We sat together in quiet contemplation, listening to the sounds of a "Winter Evening" playlist and logs crackling in the fireplace. Immersed primarily in the darkness of the evening, the subtle warm glow of the fire was our focal point and our reminder of the balance of all things.
We choose to turn off the lights on this darkest night and surround ourselves with the peace and reflection that the night brings. My spouse and I each held one daughter and just relaxed into the individual opaque moments, savoring the longest night of the year. This was our solstice celebration last year and, like in previous years, a memorable part of our holiday season.
For years, I have honored the transition that comes with the winter solstice. Days of abating daylight reach this powerful moment of pause in the shortest day (of daylight) of the year. The following day begins the ascent back to warmth and light. The word solstice means “Sun stands still” because of the illusion of the halted journey of the sun twice a year – in December and again in June. Throughout history, there have been cultural and religious celebrations of these days. Many of the modern holiday traditions we now participate in have roots in the ancient celebrations of the winter solstice. Traditional rituals around the world on the longest night have included dancing, staying up all night, eating special foods, giving gifts, burning candles and fires and playing games. This year the winter solstice falls on December 21st.
I find that the winter solstice is a day that I like to pause the holiday frenzy and just reflect. It offers the opportunity for connection to the rhythm of the natural world and acknowledging how this natural occurrence invites the experience of being in the moment.
So, my family’s ritual on this night is to do… less.
We unplug, disconnect from the fast pace of the season, and honor this powerful moment of the year by being present for it.
Reflect and look forward
If you have ever entertained the thought of celebrating this day, and are curious to explore, know that the notion of the sun standing still twice a year can be an impetus to pause and reflect on what the last half of the year meant. You can then begin to look forward to the next half – the beginning of a new year ahead and the return to longer and sunnier days.
Creating your own tradition could mean a potluck with family and friends. Or playing board games by candle light at home. For us, it’s about music, firelight and diffusion of comforting essential oils to help us connect to our hearth and to one another. And going slow for one evening during the fast moving holiday season. However it comes about for you or your family, adding another tradition to the season can be something beautiful, relaxing and restorative that contributes to the enjoyment factor this time of year.
Solstice Diffusion Blend
Making and diffusing this blend can be a part of your winter solstice ritual. Reflect on the different elements that frankincense, vetiver and cinnamon leaf bring to this union. Frankincense is pale yellow to greenish in color – yet still bright and translucent. Vetiver is dark and murky. Frankincense is relaxing and restorative – its spicy and lemon-like aroma is clarifying. Vetiver is stabilizing and nurturing – its earthy scent anchors the spirit and steadies emotions. Cinnamon is revitalizing and enhances active reasoning – it adds an element of warmth and connection to the blend. Combined, this blend contributes a powerful sensory component to your solstice celebration.
7 drops frankincense
7 drops vetiver
2 drops cinnamon leaf