It’s the week before Christmas, and most people are trying to hustle to make it to that Holiday finish line. I, on the other hand, have forgotten about this race this year. My eyes have been set on another date that rings far more important to my needs this season—the winter solstice. The shortest day and longest night of the year marks the official start of winter on December 21, 2017. I first began looking forward to the solstice to set my sights on the start of longer days. Like so many folks, I can fall victim to seasonal depression, and the early sunsets hit me hard. I’ve been holding on to the comforting fact that, come December 21, the sun will stay out just a little longer each day.
As I considered the solstice, I began to also view and appreciate it as the mark of a new cycle. Our lives are full of cycles, whether they be marked by time or personal patterns. Since the winter solstice marks the beginning of a new astronomical cycle, it feels far more relevant to me than New Year’s Day, which only marks the change of the calendar.
With all of this in mind, I decided that this year I will celebrate the solstice. I want to honor the change in our solar system, the change that all living beings on this earth have in common. But I also want to use the solstice to acknowledge and meditate upon my own recent changes and my goals moving forward.
In considering how I might do this, I looked into some traditional forms of celebration. Persons of many cultures have been paying tribute to the solstice for thousands of years. There are monuments designed to highlight the solstice sun all over the world. For instance, Ireland has Newgrange, England has Stonehenge, and Ohio has Serpent Mound. All of these ancient monuments are, in some way, aligned with the solstice sun. If the opportunity presents itself, it may be meaningful to travel to a site like this, or some other nearby location that was built to honor astronomical movements.
I myself might make the two-hour drive to Serpent Mound, where the various points of the 1,348 foot-long snake point to sunrises and sunsets of the equinoxes and solstices. Or I may just travel to one of my favorite Cincinnati parks to watch the sun go down.
A friend of mine is visiting her family in Alaska for the Holidays. They’ll only see the sun for a handful of hours on December 21. For them, the solstice is a big deal. Friends and family gather together, sharing a big pot of soup and catching up into the dark evening. It sounds like an excellent way to combat the seasonal blues, so I plan to make a dinner with friends a big part of my evening on Thursday.
A quick search on the internet reveals a number of suggested ways to celebrate—evergreen wreathes, candles, journaling. These all sound lovely and pleasant. The important thing is to follow your own intuition. Winter is traditionally a time for introspection, so meditating, writing, and listening to your own needs may be just the thing this winter solstice.
Essential oils, incense, and other sources of scent have been used for centuries as a way to ground oneself during meditation. They’re particularly nice at this time of year, since the natural oils can bring in the uplifting energies of the outdoors at a time when mother nature seems a bit too frigid to be receptive. The all-natural Winter Solstice Possets scent is a nice blend for meditation and relaxation all winter long. It’s composed of 100% natural oils, and gives off an uplifting, slightly spicy scent that seems to both awaken and ground.
This Possets scent is not to be confused with the Snow Solstice perfume oil, which is a much more playful scent that gives off wisps of sweet coconut. Wear the Winter Solstice for your moments of solitude and put on the Snow Solstice for the dinner party afterwards.
by Katrina Eresman