Today is the Winter Solstice, the day in the Northern Hemisphere, where I live, when the days begin to get longer. It doesn’t quite feel like it yet, as we only have a little over 8 hours between sunrise and sunset, but we have a minute or so more light than we did yesterday! It is of course helpful that we are also surrounded by lights on houses, Christmas trees, and in stores for the holiday season, but I like to take time to remember solstice rituals of old, and recreate a few of them myself.
Solstice connects us to the rhythm of the earth and stars, their relation to one another, and to us. We remember that even if we live in a bustling city and it has been a long time since our bare feet touched the ground, we are intricately connected to nature. Ancient peoples around the world — before the advent of electric lights — were much more attuned to the cyclical nature of life, and they created rituals to appease the gods and honor significant times in the flow of the year. We know that many people in our world are living in actual and metaphorical darkness. Most of us have experienced times of emotional and/or physical darkness that can seem insurmountable.
In these times where our world can feel dark, it is important to remember the light of hope is always just a match stroke away. Lighting your own candle and sitting before it in reflection can send hope to another person. Whether you light a bonfire and toss in intentions for this next season, or light a candle in remembrance of someone you love, taking time to sit before a source of natural light and reflect on what it means to you can be a simple and significant way to honor the return of the light and bring a little ray of hope to someone else.