A winter solstice/mid-winter/yule blessings.
For those of you here in the Southern Hemisphere and interested in the pagan path, we are celebrating the longest night of the year and the return of the light. Here the days begin to get brighter and as the Goddess gives birth to the God during this time, it is a reminder that even after death there is rebirth.
As I sit outside in the vast open space I reflect on how I meet the winter solstice whilst living van life. What I notice is, that the trees have shed, the colours around me are mostly shades of green and brown with a touch of orange and the air is especially crisp. In some parts, there are still water puddles and soft earth from the heavy rains that recently fell. The birds chirp happily away and there is a soft hum of silence in the air.
Now, although I spend more time inside Kalypso (my motorhome) during the winter months, she has many windows which I open and the curtains are drawn each day so I can see, hear, smell and feel nature close by. I notice the coldness both day and night and sift through my cupboards to find more layers of clothing to keep me warm. Both Kali (my familiar) and I search regularly for the sunshine as it moves through each window during the day. With what seems to be less solar power, I spark up the generator every now and then for the diesel heater to keep us warm. I consider where I may roam next and feel particularly blessed that I have this option.
One thing in particular that stands out for me around this time of the year is that I no longer wake in the wee hours not being able to go back to sleep each night and I know it's because I no longer live in the brick and mortar working full time In a stressful job. The cortisol has stopped pumping through my body as I stopped living in the stress response. I have created a new life away from what was known and am living a more freeing lifestyle closer to nature, closer to where my heart feels at home.
Although I rarely attend public rituals where the sabbats were celebrated with friends I am able to celebrate and develop a closer relationship with the earth. My rituals are small and intimate but filled with presence, love and gratitude.
Whilst it is a wonderful experience building a beautiful altar with many intricate goodies it's more important for it to feel right. Include items that are special to you during this winter solstice time.
If you are interested in the creation of a winter solstice ritual, the following are suggested traditional items which could be added to an altar space.
Colours : red, green, white, silver, gold
Crystals : garnet, ruby, bloodstone, clear quartz
Foods : fruit cake, ale, mulled wine, eggnog, roasted root veggies
Element : earth
Plants & essential oils : mint, rosemary, myrrh, pepper, orange, frankincense, cedarwood
Symbols : holly, mistletoe, sun, light, pine cones
Some of the activities for the winter solstice which you may want to explore may include.
Building a Yule altar
Creating an earth-based, hand crafted art piece (pine cones are great to use)
Burn a Yule log
Decorating a Yule tree
Create a winter feast
Watching the sun rise
As the winter solstice is a time of coming out of the darkness and into the light, it is a great time of reflection and journaling. I will leave you with the following reflections, which may be helpful in your journey on the pagan path.
What can I shed coming out of the darkness?
What seeds can I plant coming into the light?
A winter solstice gift to the earth, presence, love and healing.
Solstice Yule Blessings.