The days are short and dark. The air is harsh and cold. People are spending less time outside, retreating into cozy spaces and preparing for an introspective and restful winter. The winter solstice is upon us!

It is easy to fall into a trap of being negatively affected by a long winter season. Less people are out and about than in warmer months, our natural environment feels volatile and moody, and simply getting from one place to another is more difficult.

Feeling a cosmic pull to go outside and bathe in the sun is replaced with a temptation to find solace, staying in the comfort of home.

If you live in an environment with harsh winters like I do, these are common considerations when the first real chill of winter hits.

There is another side to winter solstice season, however.

This year the winter solstice falls on December 21st, marking the longest night and shortest day of the year.

This date is also one of mankind’s oldest winter celebrations, having been recognized by ancient civilizations worldwide. The winter solstice may be dark and cold, but it also celebrates the rebirth of the sun and the renewal to be felt in anticipation of the coming new year. It provides an opportunity to hold your friends and family close and express gratitude for all the good that came to you in the past year, while meditating and connecting with inner goals to manifest for the future.

There are many ways to connect with the spirit of winter solstice season, but here are a few that make me feel good that you might also align with!

“Wisdom consists in knowing one’s place in any given cycle, and what kinds of action (or restraint of action) are appropriate for that phase.” -Richard Heinberg

Honour the Sun

The darkest day of the year gives us with the opportunity to express gratitude for the sun that provides us with light and life all year round! Fire symbols such as incense, candles and fireplaces are all ways to recognize the power of the sun and help the light triumph over darkness during the winter.

Evergreen Decorations

Decorating your home with evergreen trees, wreaths and other seasonal herbs and greenery such as cinnamon, cloves, holly, mistletoe and pine can help to feel connected with nature and celebrate the continuity of life throughout the winter season.

Plan Gatherings with Family & Friends

Make the effort to plan to gather with friends & family during winter solstice season and recognize it in a way that feels right to you. Connecting with nature, crafting seasonal decorations, expressing gratitude for each other or just enjoying each other’s company are great ways to do this.

We are social creatures and connecting during the cold winter season is good for the soul.

Sharing meals is traditionally significant during winter solstice season as it represents faith in prosperity to come in the following year.

Allow Yourself to Slow Down

Everything moves to a slower rhythm in the winter. Our surroundings feel peaceful and still. Take this opportunity to appreciate the calm and cultivate clarity of mind! Whether you find yourself in the city or in the countryside, walk around and appreciate the heightened awareness that is possible in such a still environment.

Although the beginning of winter can be daunting, there are many things to appreciate and express gratitude for! Take the opportunity to breathe new inner  light into the darkness of your days.

Wishing you all a peaceful season of renewal.

If you have any winter solstice traditions of your own, I would love to read about them in the comments below.

Written in collaboration with super kitten Sydney!

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