Winter Solstice 2017: A Holiday on the Cheap

winter-moon

As you probably all know, I just had a baby. And it is amazing, and tiring, and amazing, and tiring. Baby Moon brings so much joy to my life I can barely stand it but as many of you also probably know having a baby is not cheap, especially when you have to buy lots of formula and diapers.

Well, this can be particularly difficult around the holidays. I want to spend a bunch on my family and friends, even myself a little, but I just can’t.

And there’s no reason for me to feel guilty about that.

What I can do is spend my love on those I care about and remember the spiritual side of the holidays, particularly Solstice. It’s not about gifts, it really isn’t, and these little things you can do can help you feel the spirit without breaking your bank (which might already be empty like mine).

 

::Care and Cost Free Winter Solstice Activities::

 

Donate

When you’re exhausted but have just a bit of something to give, why not give where it really matters. Give money to something you support, or if you don’t have money but have time, volunteer at a shelter, soup kitchen, or charity over the holiday weekend. The Solstice is about remembering the light, so pay it forward and create a little light yourself.

Create a Holiday Play List

Music is always amazing, especially during the winter season. There aren’t as many Yule songs available but you can find some and you can even enjoy some secular Xmas favorites. Songs can even be a great meditation aid, plus you can sing with the intent of magick and create a little ritual right in that moment. Look up some ‘Yule songs’ or ‘Winter Solstice Music’, and see what you find. So curl up with your family, enjoy some cocoa or eggnog, and listen to songs that help you remember to feel the light return this Solstice.

Meditate

As the sun goes down on Solstice, think of the things you can leave behind. Think of this act as a metaphor for the past exiting. Meditate with the intent to leave what doesn’t serve you and welcome all the new joy to be had as the Sun returns. Get excited, motivated. This is a time of possibilities and a chance to make some powerful “beginning” magick.

You’ve made it through another year, another dark time of the wheel, and you’re stronger for it. Rejoice and reflect.

Tell Stories

Share stories of family, magick, love, and kindness. Look for stories of the Solstice, tales for children, and those myths we’ve come to love as adults. Tell the tale of the Oak King and the Holly King. Recite the traditions we have on Solstice. Find an Xmas favorite and change it to fit your own Goddess or Pagan tradition. You can even try it with A Christmas Carol or The Night Before Christmas. Pick the same stories each year, make it a tradition. You can also tell stories of the past year’s memories, good and bad, you can reflect as a family. You can tell of Solstices’ past.

And stories aren’t just in books. If you want, watch some of your favorites next the the fire or a glowing candle.

Enjoy the Lights

Take a drive with the fam and look at all the lovely decorations. Sit under your own tree or festive lights in the dark and watch the twinkling magick. Stare at the beautiful night sky outside in cozy blankets or from the warmth of your home.

 

Whatever you choose to do this Solstice, the most important thing is to remember what it is all about: Love, Light, Family, New Beginnings, and the Rebirth of the Sun.

 

Blessed Be!

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Winter Solstice Meditation

“I lay to rest all the worries and all the negativity of the old year.”

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Let Go & Be Still

Winter Solstice, a time of quiet on the longest night. This is the moment where the pendulum hovers at the time of darkness ruled over by the Holly King and the Dark Mother.

As this cold, long night reaches its peak, the pendulum swings back. Now we journey toward the time of light, of energy. The Bright Mother and the Oak King will reign over this other half of the year.

To the rest of the world the year itself is coming to an end. But we know this is only a tipping point. Nothing is “ending.” In fact, each day will get longer and longer. This is a time of beginnings.

We look forward to ushering in the hope and promise of this lighter half of the year. Our solstice is a time of renewal. It is also a time to let go of that which is no longer serving you.

 

This winter solstice meditation will allow you to ease yourself into this new half of the year. Welcome the turning of the Wheel and step into the light as your best self.

As you begin your meditation, follow your typical habits. Get comfortable, relax, and take a deep breath. Feel the Earth beneath you as you sit or lie down. Feel the air around you. Feel the fire within you. Feel the water as your blood flowing through you.

Breathe deep.

Think on this affirmation, “I lay to rest all the worries and all the negativity of the old year.”

When ready, hold your hands to your chest to form the Dharmachakra Mudra.
To do this mudra, pinch your left middle finger with the index and
thumb of your right hand. Put your index finger and thumb together with both hands, this symbolizes the Wheel of Life. The left hand represents your inner
world, and the right hand represents the external environment. This mudra brings the two worlds together. During this meditation think of one wheel as the ending half of the year, and the other wheel as the new half.

Take another grounding breath and think on something you wish to release. As you inhale, pull all the energy connected to that item into your lungs. Then, exhale and as the air leaves your lungs imagine yourself blowing out the negativity, the habit, the thought, holding you back. Blow out all that doesn’t serve you.

Take six more breaths, totaling seven. Inhale and release as before. Think of something you wish to let go and blow it out of your life. Imagine your breath as a cool rush of Winter air. Let it sweep clean the things from your past you don’t need.

When you have completed your seven breaths, think on a symbol, a sigil, that represents what you wish to achieve in the coming months. Brew the image in your mind like a hot cup of tea, filling you with warmth and power.

With the image solid and strong in your mind, open your eyes and draw it on a piece of paper. Hold it tight to your chest and fill it with your intention.

Work on this goal each day and when you feel you have accomplished it, or are ready to move to a new goal, burn the paper in a sacred fire.

The time of darkness is ending and a new light lies around the corner. The Wheel of the Year turns again and each time it does we have a chance to learn something about the world and ourselves.

Let go of the past, welcome the future. Be present, be hopeful, be the light.

Blessed Be.

 

Grim Expectations for an Unlikely Grinch

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Cold Weather. Cold Heart.

I not excited about the holidays.

It may seem strange considering how jolly I tend to be but I have to admit this season I’m feeling more like a Grinch than a Glinda.

To understand this better, let me first explain I have a bad history with this time of the year. In the past I’ve lost my job during the holidays, I’m practically always sick, giving my friends and family something special is typically impossible, I used to live in the Midwest and it was freezing cold which I absolutely hate, I’ve been stranded in a disgusting motel room watching It’s A Wonderful Life alone with my shoes on in the bed, and I’ve lost family. That last one being just a few days ago.

So, I don’t think it’s all that surprising that I’m not really thrilled about the coming holidays. My previous post on the Dark Moon Ritual was timely not just for the Moon Phase but because I had a lot of pain I needed to let go of. My family is in a bit of turmoil and I’m suddenly hosting X-mas Eve. Stress plus Holiday Dread don’t mix well.

I’m drowning in all this emotional weight and I can’t explain in words how wonderful it was to experience that Ritual and let some go. I’m going to follow up with that bit of self care and I felt like maybe others out there needed help dealing with the holidays as well.

grinch holidays winter solstice yule las vegas

Ever since I moved out to Vegas two years ago, I’ve been going to my second home for Yule. The Temple of Sekhmet in Indian Springs, NV. When I go there in the freezing night, and trust me it’s legitimately freezing out there, I forget about the trappings and commercial loads being thrown about during this season. I sit in the dark with my sisters and brothers and experience the shortest day for what it is. A tipping point. A place for beginnings and healing.

I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the Winter Solstice is highly celebrated. We need a time of joy and spiritual connection in the midst of this most difficult time. This day marks the ending of the Great Darkness. From there on out the days get longer and the Sun King is reborn. We made it through so much and the light is going to be coming back.

This time is the opportunity to begin anew. As the shines bring again, we can put our best foot forward and really commit to bringing in more light.

When I’m at the Temple and experiencing the Solstice I try hard to keep this in mind. The holidays are hard for so many, no doubt about it. But, this magickal time is the chance to bring more happiness, spirituality, kindness, and positivity to the universe. This is a powerful time and we should take the space to enjoy it. To use it to heal. And maybe, just maybe, we can do enough healing and joy-making to change our luck and make the holidays a little more pleasant.