It’s December 21st and the winter Solstice is upon us. The Solstice, or Yule, marks the shortest day of the year and the longest night. It's also the last New Moon of 2017, and the onset of winter in all its abundant cold and darkness. Like a blackout, during the Solstice, we look for light to guide us. It is not surprising, then, that all major religions celebrate and incorporate light in their holiday rituals directly and indirectly, calling in, like the pre-Christians, the light that will eventually thaw the earth and ready it for new things to come. (If you’re interested in ancient pagan rituals and how pre-Christian worship mutated into the celebration of Christ’s birth, look here). It’s always darkest before the dawn, and after the moon sets tomorrow morning, we will begin a new cycle towards rebirth and renewal, replete with light, longer days, and a heavily anticipated spring.
Generally, this is the time for shedding all the debris and baggage of last year and setting intentions for the year to come. But this winter Solstice is particularly difficult. Yesterday, Saturn, the quintessential Debbie Downer of every New Year's bash, moved in front of the Sun, aligning with Capricorn, causing us to feel more pessimistic, more down on ourselves, and more doomsday than usual. To top it all off, Mercury doesn’t go direct until the 23rd, so things may look even dicier. Now is definitely not the time to try and take new steps, rather, this Solstice is the perfect time for grounding and resetting oneself for the work ahead.
The potent energy of the new moon will resound for a few days after it makes its appearance, so think of Friday and Saturday as organizing days to do what you have been putting off: get yourself, your house, your finances, and your relationships in order. Exercise, eat well, clean out your closet, fridge and medicine cabinet, scrub your bathtub, but do it without any negative judgment.
Round it all out with some hardcore self-care: rest, relax, and reconnect to your dreams, inner life, and self-love in order to set intentions for the New Year. Light some candles or a fire to call back the sun, make and burn some incense, meditate, draw some Tarot cards, dress your altar, cast a spell, ground yourself with crystals, diffuse some Yule-time essential oils, journal, write, and create lists. Mainly, you want to check in with yourself, take note of what you have learned, what you want to change, and figure out what’s really important to you. Then, do whatever you need to do to gather your energy for all the new things to come, because after the Solstice comes action and the first growing pains of the season.
More from BUST
Sarah C. Epstein is a writer and creator living in NYC. In her free time she enjoys eating berries, reflecting on her dreams, and hanging out with her pet snake, Sydney. Find her online at cricketepstein.com.