Winter Solstice 2015 occurs tonight at 10:03 p.m. CST
It’s a widdershin sort of time, an unwinding, a releasing. A loosening of the grip on things I need to let go of.
Actual New Year’s Eve
It’s Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year and longest night. The reason it’s my favorite day is because of tomorrow.
This eve is the true eve of the new year to me. It makes more sense to me to follow a seasonal calendar, at least for the holidays, than it does to follow the traditional Gregorian calendar. On the Gregorian calendar, Jan. 1 is the start of the new year. On the seasonal calendar, Winter solstice is the start of the new year.
Tomorrow will be a little bit longer than today was. So I like to celebrate today. Tonight I’ll light a candle. Maybe I’ll meditate a bit, maybe do some other creative activity instead, but it’s a quiet sort of celebrating that I like to do.
Ways to Celebrate
Usually, my seasonal celebrations are done when I’m alone. However, it’s easy to turn this into a group event. If it will be a family based gathering, which I would like to begin doing eventually, I’ll have everyone write down on little slips of paper some things they’d like to release from their lives. Then we’ll burn them in the woodstove and imagine the release symbolized in the rising smoke.
If you don’t have a woodstove, it can be a fireplace or campfire or even a barbeque pit. You can decorate a Yule log to burn, as well. If I were going to burn a Yule log, I’d tie colorful ribbons with releases written on them to the log.
Alternatively, you can write your releases directly onto splinters of wood and add them to the fire. This is the way I will do it.
Yesterday I went out to the woods and saw the hardwood tree pictured below. Just above my head level there were two large splinters of dead wood. What better medium to use for releasing than dead wood that has never touched the ground? I kept one of the large splinters because the grain is pretty and it reminds me of driftwood. The surface is smooth enough that I may engrave something on it later and hang it in my office or use it in my market booth.
Ideally, I’d like to burn the wood just before the solstice event occurs in my zone.
What kind of things to release? It could be anything you’d like to not experience in the coming year.
- Fears of any sort
- Habits that aren’t helpful
- Destructive relationships
- Excess weight (lol)
- Excess stress
Mulled Cider or Wine
After burning the releases, whether on paper slips or ribbons tied to a Yule log, it’s a good time to reflect on things you’d like to add to your life. Once the old has been swept out, it’s good to replace bad habits with good ones. Once endings are acknowledged, it’s time to open the door to beginnings.
I’d like to begin this part of the celebration immediately after the time of solstice.
More information on the scientific side of solstice
You’d think that being the shortest day would mean the earliest sunset. Somehow, that’s not true.
Here’s a post from EarthSky that gives lots of details about what the winter solstice is: Everything you need to know: December solstice 2015