winter solstice in sophie's mind

Today marks the Winter Solstice. The shortest day of the year and one of our most ancient traditions dating back over 10,000 years. We are seconds closer to longer days and the light. However, at this time of the year we are all caught up in the rush of holiday shopping and travel. We move in the opposite direction to the natural world. This can cause stress, anxiety, and restlessness. The event of winter solstice has long been recognized with celebrations and rituals throughout the world.

Solstice comes from two Latin words: sol which means SUN and sistere means “to stand still.”  To the ancients standing on Earth and looking up at the sky, it appeared that the sun stood still at this time of year. This is the longest night of the year within the Northern Hemisphere. The winter solstice is celebrated for the renewal of the sun.

Yule, is when the darkness of the year finally recedes and gives way to the light. It’s a time of rebirth, love and collective unity. The Earth naturally renews and many people perform renewal rituals at this time. Yule is the reminder that we are all connected to a larger spiritual cycle which is highly linked to nature. The seasons and weather played a very important part in the ancient people’s lives. Because of this many ancient people worshipped the sun and thus celebrated Yuletide, traditions that remain today.

These days, many people associate winter with death. As it is the season in which nature is dormant. However, the Winter Solstice as the longest night of the year, it is actually the turning point of the year. Because following this night the sun grows stronger in the sky, and the days become gradually longer. Thus the Winter Solstice is a celebration of rebirth. A traditional time to celebrate the truly important things in life and looking forward to the incredible year to come.

The natural world is there to be appreciated, therefore this winter solstice why don’t you do something to honour it. Go for a nice relaxing walk, meditate at sunrise or make a yule log in celebration. Step away from modern distractions that cause us anxiety or stress to enjoy this day.

Happy Yule!

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