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How to Celebrate the Winter Solstice

The Winter Solstice marks the shortest day of the year, and the first day of Winter.

Here are some ideas for your Winter Solstice Ritual.

(And be sure to scroll down to the bottom to see photographs from Shadybrook's own Winter Solstice Social this past December 16!)


On the darkest day of the year, we remember the light that abides in our spirits in this time of darkness.

We mark the return of the sun's light as days begin to lengthen once again.

We honor our ancestors, our loved ones lost, and the intentions of our hearts at this time when the veil between the worlds is thin.

We also step into the deeper Yin energy of Winter.

This is a time to honor the sacred feminine that is present in each of us, regardless of our gender. It is also a time to honor the sacred or Divine feminine in our Spiritual or Philosophical practices.

There are many different ways that the Winter Solstice has been celebrated throughout the centuries and across traditions. Here are a few simple ideas you can try at home!


On this, the longest night, it is tradition to light candles.

You might consider a candle lighting ritual adapted the article "December Ritual: Winter Solstice" by Diann L. Neu (2013).

Light four candles to honor the light in the world.

Light the first candle to honor the young who challenge us to new awarenesses.

Light the second candle in solidarity with middle-aged friends who work for peace and justice.

Light the third candle to remember the elders who share their joy and pass on their wisdom and resources.

Light the fourth candle for those who have died, for our ancestors and loved ones close to our hearts. 


We all know how relaxing it is staring into the fire. Whether you gaze on the flame of the candle, build a fire in your fireplace, or even spend some time in nature at the campfire, take some time in meditation to quiet your mind and enjoy the dance of the flames.


What better time to cozy up by gentle light to read and reflect on something seasonal? We recommend this Winter Solstice poem by Diann Neu.

Inviting Our Light to Shine

When you celebrate the winter solstice,

May your light shine.

When you share love,

May your light shine.

When you work for peace,

May your light shine.

When you teach a child about justice,

May your light shine.

When you comfort someone who is ill,

May your light shine.

When you grieve the loss of a loved one,

May your light shine.

When you are challenged to change,

May your light shine.

When you (add your own intention here),

May your light shine.

Bless yourself with the light.

.Your light will shine


You may wish to journal, sing, practice gentle movement, or mindfully enjoy a warm cup of tea or cocoa. Anything that feels nourishing, restful, or introspective is an excellent choice to bring a close to your celebration.


Thank you to all who shared their light with us at the Shadybrook Holiday Party: A Winter Solstice Social this past Saturday, December 16, 2023! We were energized by your presence. Enjoy some photographs from the event below.

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