One of the requests for simple ways to celebrate the turning of the wheel to Winter Solstice is how to celebrate with your younger children. So today’s simple ceremonial ideas are ways to incorporate sacred ceremony with your children.
First, let me share what the difference is between a holiday party and a Winter Solstice celebration, it is intention. For a typical holiday party the intention is gifts, buy, spend, give materially and spending time with family and friends. Winter Solstice is about going to the original source of your celebration. Whether you are celebrating a spiritual path or a religious path, it is about going to the source. Many of us have forgotten the simplistic nature of life and simple ceremony with intention reminds us of our interconnectedness with all of life.
Whether you are celebrating the Winter Solstice or the Summer Solstice, for six full days the sun rises and sets in what appears visibility as the same location, whereas the rest of the year we see it move across the sky.
Winter Solstice is a celebration that we are part of nature, interdependent and miraculously dependent upon the sun for life. We are taking a moment to focus upon all that is within and all that really matters to us.
While we are honoring the dark, we are also welcoming the light at winter solstice, so one idea is to create a ceremony around candles. Whether you are decorating luminaries for an outside ceremony or creating tin can punch decorative candle holders, the idea of bringing both the dark and the light together can be the basis.
Once you have created your candle holders place them in a circle before lighting and gather round. Standing in the North of the circle beginning walking around each candle while each one speaks of something they are grateful for or something they wish for the new year. You may add a song of celebration or tell a story of the Yule log. If you do this around a fire, you may wish to have sprigs of holly available that can be thrown into the fire for anything you wish to release for the New Year. If you do this, save a piece of the charred wood from the fire in a glass container to start the next year’s fire.
Create Winter Solstice ornaments with beads incorporating the light and the dark within the stars (snowflakes).
Create Winter Solstice Pieces of artwork to share as gifts.
Create a prayer stick for the new year or one that has crossed during that year to be planted in the ground. Most often prayer sticks are made from the indigenous tree of your area, but they have a few things in common. Prayer sticks measure the length of your arm from the elbow to the tips of the fingers; they are forked at the top, and the tree was asked before taken.
Once you have obtained your stick, laid an offering to the tree that gifted it, it is then time to begin creating. You can either strip the bark or use it as part of the stick. One feather is added (most often wild turkey) to one of the forks and a sacred herb in a small cloth pouch is added to the other fork. Other decorations such as fur or bone can also be added. NEVER add stones or metal objects to the stick. As you work on the stick be sure to continue offering your prayers and intentions to the stick.
Create Orange Sun Catchers (my favorite since moved to Florida)
Slice an orange across sideways. Throw away the very top and the very bottom. Make the slices about ¼” thick. Lay the slices out on a cookie sheet or backing stone and put them in a low oven (200F) – you can sprinkle them with cinnamon just before putting them into the oven. While it doesn’t change the appearance of the orange the aromas are very festive. Allow them to dry in the oven for 2 or so hours. Once the slices are all dried out put a needle and thread through the orange and tie it off depending on where you are going to hang (they look awesome in windows).