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From Winter With LOVE

The Winter Solstice arrives today; December 21st, together with the first day of Yuletide; an initiation of the changing of seasons; from Autumn to Winter, marking the shortest day, the darkest night, and a time when the light returns. In the seasonal wheel of the year, Winter Solstice is a day of old meeting new, a witnessing and celebration of the night, of age, of wisdom, death and rebirth. Loss, completions and grief are honored alongside the blessings of what is here, and the aliveness, hope and possibility that awaits.

Rituals and ceremony offer an opportunity to step away from the external and to be present with ourselves, to reflect on what we have been shown, what we have learned, what has become clear and what has become dear to us. Rituals nourish and renew the sacred aspects of ourselves. They invite softening, quietude, comfort, healing, re-calibrations, alignment with our innate nature and our interconnectedness with all of life. I’m sharing a few simple and favorite ways to invite the sacredness of this auspicious “Turning Of the Wheel” portal to nourish your spirit and the warmth of gladness in your heart. Yuletide – a traditional ritual of log burning since ancient times, where we gather in celebration of the night and offer a surrendering of what has passed and share gratitude for what is here. In England, we celebrate by baking a desert Yule Log (which is traditionally a rolled, chocolate sponge with decorated icing, powdered sugar for snow and fresh holly, berries or pine tree trimmings). Last year, I saved a section of our Christmas Tree trunk, and will burn that tonight to mark the Solstice. Ring bells for the returning of the light and the spark of hope that lives within us all. Bells are a symbol of calling in, the advent or heralding of the new. Church bells, singing bowls, wind chimes, sleigh bells adorning our gates or doorways all remind us of this summoning. Storytelling – since ancient times, sharing tales and lore of the season is a beautiful tradition of sharing the bounty and benevolence of wisdom lived. I’m thinking spiced mulled wine, fireside cozy with a favorite book of poetry or winter essays. Burning of dried, bundles of herbs and flowers to dispel stagnancy, negativity, illness, conflicts and especially profound for clearing the energy of your home. My favorites are sage, juniper and rosemary. Light candles for prayers, for blessings, for loved ones far away. Consider spending the entire evening aglow in candlelight, transforming mealtime, bathing-time, journal time, reading, playing board games, kitchen table heart-talk and bedtime into something beautiful and magical . Spend time in nature, paying particular attention to the reflecting light and the casting of shadows. Offer your completions, your difficulties, your regrets, your tears to the setting sun. Declare aloud your boldest dreams to the stars. Create space for the old and new to meet. Entryways, doorways, arches, front porches, are all portals for welcoming and arrivals. Sweep steps. Clear away clutter. Cleanse crystals. Set out lanterns. Gather boughs, garland, pinecones, fresh or dried herbs or flowers. Hanging wreaths are a lovely symbol and representation of the wheel of the year; honoring the cycles, the seasons, the movement of the sun (light) across time and space. However you choose to honor, witness or celebrate this auspicious evening to surrender the year to the night … I send out so much LOVE to your practices, your beautiful hearts, and the light of promise, peace and pure possibility that dwells within each and every one of us. Jo xx

"THE SHORTEST DAY" (Winter Solstice Poem by Susan Cooper) So the shortest day came, and the year died, And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world Came people singing, dancing, To drive the dark away. They lighted candles in the winter trees; They hung their homes with evergreen; They burned beseeching fires all night long To keep the year alive, And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake They shouted, reveling. Through all the frosty ages you can hear them Echoing behind us—Listen!! All the long echoes sing the same delight, This shortest day, As promise wakens in the sleeping land: They carol, feast, give thanks, And dearly love their friends, And hope for peace. And so do we, here, now, This year and every year. Welcome Yule!


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