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winter solstice ritual

December 22, 2007
I hosted Spoken Word Salon in Ventucky monthly for over 5 years.
Our last reading was just before the winter solstice 2006.
These are my notes off various sources for the ritual we held:
ALTAR/ALTER set in north green cloth
Bring 6 candles, rosemary, holly, ivy, lemons, avocados
1. Yellow Cedar (Arborvitae) for cleansing and purity.
2. Ash, considered an herb of the sun, for protection.
3. Bay Laurel, to bring the light of the sun into the
house and ward off illness.
4. Blessed Thistle, an herb still used to cleanse the
blood, for protection, joy, and prosperity.
5. Chamomile, an herb still used for its ability to
soothe and cleanse, for love and purification.
6. Frankincense, an antiseptic herb, used symbolically
to bring purification and protection.
7. Holly, for protection and to symbolize the
co-existence of human and plant spirit and life.
8. Juniper, for love and protection.
9. Mistletoe, for healing, peace, and beautiful
10. Pine, for peace, healing, and joy.
On this darkest of nights, according to some ancient
and contemporary traditions, the Goddess becomes the
Great Mother and once again gives birth. Thus, from
the longest, darkest night of the winter, there
springs the new spark of hope.
The winter solstice takes place on or about December
21 every year, and is the moment when the sun is at
its southernmost position. For those of us in the
northern hemisphere, this means that on the winter
solstice the sun rises the latest and sets the
earliest of the entire year.
The sun hangs low and weak in the sky during daylight
hours, and daytime shadows are the longest. Because
the day is the year’s shortest, the winter solstice is
also the time of the longest night.
Acknowledging this passage through solstice rites is
one of our oldest celebrations, dating back to the
dawn of modern civilization some 30,000 years ago and
practiced at one time or another by virtually every
culture in the world.
Many Native American groups held winter solstice rites,
including the local Chumash.
Possibly you too have seen some of their solstice rock art in
the hills about Ojai and Santa Barbara. Solstices Are very important
to them, and the winter solstice celebration last several days.
For ancient peoples, the winter solstice was an
awesome, mysterious, and powerful phenomenon and
represented the death of the old solar year and the
birth of the new. Yule festivities
marked this planetary turning point away from darkness
and the blessed return to light.
Some neo-pagans believe the dark nights of winter are
when the veil between the spirit world and the living
world is the thinnest. This night and this time of
year is therefore an appropriate time for
self-examination and meditation on hidden
energies–both the energies lying dormant within the
earth, and also those within ourselves. Yule traditions
celebrate nature’s renewal, and help affirm
our connection to the energy and power of the earth
and the cosmos.
Yule is a time of rebirth, of new beginnings and the
setting of new goals for oneself. It is a time of
putting aside regrets, resentments, and that which
causes us unhappiness.
Before we can rid ourselves of these feelings, we must know
them intimately: the season starts in the
silent darkness of the cold winter’s night; a time
when we cannot escape ourselves through pleasurable
outside diversions, a time of meditation and inward
thoughts; of recognizing the cold sorrows of the
season of barrenness as both those within the frosted
panes of our souls, as well as those raging outside
the frosted window.
CRONE looking at unlit candles
I sorrow not,
though the world is wrapped in sleep
I sorrow not,
though the icy winds blast.
I sorrow not,
though the snow falls hard and deep.
I sorrow not,
for this too shall pass.
Looking at the group, the Crone continues:
At this time do we know the dark of the year.
The season of life is past, and all is cold.
Emptiness and bleakness are all about.
In darkness we join to wait out this night
For the womb of the dark holds the birth of the light.
But the darkness of the season soon shall be broken.
(Crone lights 2 exterior candles using blue taper)
And new life be born once again!
MOTHER: In darkness do I learn and heal.
By this fire, my way to change I seal.
I light this fire in Your honor, Mother Goddess
You have created life from death;
warmth from cold;
The Sun lives once again;
the time of light is waxing.
Welcome, ever returning Sun!
Hail Mother of All!
Circle the altar and cauldron slowly, clockwise,
watching the flames.
YOUNG WOMAN first then MOTHER & YOUNG WOMAN then all 3 repeat
The wheel turns; the power burns.
>> Meditate upon the Sun, on the hidden energies lying
dormant in winter, not only in the Earth but within
>> Honor childhood places
>> Honor elders and listen for them
>> Honor those who have passed on; re-establish your
>>Honor Green Standing People’s and see their “bones”
>> Honor the survival efforts and ingenuity of all living
>> Honor the stones who teach us to be
>> Thank the sun for staying longer each evening.
>> See the signs of growth, and rejoice in renewal.
>> Stand before your altar and candles. Say:
Great God of the Sun,
I welcome Your return.
May You shine brightly upon the Goddess;
May You shine brightly upon the Earth,
scattering seeds and fertilizing the land.
All blessings upon You,
Reborn One of the Sun!
Know that you are Blessed.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Glenda J Petersen permalink
    December 27, 2007 5:05 pm

    Blessings to you for this.
    The entire reading is a beautiful Solstice Blessing!

  2. artpredator permalink*
    December 27, 2007 8:56 pm

    thank you! i struggled with the formatting and still the font is soo small; i am glad you found it rewarding.

    when we performed this last year, it was very moving–there’s more that i did but this was the basics.

    i don’t remember all the sources that i used but most were from various internet sources that i am sure you could find by simply cutting text and searching for it.

    happy solstice, glenda! thanks for writing and i hope you come back and visit my blog another day to see what’s up!


  1. winter solstice activities « art predator

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