5 Ways to Celebrate the Winter Solstice


We are coming upon the time where, for just a moment, the sun is thought to “stand still”.

Sol (the sun) – Sistere – (stand still).

Much like the top or bottom of a breath, the solstice refers to the suns highest and lowest points in the sky.

In the northern hemisphere, on December 21, the Winter Solstice is when the sun reaches its lowest point in the sky, the bottom of the breath, so to speak, and the shortest day of the year.

If we tune in, we can feel this reflected within us. We can notice the fulfillment in finishing release, letting all that needs to go to be emptied out, which creates inspiration to inhale (inspire!) and fill that vast spaciousness with new life.

We can also totally miss this opportunity for reflection and intention. The busyness of this time of year doesn’t inherently lend itself to moments of quiet contemplation, but, with some conscious planning, it can!

The times that mark the solstices and equinoxes are wonderful times to intentionally drop into that reflection with a sacred practice or ritual.

With the Winter Solstice upon us, use one of these 5 ways to make it a rich and meaningful moment:

  1. Bundle up and gather with friends and family around an outdoor fire. Do a short meditation to reflect on the cold and dark of the night. In the emptiness of the winter solstice, reflect on which seeds you want to plant into the soil of your depths that will germinate and sprout in spring. Have each person create a word or phrase that encompasses this intention and write it on a bay leaf or piece of paper. One by one, set the leaf or paper on the fire to transform the intention into being.
  2. If you celebrate Christmas, you probably already have many traditional ways to celebrate solstice in place. Bringing an evergreen tree into the house was started as a way to welcome the new light and light. The hanging of mistletoe in a doorway was to indicate an intention for peace, carols were soundly sang throughout villages to banish the shadows in the darkest of time, and gifts stemmed from an offering to acknowledge the luck of the sun rising to its height once again. Bring these intentions into the traditions already in place in your home.
  3. Spend the evening in the dark. Eat dinner by candlelight. Read a traditional solstice story with the light from a fireplace. Enjoy dim lighting and reflect on what the darkness has taught you this year. As you bring this time to a close, loudly play a song reflective of this time while running through the house turning all the lights on to represent the rebirth of the sun. Some favorite songs for this are: 1) Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles 2) Joy to the World (the lord (SUN) has come. Let Earth receive her King.) by endless artists 3) Keep It Warm by John Craigie 4) O Holy Night (our dear savior’s (sun’s) birth) by endless artists.
  4. Do a practice that draws you into deeper connection with yourself. Yoga, breath work, meditation, journaling… practices such as these have the power to help us face our shadow side. Through these practices and rituals, we move into the depths of the shadow with a willingness to witness the darkest parts of ourselves and journey all the way through to the light on the other side. Use prompts such as: 1) What am I ready to release from my life? 2) How can I best face the thing that I most fear? 3) What do I want to welcome into my life with the coming light?
  5. Watch the sun rise! Get up before the rising of the sun and be fully present as it presents itself anew for the beginning of Winter. Simply enjoy a cup of tea and witness the energy of new, in the sun and in you.

Begin 2023 with monthly ritual by joining the Sacred Circle beginning in January at Twist Yoga in Lake Oswego. This monthly gathering for women will include sacred practices, such as meditation, journaling, sharing, and more. This is for women seeking experiences that are filled with depth-filled connection, both within themselves and with other women. Space is extremely limited and filling fast. 

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Katrina McGiffin
Intuitive Nutritionist and Hypnotherapist, Katrina McGiffin, brings the art of energy healing together with the science of nutrition to to help people find freedom in their relationship with food and peace in their body. She uses movement, meditation, hypnotherapy, and sound bowl healing to help people reconnect with their center, heal their relationship with their body, and find a deeper experience of health that is full of joy and reflective of the life they desire. Katrina has been practicing yoga and meditation since 1995 and teaching since 2005. She has a master's degree in Human Nutrition from Bastyr University, a premiere school for Naturopathic sciences, is a Heart-Centered Hypnotherapy practitioner through the Wellness Institute, is a Certified Sound Bath Healer, and has completed several yoga teacher trainings. Katrina has been serving people through private nutrition sessions, group workshops and retreats, as well as several virtual offerings through her business, Nourish and Be, for well over a decade. She currently lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and two boys and spends as much time as possible in her garden, the mountains, or a good book.