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A winter solstice ritual

The winter solstice has dawned rather wet and grey on the moors, the cold spell having thawed in spectacular downpours over the weekend.

Despite the less-than-inspiring weather, the winter solstice can still feel like a magical time. To harness the power of the longest night, I am delighted that Dartmoor author, Rebecca Beattie, has prepared a winter solstice ritual to share with you.

A Candle Ritual to Set your Intentions for Midwinter, by Rebecca Beattie

“ At Midwinter, people all across the Northern Hemisphere celebrate the birth of the new sun. Our ancient pagan ancestors used to watch and wait for this moment with trepidation – as the days got shorter and the nights got longer, they could be forgiven for being worried that the sun might disappear forever. Sunrise following the longest night was therefore a moment for celebration. With the birth of the new bright spark, we can use this moment to focus on what we want to manifest in our own lives.

For this ritual, you will need:

  • A gold or yellow candle (and shape or size will do, but a votive or a dinner candle is great)
  • A cocktail stick or a sharp pencil
  • A few drops of orange essential oil (if you can’t get the essential oil, then squeeze a little juice from an orange, a satsuma or a clementine)
  • Some matches or a lighter
  • Sit for a moment with your candle, and think about what you would like to bring into your life for 2023.

It can be anything you like, but it needs to be something you can have influence over. For example, it might be ‘the courage to go on a date’, or ‘to make time to write in my journal’, or ‘to paint more’, or anything else you like. Try and distill your intent down to a single word that signifies it for you – for example, ‘courage’, or ‘date’, or ‘journal’. Try to imagine how it will feel when you are doing that thing – how will it feel? Really focus on the positive feelings, and when that impression feels as strong as you can make it, take the toothpick and carve the word onto your candle.

When you have finished carving the word, add your initials, to tie the intention to you. Then put six drops (or dabs) of the orange oil on the candle, and spread it all over, all the while thinking about that bright spark you are manifesting. Place the candle in a holder, hold it in your hands, close your eyes, and take six deep breaths while you think about committing to helping yourself achieve that going in the next 12 months. When you are ready, light the candle, say the words, ‘so it is’, and let the candle burn all the way down.

If you need to leave the candle at any time – don’t leave it burning, as it is a fire risk. You could just burn it for six minutes at a time over a course of as many days as it needs to burn all the way down. Each time you snuff it out, just say to yourself, ‘as above, so below’, meaning that the candle may have been blown out in the physical world, but it is still burning in your imagination, or on the astral realm.

Now go and do something concrete to help yourself achieve that goal – sign up for that dating app, or buy yourself a pretty notebook to use as a journal, or get yourself a set of paints. Now go out in the world and get that spark brought to life. ”

If this has inspired you, Rebecca’s new book The Wheel of the Year: A Nurturing Guide to Rediscovering Nature’s Seasons and Cycles is available now.

December sunrise on Dartmoor