And frosty greetings they are too! My, my the winter solstice grows closer, the days are getting sharply shorter and the nights longer, more bitterly cold. 'Tis winter in New England! Next Tuesday, exactly a week from today will be the winter solstice. The longest night, shortest day of our year marking mid-winter and heralding the return of the Sun.
I've had several requests for a ritual that anyone can conduct to honor and recognize the winter solstice, the original focus of this holiday season. I've crafted one especially for tonight's discussion, and I'm happy in that it can be used by those of any denomination, or spiritual belief system. I am discussing the ritual tonight so that those that wish to incorporate this into their holiday festivities will have the time to gather the items needed during this next week.
First one must have a focus:
Your focus can be different from others, as long as it works for you. For instance if you feel more Christian especially around Christmas, honoring the new born God of light is appropriate. For those more pagan bent, honoring the wisdom of the Crone as well as recognizing the newly born God, the light, the Sun, in its infancy, celebrating its spark which will grow stronger as the wheel turns.
For those who wish to visualize the imagery found in nature when honoring the Spirit of the Winter Solstice, you can envisage the evergreens in the forests, the red berries and the crystal white mantle of snow blanketing all surfaces, making them pristine and holy.
This ritual requires you to craft or gather the following items:
- A green evergreen wreath one to two feet across or diameter. Decorated as ornately or as simply as you desire. It will lay flat on a table, so consider this when choosing or making your wreath.
- 5 red candles in separate holder, Tapers are ideal. Freeze overnight, then thaw at room temperature a few hours before using to prevent dripping wax. Votives can be used, even small jar candles. Use what works for you, making sure No flame touches the greenery of the wreath.
- a silver colored bowl that can fit inside the center of the wreath.
- silver and red round tree ornaments
- a stick or cone of incense appropriate for the season, Balsam fir, Cinnamon, Peppermint
- a bell
Next Tuesday is not only the winter solstice, a Sabbat, but it happens to fall on the next full moon, an esbat. This is a good time to point out that during moon esbats we conduct or cast magick. A Sabbat is a celebration of life and love, the gifts of the Goddess and God, and typically magick is not done. It is more of a celebratory occasion, although we can focus on the upcoming year and do divination during Sabbats.In this instance when a Sabbat falls on an esbat, the Sabbat supersedes the esbat and we celebrate the Sabbat, with little notice of the moon. This is just as my tradition was taught, and I pass it along for interest sake. You may do as you please.
As this is a celebratory Sabbat ritual, a magickal circle is not needed, which makes this an easy ritual for anyone to perform. First choose a flat surface to decorate with your ritual. A dining table is nice as the rritual remnants make for a pretty solstice decoration. It is also not obvious that the decorations are anything other than holiday decor.
Make sure to eliminate all distractions and outside interference. Have everything assembled by placing the evergreen wreath in the center of the table. Lay it down and place the silver bowl in the center of the wreath. Ring the bell three times and light the incense. Holding the incense wand aloft, waft it around the wreath three times in the air and then place in its holder. Now take each red candle in its own holder and place them in a star pattern around the wreath. Or equally spaced apart all around the wreath.
As you carefully light each candle give a blessing or prayer of thanks for each one. You may give thanks for whatever you desire, using words of your choosing. Or you may use these blessings I wrote if you'd like. Say the following as you light the candles.
- I give thanks for the wisdom of the Crone as she reigns over winters mantle (for the 1st candle)
- I give thanks for the return of the light, with each day he becomes stronger (2nd candle)
- I give thanks for the eternal promise of life found within each winter solstice (3rd candle)
- I give thanks for the coming spring which is quick on the heels of the winter (4th candle)
- I give thanks for the life, the love and the glory of this most holy of seasons (5th candle)
After the silver bowl is as full of ornaments as you choose, sit for a moment and think of the upcoming year, along with the people and circumstances you wish to surround yourself with. Close your eyes and see the year ahead, the people and places, circumstances and experiences you desire. feel the love of the season fill you with warmth and happiness. Then when you've finished, ring the bell and if the candles are still burning, you may snuff them out or allow them to burn all the way down as long as they are constantly supervised. If you choose to snuff them out, you can relight them again and again throughout the Yuletide season.
When the candles have burned themselves out you can replace the candles, and each time you light the candles you can recite the prayers again. Every now and again, throughout the season, pick up an ornament, hold it and name again the person, the situation. This helps you keep those that are most special to you in the forefront of your mind in a conscious, aware, tangible way. This is how you can assure yourself you bring the best and the most rewarding aspects of your life with you into the new year.
This ritual can be done anytime on the 21st of December, next Tuesday, but the evening time, after dark, seems the most appropriate as the light of the candles and the prayers pushes back the encroaching darkness of winter, allowing the Sun to return.
I wish you all a Blessed Solstice and a Merry Yuletide Season
Peace and Happiness
© 2010 Enchantments, LLC Portions of this blog posting may include materials from my book “Enchantments School for the Magickal Arts First Year Magickal Studies.” For more information, see www.enchantmentsschool.com or go to the title of tonight's discussion and click, it will link you to my school's website.
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