This year, Tuesday 21st June will be the Winter Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere and it’s held on the shortest day of the year and the longest night.
What is winter solstice?
Basically, it’s when the sun is traveling on its lowest arc in the sky, which then gives us the shortest day of the year (the length of time where sunrise and sunset is at its minimum). After that the daylight hours start to grow bit by bit and so it is a celebration of the returning towards the light (and eventually warmth).
In ancient times, people didn’t know or understand this and as the days got shorter and shorter it created a fear that there would eventually be no daylight. They soon realised over time, after this day each year the sun would start moving towards them again. Celebrations were called and it was believed that these celebrations pleased the gods and so the days would become longer again.
These celebrations became known as the Winter Solstice celebrations.
In the northern hemisphere winter solstice falls between 20-23 December. It is believed that some Christmas customs have originated from various winter solstice celebrations. But for us, in the southern hemisphere, it means we can have a double dose of gorgeous Christmassy aromas and decorations (without the gift giving expense).
Traditionally, Winter Solstice is a time:
- of renewal
- to immerse ourselves in the winter days to heal, rest + recharge
- for visioning and dreaming
- for turning inward, listening to our own inner wisdom
- to let go of what is not working and welcome in the new
I’ve been reflecting on different ways I can honour and celebrate the Winter Solstice this year. There are different traditions from all over the world but I wanted to create my own special tradition.
I love the idea of lighting a candle to represent the sun and light that will start to linger a little longer towards Spring.
I want to reflect on the upcoming months and include herbs and flowers that will bring specific symbolism honouring the intentions I wish to focus on and so I decided to make myself a dried herb + flower bobeche. A bobeche is used as a protector around the candle to catch the dripping wax as it melts. To make it meaningful the herbs and flowers I’ll be choosing will be selected for the meanings they represent with the candle representing welcoming back the light.
I carefully chose each botanical, which I’d previously harvested + dried, as I want it to represent what I wish to bring in for the second half of this year. I believe the meanings and intentions behind what we do and create makes it even more powerful and special.
I chose the following botanicals for my Winter Solstice bobeche:
clematis vine + leaves – bringing in wisdom for the months ahead and love towards my family.
strawflower – colour orange to represent the sun and the flower represents continual happiness and good health.
ammobium (winged everlasting) – an Angel watching over
evergreen conifer – virtue and longevity
sage – wisdom and gratitude
gypsophila – everlasting love and happy days
hydrangea – gratitude and value for community, family and friendships
yarrow – healing and brings courage
To celebrate the Winter Solstice this year I’ll also light a tea light under my essential oil burner to diffuse one of our favourite essential oil blends. Aromatics can play a powerful role in setting our intentions as they have a special affiliation with the Limbic area of the brain which is the part involved in our emotions and memories.
The essential oils in our Happiness Essential Oil Synergistic Blend is a perfect combination of aromatics for the ambiance I wish to create as they are warming, nurturing and grounding with an earthy musky-sweet + spicy scent.
Happiness pure essential oils are –
sweet orange – for positivity, hope + happiness. It will also represent welcoming back the sun + light.
rose geranium – soothes stress and balances the emotions, bringing back inner tranquility and hope.
patchouli – earthly, warm + sweet. It is grounding, strengthening + nourishing. Patchouli helps us feel connected to the earth + our sensuality.
cinnamon + clove – strong, warm + spicy. Helps to dispel worries and doubts, expands warmth + positivity.
rose – a gentle tonic for the heart. Rose will support, nourish and calm restoring a sense of emotional well-being.
The night of the Winter Solstice is a perfect time to create some quiet space in your evening, turn off the lights and the TV then light a few candles around the room while reflecting on the intentions that you may wish to bring in for the second half of the year.
Light from candles or open-fire is one of the most powerful symbols of the Winter Solstice. The light can remind you of hope, rebirth, and the cycle of life.
Add 4–8 drops of Happiness to water in a burner or diffuser.
Let the aromatics diffuse to create an uplifting and calm ambiance. Think about your dreams, wishes, and intentions for the year ahead. Write them in a journal if you have one.
Sip on a cup of warming, comforting herbal tea … ginger, lemon or chai are perfect.
I also plan on sipping a warm drink of mulled wine. A perfect drink with warming spices as a treat on a cold winter’s night with the rain or wind howling outside, while tucked inside with candles glowing, aromatics gently diffusing and intentions set for the rest of the year.
During the longest night of the year, we can dream a new dream, set new intentions and envision wonderful possibilities for the rest of the year ahead.
If you are also planning on celebrating the Winter Solstice I’d love to hear what you have planned.