Use This Simple Winter Solstice Ritual to Help You Reset Before the New Year

published Dec 17, 2020
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If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you may know Dec. 21 as the shortest day of the year—and also the day you retreat to the couch, curl up next to your pine-scented candle, and succumb to the fact that winter is officially here. 

While it’s common to feel a drop in energy levels with the sun setting early, not to mention the added stress that 2020 has brought, the winter solstice shouldn’t just be another day that passes by. In fact, it could be your ticket for resetting and regaining clarity ahead of the new year. 

Astronomically speaking, it’s when the sun is at the lowest part of the sky giving us shorter amounts of daylight. Winter solstice rituals and celebrations date all the way back to Pagan times, where it was believed that on this day, the moon would give birth to the sun, thus sparking intense transformation and renewal, according to ForeverConscious

Michael Cardenas, a practicing witch and psychic medium, describes the energy of the winter solstice as celebratory and hopeful. “There’s a lot of focus on personal spiritual rebirth, the rebirth of nature itself, and light overcoming darkness,” he tells Apartment Therapy.

What makes this year’s winter solstice so powerful?

On top of the winter solstice this year, Jupiter and Saturn are in conjunction in their closest alignment in 800 years. With these powerhouse planets joining forces, many astrologers believe this is also ushering in the Age of Aquarius (cue: The Fifth Dimension song). This is said to shift our focus to the collective and humanitarianism, sparking a new renaissance of innovation and unconventional ways of thinking and doing. 

In other words, use this time wisely to recenter, reflect, and reconnect. Ground yourself and get clear on what you want; good things are on the horizon when you’re open to them.

How to commemorate the winter solstice:

If you want to take advantage of this powerful solstice energy, but aren’t quite looking to go all out with yule logs and waking up at the crack of dawn, you can still partake in a meaningful ritual—and all you need is a candle and quiet space in your home.

“Treat yourself to a seasonal candle to welcome light and positive vibrations into your life,” Cardenas says, adding that he prefers peppermint variations to draw in fresh, vibrant energy. As he explains, “bonfires or candles are lit in a sacred space to represent the light of the sun returning to the earth and illuminating our lives in the process.”

First, set the tone of your practicing space. Make sure it’s decluttered, and if you wish, Cardenas suggests setting out pine or cedar branches in vases of water for added growth and prosperity. You might also want to set a pen and paper close by for setting your intentions.

Once you settle in, Cardenas suggests starting by writing the word “illumination” in the candle wax with a pen in order to initiate transformation. Next, light the candle and watch the flame dance while reflecting on the past year and what you want to let go of. Blow out the candle and take a moment to sit in the darkness, thinking about freeing up your own inner darkness—think: self-limiting thoughts, toxic people, or irrational fears. When you’re ready, re-light the candle while setting your intentions for the year ahead. 

Cardenas personally honors this time by clearing out negativity and drawing in good energy. “I make it a point to have lots of white candles lit on my altar and burn green cedar throughout my entire home with the windows open to clear out any negativity,” he says. “I also have a bonfire before the sun sets to symbolically align with the sun’s strength, and end the night by toasting with red wine to call in good health.” 

How to set intentions during the winter solstice: 

When casting your intentions, it’s important to think about joy within the process rather than goals and outcomes. For example, if you want to find a new job, identify a few intentions, such as being open to abundance and following what lights you up. You may set a few smaller, more specific intentions from there with those guiding principles in mind. Remember, intention setting is rooted within the law of attraction, which is a belief that positive thoughts attract positive results in your life. Keep these intentions focused on what you wish to attract when you live in alignment—and the universe will work in powerful ways to help you achieve those goals.