by Heather Stone
Midwinter is approaching. If you live in the north the days have been getting shorter, the nights longer, the temperatures colder and the landscape perhaps covered in snow. The winter solstice- (‘solstice’ means ‘standing still of the sun’) also known as Midwinter or Yule, marks the shortest period of daylight and the longest night of the year. This year the solstice falls on Friday, December 21st at 3:23 pm Mountain time.
For people throughout the ages midwinter has been an important time of ritual, reflection, and renewal; something I’m sure many of us could use more of in our lives. As our everyday living has moved more indoors we have lost touch with many of nature’s cycles. So why not take some time this solstice to rest, reflect and celebrate nature and the return of the light.
Here’s a list of a few ways that you can mark this day:
- Visit a place outdoors that’s special to you. Maybe that’s your regular hiking trail, a spot in your garden or your favorite place to watch the sunset.
- Light a candle to welcome back the sun. Or take it one step further and spend the evening lit only by candlelight.
- Watch the sunrise or sunset.
- Share food with friends and family to celebrate the return of the sun.
- Create an altar with objects gathered on a walk through nature.
- Take time to be silent.
- Burn a Yule log (traditionally this log is oak). Burn your Yule log and keep a piece to kindle the Yule log the following year.
- If you’re feeling creative, write a poem, paint of picture or sing a song to celebrate winter and/or the return of the sun.
“Again we come”
Again we come
to the resurrection
of bloodroot from the dark,
a hand that reaches up
out of the ground,
holding a lamp.