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  • lizberwick1980

REST - Winter Solstice

Updated: Dec 15, 2023

21st December marks the Winter Solstice -the shortest day of the year, with the least light, the Sun will set just before 4pm and the longest night of the year will begin. So although we feel in the depths of darkness and summer feels so far away, Winter Solstice actually heralds the returning of the light, as the days begin to slowly lengthen in the rise up to mid summer at the Summer Solstice. As cyclical beings we are used to light and dark, just like the moon waxing and waning, and our menstrual cycle having two very different energetic events of ovulation and menstruation. Winter Solstice is the death moment in the cycle, where time and movement is held, an ending and a beginning. Time stands still, like the space between an exhale and an inhale. On the surface of things it may feel dark, deathly and frozen, and yet underneath a new life is forming and percolating.


This festival has been celebrated for centuries as a midwinter festival to stave off the dark and cold and prepare for the long winter still to come. In neopagan traditions, Yule (also known as Jól) is when the god, who sacrificed himself at Samhain, has journeyed through the underworld and, in the embrace of the goddess, becomes the child of light. In Pagan myth , Yule marks the journey of the Sun King to bring light into the world. The days following would gradually grow longer and lighter as the Sun King journeyed across the sky.

In wider traditions, Yule simply celebrates the coming of longer days and the return of the Sun. Trees are decorated, Yule logs are burned in the fireplace to protect the home and bring good luck.

Yule is the time to celebrate the rebirth of the light after the very darkest part of the year.

Yule and Christmas are not the same, though some use Yuletide to refer to the whole festive season. Many of what we consider Christmas traditions come from older pagan traditions associated with fertility, protection, and abundance.

Some of these Christmas traditions that have pagan roots include:

  • Decorating the Christmas tree

  • Adorning your home with candles, evergreen branches, holly, and mistletoe

  • Indulging in sweets and drinks with friends

  • Santa

The Celts burned a Yule Log as well, though they believed that the sun stood still for 12 days and began moving again on the winter solstice.

Ancient Romans also held a multi-day winter festival known as Saturnalia. It honored Saturn the god of agriculture (and rules), but emphasised revelry and the upending of the usual order. You know, holiday revelry!

The time between Samhain, and Yule is one of purging what does not serve you and reflecting on the upcoming year with fresh eyes and hope for new beginnings.

Yule is the moment where the energy of the new year rises up. It is a wonderful time to look within and set intentions for the following year.

As the outside world is at its darkest and the nights at their longest, Yule gives space for our inner realms to expand and come forth. It is a time to bring in new visions and ideas, make resolutions for the year ahead, and dream bold dreams.


If you would like to honour the Winter Solstice, here is a little Ritual to enjoy in the evening once the sun has set. You can do it on your own, or with others, and even adapt it to include your children too if you wish.

You will need:

  • Torches

  • Small candles

  • One big candle

  • Matches/lighter

  • Some festive food

  • Yule log

Light the big candle to gather around. Consider or share what the second half of the year has brought you to, where you are grateful and blessed.

Go around the house switching off all the lights (including switching off all electrical things too if you wish!)

Return to the solo lit candle.

Is there something you are ready to let go of now? Consider and share out loud.

Invite in a dream for whats to come… and blow out the candle to ‘make the wish’.

Sit quietly in the dark for a short while, sensing time quietly passing in the depths of midwinter.

When you are ready relight the candle, then switch on the torches and put on all the lights around the house to welcome the light returning. Acknowledge the ending of one chapter and the beginning of another.

We hope you enjoy tapping into your new hopes and dreams within. May the nourishment of winter rest & the mystery of the darkness, help deliver abundant summer harvests….

Warm love & Solstice blessings

Liz & Susanna xx

In celebration of solstice, sit back and chill with our Winter Playlist.


Some journal prompts for you to ponder

Feel free to record these in your Wild Wisdom Journal in the seasonal section

Fill up Fridays
Download PDF • 2.20MB

Liz and Susanna's Winter read

A useful and comprehensive guide to natural care of earth, skin, self and health, guiding you towards a routine that will activate your wellness from within and care for the planet at the same time. This lovely hardback book is perfect to dip in and out of throughout the year.

Liz is an experienced Weleda wellbeing advisor and still finds this guide a lovely read with some fantastic tips and tricks. It's also on offer for just £15 until the end of December from Liz's Weleda shop .

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