The Magic of the Winter Solstice
These last few years, I've explored both the science and Pagan traditions of the Winter Solstice that make the 21st December magical.
As a child I can recall asking my father why the 21st December was known as the shortest day; struggling to understand the concept that a day could be shorter than any other of the 364 days of the year. Over time my curiosity grew, this day had more depth and meaning than just being the shortest day for daylight. So many questions started to present themselves and I started to wonder how the Solstice impacted our planet, and the souls living here.
Ahead of the 2017 Winter Solstice, here are 3 facts on what happens to the Earth on the 21st December:-
- It’s the one day with the least amount of daylight, which is why it’s known as the shortest day. After the Solstice the days get longer and the nights get shorter.
- There is a specific time of the day that the Solstice takes place. In the UK it will take place at 4:28pm, which is when the sun will be directly overhead of the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere.
- The Earth tilt’s on its axis and its motion as it orbits around the sun. At the Winter Solstice, the Northern Hemisphere leans most away from the sun for the year and the sun stays below the north pole horizon.
The Winter Solstice has been celebrated for thousands of years, its a reminder that there is always light at the end of darkness. It's a major Pagan festival that marks rebirth and a new year, many will gather at Stonehenge to welcome the sunrise on the 21st December. A great number of what we class today as Christmas traditions actually originate from Pagan roots with yule logs, mistletoe, placing holly wreaths on our doors and even bringing trees indoors to decorate!
This year the December New Moon takes place a few days before the Winter Solstice and with this New Moon, brings the strong energy of making changes, as we close the year out and welcome in new beginnings with the dawn of a New Year.
Here are a few ways that you can celebrate the Winter Solstice and set yourself up for the New Year:-
- You can either do this indoors if you have an open fire or log burner. Alternatively, if you wish to do this outdoors you can light a fire pit or small bonfire, please make sure this is carried out in safe surroundings. Standing in front of the fire, cast your thoughts over all you’ve achieved in this last year, give thanks and set your intentions for the New Year. Ahead of the evening, you can write these out on paper and place on the fire and sent out into the universe - this is exceptionally powerful.
- Prepare a feast of ‘seasonal food’ comprising of vegetables in season and give thanks before you eat. As you eat, make your wishes for the next 6 months.
- Light a candle on the evening of the 21st December and make a wish over the flame. Using the same candle, repeat this process over the next 7 days and on the 7th day allow the candle to extinguish itself.
Sending Winter Solstice Blessings to You All.