Today is the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere, marking the shortest amount of daylight hours and the longest night of the year. The Pagan celebration of Winter Solstice is one of the oldest winter celebrations in the world.
In historical times, the winter solstice was immensely important because the people were economically dependant on monitoring the progress of the seasons. Because of this, many ancient people had a great reverence for the sun. Key archaeological sites including Stonehenge are thought to have been used to celebrate the winter solstice, as its formation is carefully aligned so that it points to the Winter Solstice Sunset.
Worldwide, interpretation of the event has varied across cultures, with various festivals and rituals being observed.
Pagan Scandinavians and Germanic people of northern Europe celebrated a twelve day midwinter solstice called “Yule”, a tradition which now features in a lot of modern European Christmas celebrations.
In modern times, Iranian people celebrate the Northern winter solstice as “Yalda night”, where families gather together to eat and drink and read poems. China’s Dōngzhi festival marks the time when winter’s darkness begins to give way to light.
While we may not observe any of these traditions in Australia or New Zealand, the day still offers a sense of energy and mystery. Why not celebrate the day by using it as a time to clear your home or office of negative energy? There are many different thoughts on how to do this, so we have collected the most popular:
The practice of burning herbs is common to many cultures, and is one of the oldest methods of cleaning a person or space. Here you take a dried herb like sage or sandalwood and simply light a small corner, and then blow it out. Go around the area that needs cleansing, and let the smoke get to every corner of the room.
Surrounding yourself with nature is continually proven to have positive health benefits, and is often used in Feng Shui to create positive energy. In winter we often are confined indoors. Why not bring the benefits of nature indoors and invest in some indoor plants?
Burn Essential Oils
Essential oils have been used since ancient times to help release negative energy and promote positivity. They can be burned as aromatherapy, or used in a bath or for massage. Lavender oil can alleviate insomnia and nervous tension, while orange essential oil is a great pick me up.
Embrace the Sunshine
Why not make light a pagan and celebrate the sun today? Natural light does wonders for our mental health and wellbeing. Maximise natural light by opening up windows, removing furniture if they are blocking the way and cover with light, natural drapes to allow the most amount of sun to enter.
If you live in a small apartment that doesn’t get much sun, maximise what little you receive, by putting up mirrors and utilising the power of reflection to create the feeling of light in darker areas.