Celebrate this festival by draping the altar in white and silver. Kepp the entire altar white — white candlesticks, white incense bowls, etc. Represent the Goddess with a figure of a horned cow. If you wear robes in ritual, honor Brigid in her guise as the goddess of the dairy by wearing white. With Neptune lending the glamour to your robes to the Sun this time, as glitter to your robes with sliver and “diamonds.” Let your imagination run wild.
Save snow from the last storm, or use crushed ice, and put it out in bowls on the altar. Scrub clean an old milke bottle or cream jar and fill it with fresh milk; freshly made mozzarella cheese will round out your cakes and ale. Nestle all bowls in the snow.
The planetary energies are particularly favorable this sabbat for working magic for world peace. Place all the candles you’ll be using this year on the altar and start this ritual in the dark — this is, without lights. Add your magic to the returning Sun. Dedicate and consecrate all your candles during this festival of lights, and consecrate your agricultural tools for use in the coming cycle of growth. This is the festival of new beginnings.
Copyright By K. D. Spitzer in Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2004 Page 39
Many Pagans, Witches, and those interested in Nature Spirituality celebrate the seasonal cycles. Sometimes referred to as the Wheel of the Year, and consisting of eight celebrations. Four of these festivals (Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh, and Samhain) are rooted in Celtic history and origins. The other four (Spring Equinox, Summer Solstice, Autumn Equinox, and Winter Solstice) represent the sun’s location. I created a complete guide to each season, including history, traditions, symbols, correspondences, ritual ideas, and how you can celebrate.
Imbolc is a fire festival that celebrates the home and the halfway point between Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. It is quite literally Midwinter and while the days continue to grow lighter it is still dark and cold outside. Cabin fever has set in and we are all yearning to unburden ourselves from the long dark days. This can be an especially difficult time for those who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and is a BIG reason why a celebration is so lovely right now!
After months of self-reflection, planning, and goal setting, aspiration and ambition are beginning to stir. The tiniest bits of enthusiasm is starting to awaken beneath the surface. Goals and dreams that you’ve created over the long cold nights are now being lit from the flames of Midwinter. Let your creativity and imagination help manifest these dreams!
Table of Contents
- How do you pronounce Imbolc?
- When is Imbolc?
- Imbolc History and Traditions
- Imbolc Correspondences
- Simple Solo Imbolc Rituals
- How to Celebrate Imbolc and Activities
Take a deep breath as we enter this time of the winter solstice on December 21 in the northern hemisphere. Think of it as a sacred gateway: an ending and a new beginning. With all the noise of 2021, it is time for some much-needed quiet and inner nourishment. Mother Nature is asking us to reflect, recalibrate, and strengthen our ability to shine in the world.
The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year and the longest night. At this time, many cultures believe that the archetypal Great Mother gave birth to a sun child (the Egyptian deity Isis gave birth to sun god Horus; the Greek Leto gave birth to a shining Apollo.) This is a moment to hold the light for yourself and others. Here are eight rituals to help you do so.
1. Turn off the lights.
On the night of the solstice, unplug your phone, TV, and tablets. Instead of turning on electric lights, eat dinner by candlelight and…
For the past six months, the days have grown shorter and the nights have grown longer in the Northern Hemisphere. But that’s about to reverse itself.
Winter solstice 2021, the shortest day of year and the official first day of winter, is on Tuesday, December 21. How it all works has fascinated people for thousands of years.
First we’ll look at the science and precise timing behind the solstice. Then we’ll explore some ancient traditions and celebrations around the world.
Winter solstice traditions from around the globe
Just when you think December has enough to celebrate between Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and the impending New Year, there’s yet another reason to gather with your loved ones and celebrate: the winter solstice. You might be more familiar with the winter solstice as the day with the shortest amount of sunlight. But around the world, many cultures still celebrate the longest night of the year with unique winter solstice traditions. Read on to find out what they are. Then learn when the winter solstice is this year and what the 2021 winter solstice means for your zodiac.
Winter solstice traditions: Saint Lucia Day, Scandinavia
As with many modern celebrations, ancient festivals observing the winter solstice merged with newer traditions to create the holiday season as we know it today. In Scandinavia…
For those who are spiritual but not so religious, you may choose to celebrate the December holiday season differently. The winter solstice is a wonderful way to honor your ancestors, the earth and its creatures, and the birth of a new sun during this special time of year.
So what exactly is this ancient holiday, and how do you celebrate the winter solstice? Spoonful of Comfort answers these questions and offers some new-to-you winter solstice traditions that you and your loved ones can embrace.
What Is the Winter Solstice Holiday?
Earth experiences the winter solstice when the shortest and darkest day of the year passes and a new, longer day begins. In 2021, for the Northern Hemisphere, the exact time for this change is December 21 at 10:59 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.
Why Is the Winter Solstice Celebrated?…
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To understand the difference between summer and winter solstices, we need to have a clear understanding of the word solstice. We know that earth revolves around sun in an elliptical orbit, but it also spins around its own axis. This is an imaginary line going right across the planet from North Pole to South Pole. Fortunately for our planet, this axis is not perpendicular but tilted about 23.5 degrees and it is this tilt that gives us seasons on earth. This tilt makes one half of earth receive more direct rays from sun than the other half which remains away from earth.
The axis, when it tilts towards the sun, it makes northern hemisphere receive more direct rays from the sun than southern hemisphere. This phenomenon occurs between June and September and thus this is the period when it is summer season in the northern hemisphere. Again, this axis tilts away from the sun between December and March which is why we have winter season in the northern hemisphere during this period. While it is summers in northern hemisphere as it receives more direct rays from the sun, it is winter in the southern hemisphere, and vice versa in winters.
The Winter Solstice
December 21, 2015 marks the Winter Solstice, which is the official beginning of winter, and the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. But there’s a light at the end of this tunnel — literally! As the temperatures fall throughout the winter, the light grows, representing new hope during a time of darkness.
Ancient solstice festivals were the last big feasts before food became scarce during the harsh winter months. This magical day was celebrated from ancient Rome to China, and by the builders of Stonehenge to the Mayans. In fact, we all remember the Winter Solstice on December 21, 2012, which was the apparent end of the Mayan calendar, causing many to believe the end of the world is coming. Obviously, we’re still here!
Many modern holiday traditions, such as Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year’s, have their roots in the Winter Solstice celebrations of yesterday. Winter festivals continue today, complete with lights, feasts, dancing and singing, and spending quality time with those we love.
Astrologically, the Winter Solstice marks the moment the Sun — the ruler of the zodiac — moves from adventurous Fire sign Sagittarius to the steady Earth sign of Capricorn. This is the dark night of the year, a day when the Sun appears to stand still. It’s a time for light and laughter, but also deep reflection.
The Sun’s move into steady Capricorn urges us to take some time to look back on 2015 before we make those New Year’s resolutions. What did we do right? What do we wish we’d done differently? Don’t fight the seriousness it brings to the festive holiday season — use it to start 2016 on the right foot! Just make sure to keep some of the Goat’s ambitious energy alive when the Sun makes its next move.
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Winter Solstice Ritual Potpourri
Recipe by Gerina Dunwich
20 drops musk oil
25 drops pine oil
1 cup oak moss
2 cups dried mistletoe
1 cup dried poinsettia flowers
1 cup dried bayberries
1/2 cup dried rosemary
1/2 cup dried holly leaves and berries
3 crushed pinecones
Mix the musk and pine oils with the oak moss, and then add the remaining ingredients. Stir the potpourri well and store in a tightly covered ceramic or glass container.
(The above recipe for “Yule Ritual Potpourri” is quoted directly from Gerina Dunwich’s book “The Wicca Spellbook: A Witch’s Collection of Wiccan Spells, Potions and Recipes”, page 162, A Citadel Press Book, Carol Publishing Group, 1994/1995)