The winter solstice: time to celebrate yourself

5 mins read

We all have time. Some may have it more than others, and this is what gives it value. In a mere matter of weeks, we will be dancing back into the ’20s again. Everyone is eagerly waiting to be reborn in a new decade with plenty to look forward to.

With that comes the divine opportunity to take the time to look at your past.

And the perfect celebration to do that in is upon us.

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It’s approaching the midwinter celebration in which the sun is its furthest away from the Northern hemisphere. That’s the scientific significance of the winter solstice, but looking into history, anyone can see its cultural impact is so much more longer lasting.

This is because many cultures hail this day as sacred; it dawns the years longest night and shortest day. This year, the solstice falls on December 22, signifying the birth of new prospects and self-reflection to look forward to.

Culturally, the long hours of darkness are recognized as the labour of the rebirth of the sun. Pagan religions believe this is the time to praise the moon for birthing the sun and with that a powerful energy to re-energize us for the upcoming year.

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There are many religious celebrations around the solstice. However, it does still have a place for those who are neither religious nor spiritual.

Historically, in some places it the event has been celebrated for over 5,000 years. Newgrange, Ireland, has historically devoted itself to the praise of the winter solstice with an annual gather.

Recognizing the significant importance of the turning point of the year.

They do this by standing inside the Newgrange monument and opening themselves up to absorbing the first rays of the new day when the sunlight falls for the first time in the historical chambers.

For many, it is a deeply spiritual phenomenon.

Credit: Newgrange.com

Allowing people to take the time to reflect on their pasts and let go of anything that doesn’t improve your life. In the quiet privacy of the night, you can take the time to look within yourself and focus on what you need or want from life.

Because you matter too.

But there are many ways to celebrate that. English heritage looks to Stonehenge, where both the winter and the summer solstices have been celebrated for years.

The Stonehenge monument was one a place of worship and still holds that marvelling energy. One thing that remains crucial in the celebration is time itself. What has been and what is to come in life are two very important pieces of the celebration.

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The ancient stones were framed to capture the solstices. They are purposely aligned so that the sun can shine through them. Creating not only a stunning architectural view but also creating a site of meaning.

Whilst awaiting the first dawn of sunlight, people usually pass the time merrily with dancing to instruments, singing and kissing the stones.

All which sounds like an enlightening experience to fulfill at a pre-historic site.

But you don’t need to go to any of these places or do any of these things to celebrate the winter solstice.

For even an hour, throw away everything. Say goodbye to your precious technology and just sit. Be encouraged by the darkness to see nothing but the inside of your mind. It may just be your greatest opportunity to navigate your life with no distractions

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Take the time to meditate and contribute to this idea of wellness in the ways that feel closest to your heart. Whether this is through volunteering or donating your old clothes. Refresh everything you can until you feel fulfilled in yourself.

The winter solstice celebrates the self. Celebrates what has been and what could be in the coming year. Spiritualists take this time to reflect and engage with their future. History calls to the ancient celebrations of astronomy.

After all, they say it’s the darkest days that take us to our brightest moments.

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Deputy Editor of Brig Newspaper. Fourth year journalism and English student at the University of Stirling. Lover of covering social issues and creator of 'The Talk' column for everyone who needs to hear it.

Deputy Editor of Brig Newspaper. Fourth year journalism and English student at the University of Stirling. Lover of covering social issues and creator of 'The Talk' column for everyone who needs to hear it.

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