Tomorrow is the Winter Solstice, the official start of winter and the shortest day of the year. No doubt there are countless articles written online today about “what you need to know” about this holiday. Maybe it’s just me, maybe I’m just tired, but I don’t “need to know” anything about it. This day has been celebrated for centuries and I have been aware of it for most of my life. I get tired of the same information being recycled and rebranded for the sake of attention and to try to make what’s ancient look new.
If you’re new to celebrating the Winter Solstice there are many books and links available to you. You can also read up on the history and mythology around Yule and design your own rituals, or if you have a group to celebrate with, design something together. This day can be as rich or as simple in symbolism and meaning as you desire.
Oliver and I will be exchanging gifts and I’ll be holding simple, private, candle-lighting and meditation ritual. We decorated for the season weeks ago and I am grateful for a day to rest and put everything else aside. I have been hard at work making products for my shop, custom making knitted items for clients, and designing the (tarot) reading room/music room for our house. Winter encourages us to slow down and rest in many ways. Shorter days, hot food, slippery roads, and even illness. Learning to take the hints and become attuned is a process.
I’ve been reading The Old Magic of Christmas by Linda Raedisch and I highly recommend it for anyone interested in the history of the Christmas season and celebrations. Her focus has been on Swedish/Norse/Icelandic/etc myths. I particularly loved the chapter on elves. It’s fascinating and as someone who hasn’t yet ventured far into those mythologies, it has been a fabulous introduction. Her style of writing has been delightful to read and the rich traditions in those parts of the world are captivating. I felt a little sorry that I spent so much of my life unaware of many of them.
So, back to celebrating. I do love this holiday, but it doesn’t have to be about pomp. It can be whatever you want it to be. If you celebrate, celebrate in a way that is meaningful to you. If all you want to do is sleep, even that is an acknowledgement of this part of the seaonal cycle and is sacred in its own way.
Whatever the case, I wish you blessings and love.