Rituals for the Winter Solstice

Every solstice is a turning point. It is when we reach our climax and then slowly, gradually, incrementally see light and dark ebb and flow in the other direction.

December 21st. The winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere is the day when we have the shortest amount of daylight, and thus is the longest night of the year. However, every single day that follows once we hit this turning point, there is a little more light. As we sit in the darkness, we know the light is coming.

Here's some ways I like to celebrate the winter solstice, ideally with trusted close friends. This has been a very special and deeply personal ritual for us, in that we mark the close of each calendar year by getting together to share, to mourn, to celebrate.

Setting the scene 

Here's things I've incorporated in the past that are by no means crucial, but definitely help set the tone (I always want fancy snacks).

  • Sing your favorite winter songs or carols
  • Dance party if the mood strikes
  • Charcuterie & desserts
  • Mulled wine or hot cider
  • Twinkle lights for ambient lighting
  • A fire - bonfire, in a fireplace, or simply as many candles as you can manage
  • Wear all white to represent the returning light
  • Paint a sun on your hand or face - or just throw on some glitter!
  • Read poems that reflect this time of year. Here are some of my favorite readings that I share with my group year after year:  Readings for the Winter Solstice

Our Winter Solstice Ritual

What you’ll need:

A candle for each person participating

A journal if you feel like writing


Turn of all other sources of light and sit in complete darkness except for your one lit candle. 

If you’re solo, journal these prompts or speak them aloud to the darkness. With a group, take time to share what comes up. It is not the time to discuss, simply listen and hold space for each person as they share. 

Reflect on the past calendar year. What has been dark this year? Whether external circumstances or interior struggles, it is all valid. After you have spoken the hard things out loud to the darkness, blow out your candle. Once everyone has taken their turn and blown out their candle, take a few minutes to sit in complete darkness. By acknowledging the pain, the grief, the struggles, we are honoring our own journey. 

Now, light your candle again. Journal or speak about the light. What was bright this past year? What were your personal highs, your triumphs, and the bright spots? What are you going into the next year feeling hopeful for? What light have you experienced and what light are you expecting to come?


~ Wishing everyone peace, justice, and abundant joy for the New Year ~ your friends at First House 


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