Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Solstice and the gifts of darkness

We celebrated yesterday with our Solstice traditions. I LOVE these simple traditions - they bring me a sense of rhythm...remind me of the seasonal cycle that we are blessed with. This year I've really settled into this darker season and have found much to enjoy about it. I've enjoyed the S L O W ness that it has ushered in, actually, I've welcomed it quite readily - probably for the first time I can recall...I think I really needed it this year.
(daily walks in the woods (and seeing the antics of our silly dog) have helped immensely with my enjoyment of this season)

As a gardener I can see the importance of the winter season for plants- a time of going inward with little outward appearance of growth, a sort of gathering in of reserves to build energy for the springtime to come - and I consider this a valuable season for myself in the same way.  After all, who couldn't use a little bit of extra rest and quiet time and the darkness lends itself so well to that.  So, since I've been enjoying the darker days instead of counting them down, it almost came as a surprise that it was already Solstice but we managed to organize ourselves to celebrate just the same. 

Our traditions are very simple (and flexible) - we have homemade pizza for dinner (round to symbolize the sun) and SUNdaes (because they're delicious and having SUN in their names means it makes perfect sense).  We also have a fire (outside in the past but inside this time) into which we take turns throwing slips of paper where we've written things we want to "get rid of" - habits, behaviours, items or whatever is no longer serving us in our lives.  Then we gleefully watch them burn and say an intention to replace the burned thing.  Very fun!
Last night E also wanted to do our gratitude candles and so we did...even though this is usually our Thanksgiving tradition.  For this we sit at our table and, as we go around the table, we take turns saying something we are thankful for and then light a tealight candle off our centre candle.  I love this tradition too and we all always feel very grateful for the abundance in our lives after doing this.
I hope you had a wonderful Solstice too.


Rachel S said...

I love your idea of throwing the slips of paper into the fire of things you want to get rid of. What a fabulous ideal. I'm going to steal it :) Thanks!

daisy g said...

I love your solstice traditions. I believe I will incorporate some of these next winter when we are up north! Any good books on the subject? Thanks.

sheepish said...

Your solstice traditions sound so lovely.
The whole slowing down that seems to happen so naturally is important to embrace, if the season is to be enjoyed.
Happy holidays.

Erin said...

Beautiful and mindful, simple and meaningful. We celebrated solstice in a slap-dash way, as I let go of what wasn't working. Our December has collided quite beautifully with my "plans" and i've received the gift of much letting go and going with the flow instead. A perfect time of year for this kind of mindfulness for me, as I am so easily influenced to keep us all busy and to do it all, the endless lists of fun things I imagine would be perfect. As often happens, I'm letting the boys drive the sleigh ;-) And it's unique and perfect!

I love your tradition inspiration, any books about that you can remind me of? I want to read up and create some new traditions next year.

Happy Solstice...let there be much light and growth ahead!

Heather said...

Hi Daisy and Erin, I don't have any particular books on Solstice traditions and I can't even think of any to suggest. I'm sure I did get lots of our traditions from reading different books for ideas but I can't remember where I may have read about them - we've been doing this for years now. Sorry to be of so little help. I think we just tended to pick up any fire tradition to add to our celebrations because I know the boys like anything to do with fire. ;-) I remember that I very much enjoyed the book Yule : A Celebration of Light and Warmth but I can't remember if it had celebration ideas in it because it has been so long since I read it. The boys also used to like the book The Shortest Day.