Snow does not fall on my side of the world. So, what’s my business writing about the winter solstice?
In the Northern Hemisphere, the longest night and the shortest day of every year takes place around December 21st. This phenomenon, known as the winter solstice, occurs when the North Pole is tilted farthest from the Sun. This explains the early sunsets and late dawns, and the short noontime shadows. This exact event also happens in the Southern Hemisphere around June 20th or 21st.
Outside of this astronomical explanation, the winter solstice takes on a cultural and spiritual relevance for many. What is widely deemed to be the start of winter has become the symbol of rebirth and a natural shift to Spring. It is that time when the earth is quiet and bare, but it is also the time when the seeds underneath the ground are just waiting to grow. It is an opportunity for us to recognize the natural order of the universe and remember that our lives are part of something bigger that is constantly changing and renewing.
Thus, winter solstice has become a period for self-reflection and performing letting go rituals. On that day, ideally, we should make peace with our old self – who and what we had been – and reflect on what no longer serves us. It is the time for releasing stale energies, negative emotions and experiences, and invite new potential into our life. It is a day for connecting with Mother Earth and the Universe to usher in that rebirth and to help manifest our new aspirations.
And because the human spirit knows no geographical boundaries, we may join kindred souls in the opposite side of the world in celebrating and expressing our gratitude to Mother Earth. With the intention to let go of those thoughts and emotions that are no longer serving our purpose, we first acknowledge them as blessings for all the lessons they taught us. Some things may have caused us difficulties and pain, but they also made us better persons, and for this we should be thankful.
But how exactly do we let go?
A simple way is to list down all the things that we want to release. It can be about the pain of losing someone or something valuable; feelings of insecurity, envy, doubt, or fear; frustrations over unfulfilled goals. Next, build a fire and burn the list while stating your intention to let go. The statement could be something like “I now release all those parts of me and my experiences that I have kept to myself all this time. I love who I am, and with unconditional gratitude and compassion for myself and for others, I let go of all these things that no longer deserve to be in my life.”
Those who may be in areas near a beach could write down the things they want to release on the sand and let the waves wash them away.
Do a mindful breathing ritual. When you inhale, imagine yourself taking in new energy filled with love, compassion, and everything that you want to manifest in your life. As you exhale, imagine everything that you no longer want being released out of your mind, body, and spirit. As you do this, chant the mantra: “I let go, I let go, I let go…” and visualize the release happening.
You may find this meditation guide useful.
I also came across this song by Lisa Thiel.