Many people suffer from depression and a lack of energy during the winter months. Winter is a natural part of the seasonal cycle, and just as nature slows down in winter, we need to slow down too. Now is the perfect time for a ritual to cleanse and release old energy and honour winter, the season of death and decay.
Our cosy heaters and warm fires help make the colder months warm and comfortable. Many of us look forward to the slower pace of winter days. Not so our ancestors, who feared the cold and bitter winter, understanding the challenges of finding food and keeping warm. The midwinter solstice was a vital turning point in the seasonal calendar, marking the longest night of the year; from midwinter to the summer solstice six months later, the nights would grow shorter and the days longer. Many of the customs associated with the winter solstice (and with other midwinter festivals such as St Lucy’s Day, Saturnalia, Hanukkah, New Year and Twelfth Night) originate from stories of a fierce battle between the dark and the light, where the light finally conquers the darkness. Other traditions record this as the time that a saviour or sun-child is born to a virgin mother.
Many people suffer from depression and a lack of energy during the winter months. Winter is a natural part of the seasonal cycle, and just as nature slows down in winter, we need to slow down too. In practice this means conserving energy, eating warm, nourishing foods, spending more time in bed, taking hot baths and allowing our bodies to rest and recuperate. In Chinese Medicine, the meridians associated with winter are the kidneys (yin) and the bladder(yang). The kidneys are responsible for filtering waste from the blood and sending the waste product to the bladder for elimination.In winter it is vitally important to keep the kidney area warm to avoid stiffness, coldness and aching joints. Make sure your midriff and lower back are always well covered.
In Australia, our winter solstice is marked by the passage of the sun into Cancer on the 22nd June. Observe the point at which the sun rises from the 22nd-24th June and you will see that it is in exactly the same place over these three days. Solstice means “sun standing still”. Now is the perfect time for a ritual to cleanse and release old energy and honour winter, the season of death and decay. On the eve of the winter solstice, surround yourself with all things nourishing: the warmth of an open fire, brightly coloured candles, piping hot food and the company of close friends and loved ones. Sip warm spiced teas and mulled wine and decorate your home with winter greenery. Acknowledge and celebrate the gift of life on the longest night of the year.
A Magical Winter Solstice Ritual
What you will need
- Bowl of water
- Large Candle
- Small Candle for each person
- Glitter & Essential Oils
- Wine / Juice
Sit in a circle with a bowl of water and a large candle in the centre. Have some golden glitter and scented oil nearby. Give each person a small candle or tea light then light all the candles including the central one. Next go round the circle with each person saying out loud what they wish to release at this dark time of the year then blowing out their candle once they have finished speaking. Finally blow out the central candle and sit in the darkness reflecting on what is being left behind.
After a long silence, relight the central candle (rebirth of the sun) and sprinkle golden glitter on the water. Picture the sun rising to conquer the darkness and our ability to create new light and life through the warmth of your thoughts, words and deeds. Each person then lights their small candle from the central candle and places it by the bowl of water. Pass around a glass of wine or juice and offer a toast to the sun, the bringer of new light, with each person talking about a dream for the future or a new attitude they wish to embrace. Finally sprinkle scented oil on the water and choose someone to anoint each person with sunshine by dipping their hand into the sparkling, scented water and sprinkling it over each person’s hair. Hold hands and offer thanks. Happy Winter Solstice!
Featured Sign – Gemini
From the 21st May to the 22nd June the Sun travels through mutable air sign Gemini. Gemini is the third sign of the zodiac with keywords “I think” and “I communicate”. Gemini’s symbol is the twins, one mortal, one immortal, the dark side and the light side. Geminis are extremely curious and like to accumulate information and process data. They think at lightning speed, are versatile and adaptable and love gadgets, mobile phones, books and surfing the net. Easily bored, Geminis need lots of intellectual stimulation and often have a youthful appearance. Negatively, the Gemini individual can be fickle and nervous with scattered energy and a tendency to gossip or make cutting remarks. Some are over-reliant on logic and dismiss emotions as irrational or unimportant. When Geminis are out of balance they suffer from nervous tension or problems in the lungs, arms, shoulders and hands. Gemini’s greatest challenge is to learn constancy and mental discipline and to accept the importance of emotions and feelings in both themselves and others.
June Moon Calendar
Launch projects at the New Moon, bring them to completion in the period from just before the Full Moon to the Third Quarter phase and wind them down and reflect on developments in the week before the next New Moon. Important events such as parties, conferences and weddings are best held close to the Full Moon or when the Moon is in the same sign as your Sun (or Star) sign.
New Moon 17th
Stella Woods is an astrology teacher and consultant based in St Kilda, Melbourne.
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