A Wild Mystic's Rituals for Winter Solstice + New Moon

Let the sun fall in your cupped hand. Today be only this: the thing that holds the light.
— Shawnacy Kiker

Blessings and love to you this Winter Solstice + New Moon!

May this be a time of healing contemplation, surprising revelation, and a renewed sense of vitality and purpose.

Here are some of my favorite holistic ways to embrace the winter solstice and the new moon. You can do these once a year on the Winter Solstice, or every month with the new moon to embody all the gifts this luminous darkness has for you. 

Plant dream seeds.

Be the hopeful, earnest gardener with her hands and knees in the earth, pressing tiny slivers of desire into her nurturing dark womb. Bless them. Summon a renewed and magical faith. Whisper your passion over them. And when it feels like you are crawling over sharp rocks instead of soft ground, and finding shards of glass in the dirt, and the old beer cans and cigarettes of someone elses's discarded dreams, tenderly gather them into the folds of your dress. Carry them to the edge of everything. Make them into an altar. Make them into art.

Make a dream list. A love list. A rapture list.

What does your heart ache for?
What are your secret hopes?
What makes your eyes burn in the dark?
What would give you the greatest relief right now?
What brings you absolute delight?
What makes your heart pound and your palms sweaty?
What do you want more of?
What do you want so much it hurts?
What do you think about right before you fall asleep at night?
What is the first thing you think about in the morning?
What brings you joy?
What moves you so much that tears stream down your face?
Where do you go first when you visit your favorite place?
What inspires you most? Why?
What do you hope for most today? This month? This year?
What is one thing you never even think about apologizing for?
What comes ease-fully to you?
Where do you really shine?

This isn't your lose-fifty-pounds list. This isn't your stop-eating-sugar list. This isn't your resolution or regret or change list. This is your soul's invitation. Write it down. Write for pages and pages. Allow the eager gleam in your eye to lead you like a will-o'-the-wisp through the enchanted forests to place you squarely in the midst of You. Come home, dear one. It's been so long.

Write a love letter.

Gather your prettiest paper and favorite pen. Light a candle. Visualize the one(s) you love most. Prop their photo up in front of you. Have a conversation. Tell them everything. What would you say if you weren't shy? You are beautiful to me because ... You are my whole world because ... I want to be with you because ... I'd do anything for you and here's why ... Next time I see you I will ... Let's plan a dream day where we ... I wrote a poem for you and here it is ...

Don't hold back. Don't censor. What would you say if you knew they loved you more than anyone else in the world? Make it thick and juicy. Make a whole pile of letters and mist them with your favorite perfume. Hold them to your heart. Write to everyone you love. Be brave. Tell them what you need them to know.

Find a sacred space where you will be undisturbed—the forest, your backyard, your balcony, a closet, the bathroom.

Bring a mirror with you. Or your cell-phone with the video on, facing you. Press record if you like.

Read the letters out loud. To yourself. Put your name in there and speak the words you poured out for your beloved. Look into your eyes. Mean every word. Don't stop. Don't hold back, even if you feel silly. Feeling silly covers up your messy and glorious truth ... keep reading. Don't stop. Speak with conviction. When you speak out loud, the vibration of your vocal chords witness to your body. This is how you embody truth. This is why it's so important to speak with kindness and infinite love about yourself. Even if you can barely whisper, press through it. You can do this.

And later? Fold those letters up. Stick them in an envelope and mail them to your loved one(s) with a little extra tenderness.

Create a new story. Honor your (dark) truth. All things New.

“You have suffered enough
And warred with yourself
It's time that you won.”—Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, Falling Slowly

Today is a blank page. You get to write it, create it, guide it, own it, love it. What would prompt a satisfied smile tonight as you burrow into your pillow? Declare today a new story. All life begins in the dark—what is a cocoon, but a dark place of protection, safety, and transformation? What is solstice, but a place of reflection and rest? What is the earth, but a dark place for germination of seed? All darkness is a womb if we allow it to be. And what is a womb, but a hollow space for light?

Today, on the darkest day, begin again. There is always mercy. There is always hope. What do you want your new truth to be? What will you do differently? How will you create your story? What is your (dark) truth?

Make your own secret ceremonials.

“The grass was so green against my new clothes,
And I did cartwheels in your honour.
Dancing on tiptoes,
My own secret ceremonials,
Before the service began.
In the graveyard, doing handstands.
”—Florence and the Machine, Only if For a Night

What is your soulsong?

What yearns to birth from you?

How will you commemorate?

A holistic sacred ceremony evokes the magic and mystery of alchemy, desire, awakening, wonder, meaning, and reverence. It can embody all of the elements—fire, water, wood, metal, earth—or all of the senses—hearing, touching, tasting, smelling, seeing, discerning, creating.

How many of these can you include in a secret ceremonial marking this darkest night? As a wild mystic, going into the dark night is something I wholeheartedly embrace—it is a willing descent into the shadowlands to dwell in the truths of my soul. It is the wild field, Rumi's field out beyond rightdoing and wrongdoing where we lay ourselves down. I bring the salt of my Self. The endless waters within me. The fire of my heart, and when my heart smolders low I bring the faith that it will reignite and trust in the power of the holy. I light incense. I write and create new stories for myself. I reach out with love. I cocoon. I lay my limbs out onto the earth. I dance. I release my primal roar.

I find joy.

My voice deepens.
My hips carve out space beside me.
I raise my foot to pound the earth.
— Hillary Rain

How are you embracing this darkest night?

Love and (be)loved.

Hillary Rain