By: Janette Dalgliesh – Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.
Welcome to the December Solstice, a beautiful turning point of the seasons – Winter for the Northern Hemisphere, Summer for the Southern.
Every Solstice is an astronomical event, experienced at the same moment by everyone on the planet – but we don’t all experience it the same way.
We are ALL creatures of both Earth and stars; and if we want to make the most of a Solstice, it’s good to take that into account.
Our planet does not sit straight in her orbit. She has a tilted axis.
At the December Solstice, our North Pole leans away from the Sun, so that from an Earth-bound perspective it’s winter in the north, summer in the south. Countries near the North Pole become lands of the midnight sun, while for me here in Oz, it’s still light past 8pm.
The word Solstice comes from the Latin for ‘sun standing’ and these seasonal turning points – longest day, longest night – have always been significant to us because we are biological animals and we notice the seasons in our bones.
And we might also have a cultural lineage linking us to another part of the planet, another season.
I grew up in London where December Solstice is full of Christmas lights, wishing for snow, mittens, scarves and woolly socks.
Now I live in Australia, where December is still full of Christmas lights – but it’s the longest day of the year, our continent burns in the heat (metaphorically and literally), and it’s mostly salads, sunscreen and beer.
And meanwhile, there’s the astrology.
While we might be in different timezones, having different seasons, our view of the stars unites us.
Every Solstice and Equinox is also an astrological event.
December Solstice marks the moment when Sun enters the Earthy, make-shit-real sign of Capricorn.
Like every cardinal sign, it’s associated with new beginnings, the initiating of something fresh.
Every Solstice, regardless of actual season, is a time for celebrating and appreciating both what is completing, and what is to come.
And you get the best result when you send out a clear signal to Universe about what you want to happen next.
With Sun entering ambitious Capricorn, it’s especially good to align yourself and your focus with what you want to build in the year ahead – which is, of course, one of the reasons so many of us resort to things like new year resolutions and ‘word of the year’.
If you’ve already been doing a lot of work around the Saturn-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn, you’re probably ahead of the game.
And it’s not too late to get prepped for what looks like a 2020 full of potential.
It’s a fabulous opportunity to create some extra oomph and get everything lined up for a fabulous year ahead.
Marking the Solstice
There are a thousand and one rituals available online, usually designed around either Summer or Winter, and if you find one you like or you have one you’ve loved for years, then go for it!
I like the idea of creating a more personal and unique ritual, based on that blend of physical location, biological lineage, and the astrology of the moment.
If that appeals, now’s the time to design a ritual of celebration and appreciation, to show and experience your love for what-is-now, plus that conscious and deliberate welcoming of what-is-to-come.
If it’s summer for you, celebrate the abundance of the harvest; appreciate what you have, including your own self. Decide how you will make the most of the slowly lengthening nights, a time for literal or metaphorical hibernation and returning-to-ground. The upcoming season is one where nature rests, and does the quiet work of preparing for the next round of flourishing.
If it’s winter for you, celebrate the impending return of the Sun; appreciate that you’ve made it through the dark times and you’re emerging into the light. Decide how you will make the most of the lengthening days, the invitation to step out of the dark and into the light. The upcoming season is one where nature takes all that energy she’s conserved, and blossoms forth into the world.
Include any parts you love, of any religious or spiritual traditions shared by your family, your community, your friends, because these can help us feel connected. For me, singing carols in four-part harmony is a given at this time of year.
Your ritual can be super simple – ten minutes meditating in front of a tea light on the dining table or a few minutes spent daydreaming in a bath with oils you love.
Or you can make it as complex and rich as you please, perhaps even taking several days either side of the Solstice (exact time below).
Here are a few elements you could include:
None of these is mandatory. All of them can be adapted to suit your situation.
- Prep the space – this probably means a little decluttering, either a lot or a little, and some beautifying. This is useful any time we have a fresh start, and when Capricorn is about to be woken up, it’s good to clear the decks and have your slate as clean as you can manage.
- Set up an altar – this can be temporary for a few days, a few hours, or just a few minutes. The December solstice is strongly linked with the 12 days of Yule, or you could have something in place through until Chinese New Year if you’d like to go longer. You can use this space daily for any rituals you want to repeat daily, such as lighting a candle or a stick of incense. You can use it just for a ritual on the day itself. You can create the altar with a pretty cloth on a small table, take up your whole dining table, or have a tiny travelling altar in a shoebox if that’s your jam.
- Fire – because Solstice is a celebration of the Sun. You can speak blessings of celebration and appreciation over a big pillar candle, place it on your altar and light it daily for however long you like. You could create a bonfire and dance around it sky-clad. You could bless a small tea light or birthday candle, light it and bask in its pretty glow for a few moments. With all things fire-based, be sensible and safe.
- Love-letters – writing is a potent way to both explore yourself, and send out a signal to the Universe. You can write a love-letter to life, celebrating and expressing gratitude for all that you have and all the good things of the past season (even if it’s the tiniest of things, they count!). You can write a love-letter to the future, expressing in celebratory terms the shape you’d like it to have (if you know your chart, look to which house zero degrees of Capricorn is in, and focus on that area of life). You can burn these letters as a way of celebrating the fire of the solstice and sending them out to the air (a very solid tradition in many cultures). You can bury them in the soil to dissolve over time, letting mother Earth silently carry the messages of love. You can write just one on the day of the Solstice, or you can do many over a period of days.
- Fresh fruit and flowers – these are both great ways to beautify a space, especially an altar. You can use the whole fruit or a vase of flowers; or you can use the oils or dried petals (see the next item for more ideas). If you do use these on your altar, be sure to remove any dying flowers or rotting fruit – that’s not an energy you want to take into the new season!
- Essential oils – these can be used to connect you to the upcoming season. The floral and fruit based oils bring the energy of flourishing and fruitfulness (rose, sweet orange, lavender, bergamot). The wood and resin based oils are redolent with groundedness and making-things-real (sandalwood, frankincense, vetiver, cedar). You can speak words of blessing over an oil and ask it to support you in its own special way (eg “spirit of rose oil, please bless me with love and elevation and joy”). You can anoint a candle with just a few small dabs of oil before lighting it. You can add drops of oil to a bath and soak in the energy. You can mix a few drops of oil into a neutral base such as almond oil, and anoint yourself (never use essential oils undiluted on your skin, as some can be toxic to some people).
- Dried petals – bring an energy of flourishing. Rose brings love and elevation, lavender is cleansing – or you can use your own intuition to choose a flower that fits how you plan to celebrate Solstice. You can speak a blessing over the petals before using them. You can add them to a ritual bath. You can roll your candle in petals after anointing it with small dabs of oil, and before lighting it (NB – if you do this, please set the candle in a pile of sand in a good-sized heatproof bowl, for safety – these additions can change the way a candle burns and it’s smart to take precautions)
- Honey – brings the energy of sweetness, attracting and holding. You can simply speak a blessing over a spoonful, and then eat it. You can place a small dish on your altar (cover it if you have pets or your house is prone to ants).
- Blessings – these can be super simple (“I bless this oil”) or far more detailed. They can be very formal, with thees and thous, if that’s your style, or they can be very casual.
The combinations are endless, limited only by your imagination.
Of course, you can simply use a ritual created by your favourite magician, witch or wizard, and then weave in the awareness of that Capricorn energy of building something out of nothing, making the intangible real and concrete.
I’ve been doing big work on the Saturn-Pluto conjunction, so my own Solstice ritual will be like a fresh tweak and re-dedication of focus, rather than a massive new undertaking.
I’ll be keeping it low-key, but I’ll carry it through until early January, to cover the 12 days of Christmas (which has personal significance, even though I’m not a practising Christian). Here’s my plan:
- Declutter and beautify the spaces I plan to use – my dining table and the daybed in my office
- Create a tiny temporary altar in a box, which makes it portable and flexible, to carry to where I want to work
- Review my core values – always a good idea at Solstice
- Candle magic – I’ll anoint a candle with vetiver oil (good for manifesting into reality), mark it with special symbols, and light it daily for as long as it lasts
- Each day, I’ll write love letters to 2020
Happy Solstice! I hope you’ll join me in creating your own December Solstice ritual, in the lead up to a delicious 2020 experience.
Exact times (US Eastern timezone)
21 December 11:19PM – Sun into Capricorn = December Solstice
Janette Dalgliesh has a simple mission in life – to wreak more joy in the world. A keen student of astrology, brain science and Law of Attraction, she serves her people through astrology consults, coaching, teaching and writing. If you’d like Janette’s in-depth insights into your own unique astrological chart, you can find her via Facebook, or at her website Resonant Joy.