The Winter Solstice – time to pause and reflect
‘This is the solstice,
the still point of the sun.
Its cusp and midnight,
the year’s threshold and unlocking.
Where the past lets go of
and becomes the future:
the place of caught breath.’
The Winter Solstice marks the point at which the Sun reaches its minimum declination and is marked by the shortest day of the year. The word solstice actually means ‘the Sun stands still’ because that is what seems to occur from our perspective on Earth.
In 2023, the Winter Solstice in Australia will occur on Thursday, June 22, at 00:58 Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST).
In a spiritual sense, the Winter Solstice is a time for rest and reflection. It offers a chance to pause and give gratitude for one’s blessings, whilst also putting in place intentions for the year ahead. According to Eckhart Tolle, the Winter Solstice may be likened to the end of the out-breath, the moment of stillness before the inhalation starts. A time to simply let go and be.
Fire and candles have traditionally played a large role in celebrating the Winter Solstice in many cultures, as a reminder of the return of the Sun to come. It is possible to embrace many of these ancient traditions in your own home, creating a beautiful atmosphere for peace, reflection and mindfulness. Below are some of my favourite ideas for celebrating the solstice, which you can do alone or share in with others.
- Meditate in quietness on your achievements over the year. Focus on what you have received and experienced, expressing gratitude for your blessings. You may like to enhance your meditation by sitting in soft candlelight.
- Diffuse some essential oils while you write down your hopes and dreams for the year ahead. Essential oils which provide a warming and peaceful atmosphere include cinnamon, frankincense, lavender and sweet orange; or you can use any essential oils which appeal to you.
- Invite family/friends over to share a warming winter meal, such as soup or a stew. Light a fire if you have one, or eat by candlelight, to bring in the energy of the coming warmer days.
- Take a mindful walk through nature, whether that be parkland, forest, by the beach or simply through your neighbourhood, connecting to the rhythms of the Earth and its changing seasons.
- Take time to declutter your belongings, and pass on anything you have that you no longer need. In this way we are letting go of what we may no longer use and sharing with others.
- Sit in stillness with your breath. Notice the rhythm of your breathing as you gently inhale and exhale, without altering its pace or intensity. Pay particular attention to the pause at the end of your out-breath and notice the sense of surrender and stillness at this moment.
You may wish to embrace one or several of these ideas, or you may have your own way of acknowledging our shortest day. Whatever you choose to do, celebrating the Winter Solstice, and the coming return of lighter, longer days, is a wonderful opportunity to pause and reflect. In doing so we can connect with ourselves and others and become part of the rhythms of nature.
By Kerrie Clayton
Kerrie has been a member of the AHHCA for over 10 years and is currently part of its Committee of Management. She is a qualified Holistic Health Practitioner and Reiki Master. Kerrie may be contacted via www.wellnesswithkerrie.com