Autumn leaves have fallen and the bite of winter is again in the air (at least for awhile in our changeable California climates!). To my ancestors (the ancient Celts) this was a time of reflection, of introspection. The last harvest had already been reaped in order to supply enough food to keep the clan fed for the harsh winter months, and now the families would gather around a fire exchanging stories, myths, and dreams—the food of the soul.

Winter was also seen as a time of renewal—death containing the seed of new life—as evidenced from the almost universally held beliefs honoring the winter’s solstice—the longest night of the year after which the rising sun would be honored, and the energy of the now increasing light was recognized. Metaphorically this was the birth of the Divine Child from the womb of the Goddess, and evergreen trees were decorated to celebrate the powers of growth and eternal life. From these ancient practices we derive our modern day celebration of Christmas.

To modern Witches the winter’s solstice is still honored as the return of the sun, and seen as the point of a great energetic shift of natural power on the Earth. After this point, the solar powers begin to wax giving us an “upward flow” of natural energy which we can tap into for manifestation and healing. What follows is a simple ritual that you can perform in order to attune yourself to the flow of natural power that is the winter’s solstice.

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For this ritual you will need a yellow or orange candle, a spicy incense (cinnamon works great!), a piece of stationary, a pen, a bowl, an ashtray, and an ice cube.

Ideally you would want to perform this ritual on the night of December 20th—the night prior to the solstice—but feel free to do as Spirit moves you.

First light the incense, feeling the spicy, fiery energies rise with the smoke. Then take your candle and carve some picture or symbol of the sun on it. This will represent the solar energy for our ceremony. Next, take your pen and paper and write a list of all the positive influences you would like to increase in your self—kindness, prosperity, etc. If you are artistically inclined, you may wish to draw a picture representing these qualities, or perhaps write a poem—allow your creative energy to flow!

Now go and get your ice cube. This represents the harshness of winter—and our own tendencies to allow our energies to freeze-up, to stagnate. Think of all the little things that you do to sabotage yourself—procrastination, low-self esteem—whatever behaviors or energies that are preventing you from being as fulfilled and happy as you deserve to be—and imagine that they are flowing into the ice cube. It will have started to melt somewhat at this point, so, making sure that you allow it to melt into the bowl, light the candle with the following or similar affirmation:

As the sun’s light strengthens, so do I strengthen.
As this ice melts, so do my impurities melt away.

If you’d like you can repeat this to yourself while you focus on the symbolic energy working in your life. Focus intently on the ice cube as it melts. You may even use the candle flame to help melt the cube (just be careful not to burn your fingers!). When the ice is entirely melted into the bowl, take the paper and burn it in the flame of the candle, knowing that as it burns it is transformed into pure energy and is now released into the Universe to bring about the positive changes that you are asking for. Feel each and every positive quality in your self—if you asked for courage, imagine what it would feel like to be courageous, if you asked for patience, feel yourself waiting effortlessly—let your imagination have free reign! Place the paper in the ashtray and allow it to burn itself out while the candle burns down completely. Take the bowl of melted ice outside and throw the water onto some plants—the negative energy will be transformed into something positive by the Earth Herself. Now you will hold onto your paper ashes until after the sunrise on (circa) December 21st—the winter’s solstice!

If the paper burned completely then scatter the ashes outside to the winds, if not then you may wish to bury the remains in the Earth, or in the soil of a potted plant, to allow it to transmute its energy into growth. It is done!

You may wish to change this ritual to better suit your individual needs. As always: Do what feels right to you! There are no right or wrong ways to perform magick as long as your intent is pure. Experiment with it and see what comes up for you. Happy Solstice, and Blessed Be!