What do you have planned for this Saturday night? Hitting the clurbs? Doing a cheese and woine toime with your mates? Wrong and wrong. What you’re really doing this Saturday night is celebrating one of the most powerful dates in the witchy calendar: The Winter Solstice.
Let’s get the boring sciencey stuff out the way first so we can get to the good part.
Solstice is latin for ‘solstitium’ which means sun-stopping because it’s the shortest day / longest night of the year.
On this day, the point on the horizon where the sun appears to rise and set, pauses and goes in reverse. The sun rises to the north of east, rather than from the direct east, and sets to the north of the west.
Head here for more on the technical stuff and to find specific dates and times that relate to wherever in Aus you will be this weekend.
OK, now the fun part!
The Winter Solstice has been celebrated for thousands of years by various religions and civilisations such as the ancient Romans, Greeks, and Persians, to name a few.
In the Wiccan calendar, the Winter Solstice, also known as Yule (yep, that’s where Harry Potter got the Yule Ball from), is believed to be the Sabbat that kicks off the year.
It radiates special power because it is the longest night of the year and as we all know, the best magic happens at night (don’t ask me why, it just does).
But the season is also about light and warmth as the sun begins its journey back towards us.
In terms of Yule-tide celebrations, there’s no one specific way to ring in the day.
Here, I’ve listed a bunch of different rituals that you can perform to harness the potent energy of the Winter Solstice. Feel free to mix and match as many as you want and personalise for your own coven of mates.
BURN, BB, BURN
Because Yule is a celebration of light, it’s known as a fire festival which is convenient considering you’ll probably be freezing your nuts off this weekend.
The most popular Winter Solstice ritual is the burning of the Yule log.
To make a Yule log, gather whatever sized log you can find and decorate it how you see fit. Traditionally one would dress it in sacred items like mistletoe, holly, pine needles, ivy, feathers, cinnamon sticks and festive ribbon. But go wild with whatever represents what you wish to manifest!
Other fire-based rituals could include lighting a bonfire or a circle of candles.
As the fire burns, write affirmations and shit that you’d like to let go of onto a piece of paper and set them alight. It is believed that as the paper burns, the smoke wafts your desires out into the universe.
This doesn’t need to be a solemn celebration, feel free to whack on some tunes and throw back a few bevvies (preferably red wine) as you go.
This is a celebration, after all.
BUILD AN ALTAR
It’s always good to have a focus point for your Yule-tide celebrations, namely an altar.
Designate a space for your altar, where you’ll place any or all of the following items:
- Yule log
- Candles (preferably red, green, white, and gold)
- Photos or symbols that indicate what you wish to manifest (I was once trying to land a job at DOLLY magazine so I placed a copy of an issue on my altar. Spoiler: I got the job and ended up working there for three years. Do with that what you will.)
- Written affirmations / habits or situations that you wish to banish and let go of
- A glass of wine (again, preferably red) to offer up to whatever / whomever you believe lives in the sky
- A sage stick
- Cinnamon sticks
UP ALL NIGHT
The truly devout among us (or those who have had one too many voddy red bulls), can celebrate by staying up all night to greet the sunrise.
As the sun rises and darkness fades away, envision all your problems also disappearing.
Focus on everything you want to achieve and manifest as you greet the new day and with it, a new beginning.
SAGE YA LATER, HATER
Nothing says ‘fresh energy’ quite like a good ol’ smudging.
Light a sage stick and walk through your home, allowing the smoke to waft through the air and purge your space of neggo vibes and evil spirits.
As the smoke settles, you will be cleansed and ready to welcome newer, happier times.