WINTER SOLSTICE CANDLE RITUAL

GATHER
• Candles of all sorts, shapes, & sizes, at least a dozen or more
Tea lights work well as inexpensive extra candles.
• Matches or lighters, enough for each person
• Reflective items like mirrors, glass, or crystals

PREPARE
Choose a table or countertop large enough to hold all the candles you plan to use. Decorate it with reflective items in a circular pattern, leaving room at the center for your largest candle. Have a separate holding space for all the candles waiting and ready to be lit.

INVITE
Invite those closest to you to be ready after the sun has set on the Winter Solstice. Perhaps have a small, warming meal beforehand together. Provide each with matches or lighter, and have them choose a few candles from your collection.

RITUAL
Darken your home and turn off all devices. Ask everyone to be still in the darkness for a few minutes of quiet reflection. Pose these simple questions as guidance:

• What does the return of the sun and its light mean to you?
• How can you bring more light into your life?
• How will you bring light into the lives of others?

ILLUMINATE
Welcome back the light by striking a match and lighting the largest candle. Place it at the center of your reflective tableau. Perhaps say aloud, an answer to one of the questions posed before your reflective silence. Or simply say aloud, “Light of the Sun, welcome back!”

Invite each of your dear ones to light a candle in turn and place it, moving out from the center with each candle. Guests may say a welcoming phrase aloud, or light their candle in reverent silence. This is as much a personal ritual, as it is a collective one.

Go ‘round again and again until each candle has been lit, until the fire of the light is blazing and bright. You may wish to turn on some celebratory music, such as Here Comes the Sun by the Beatles, and sing the lyrics together.

Make this ritual your own by adding details which grow from your thoughts about the lengthening days of warm light. There is a sweet elation present in emergence from darkness as we notice this cycle and cherish both the anticipation and our arrival out into the light.

GRATITUDE
Offer gratitude to all who gathered and perhaps gift them a small, packaged candle to take with when they leave. If your celebration is small and limited to those in your own home, suggest each of your beloved humans take a candle to have at their bedside to blow out just before closing their eyes.

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