.
You could do some thinking and talking about the solstice. Here are some of the things that we talk about to connect our own social and emotional lives to the traditions of this season and their deeper meaning:
-Have you noticed when it gets dark lately? Think back to the summer, how is it different?
-How do you feel in the dark? Does it ever make you feel nervous? It does for lots of people, because we are daytime animals. We can't see in the dark so well, and sometimes we feel scared.
-What do you do when you feel scared? What are some things that make you feel better?
-Everyone needs to do things that make them feel better when they are scared or lonely or sad. Think about some things that happen right now in this cold, dark time of the year that make us happy. Do you have special lights in your house right now? Do you see special lights on other people's houses? Do you have special treats and give gifts? How do these things make you feel?
Here are some resources that may help to start or support your discussion:
Here is a story about the solstice that we read at school:
Here is a quick story connecting the light of the sun with ourselves and our lives:
Here is a meditation about father sun to help us feel and celebrate the warmth within us:
Much longer than humans can remember in written history, we have marked the solstice with tradition and ceremony. Some ideas for celebrating the solstice with ceremony at home include:
-Bring fresh evergreen into your house. Let it's fresh smell rejuvenate and invigorate you. Evergreen has long represented the steadfast, enduring power of life and growth in the winter.
-Light a special candle to burn through this longest night. When you light it you can send some welcoming thoughts toward the return of the light and the coming solar year.
-Think of any losses in the last year, anything that you need to grieve for, and remember and let those memories go. You can write them down on a scrap of paper and burn them in a candle flame or a fire to symbolically let go and make room for new life in the new year.
-Think of what you want to welcome into your life and the world with the returning light. You can say some wishes and some hopes aloud to each other with an open heart, or you can just hold them in your heart.
-Make a winter spiral if you are feeling very festive. Lay evergreen boughs on the ground in a spiral, and light a candle at the center. Take turns walking into the spiral and lighting your own candles from the light at the center. Set the candles in the spiral as you exit, so that when you are done there are lights shining within the dark greenery.
I wish you all a joyful and festive solstice and holiday season, and I wish us all a triumphant return of the light in every possible way! May you be happy, may you be healthy, may you be peaceful, may you be filled with joy.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.