When: December 21st at 1: 48 pm PT
What: The Sun enters Capricorn, signaling the seasonal Solstice.
Takeaway: This sacred turning of the light invites you to release the old from 2022 and set fresh intentions for 2023.
First things first: What is a solstice?
When the Sun enters Capricorn on December 21st, it signals the seasonal Solstice. If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, this is the shortest day of the year, where the dark presides over more of our waking hours. If you live in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s the opposite — the Sun shines longer than any other day.
The word “solstice” combines the Latin words sol (the Sun) and sistere (to stand still). Symbolically, this is a time of hush and pause, but also celebration. In the north, the winter Solstice is a symbolic rebirth. It’s when the Sun has reached its lowest point — and from this day on, the light begins increasing again. In the south, the light has reached its glorious culmination. Both events are threshold moments and transitions to honor.
Solstice through the ages
Historically, cultures have marked this time of year with rowdy and reflective traditions alike. Ancient Athens honored the “party god” Dionysus in the weeks that surrounded the December Solstice. This celebration, called the “Rural Dionysia,” was dominated by food, light-hearted comedy, and games. In Ancient Rome, the December Solstice coincided with the seven-day festival Saturnalia, which venerated the god Saturn. During this time, lavish banquets were held and the normal social order was flipped. The privileged served their servants, and a debaucherous carnival atmosphere suspended business as usual. Over in the UK, Stonehenge was built to face the winter Solstice sunset, suggesting it was a site for ritual during the shortest day of the year.
Manifesting your Solstice resolutions
Just like the equinoxes, the solstices are entangled with cycles of planting, sowing, and regeneration. Light is life for all agricultural cultures, so this turning point in the Sun’s cycle has had profound implications for basic survival. In the Northern Hemisphere, the December Solstice marks a time of hope, miracles, and reverence as we anticipate the Sun’s eventual return.
We can borrow the agricultural metaphor to reflect on the “growing seasons” of our own lives. Because the December Solstice occurs so close to the Gregorian New Year, this moment is a potent one to reflect on what you want to take with you into 2023, and what you want to leave behind. If there are memories, ideas, situations, or relationships that you don’t want to keep sustaining, set them down. Write about a habit or pattern that you would like to divest your energy from, so that you might feel more aligned with what lights you up — then tear up the paper and recycle the pieces. Imagine the bounty, wisdom, and sweetness that you want to call into the new year, and record them. The simple act of writing down your hopes has a way of anchoring them in reality — the first step of making them manifest.
Wherever you are in the world, this Solstice is a culmination and a sacred tipping point before the days get longer or shorter.
9 rituals to honor the December Solstice
Since ancient times, humans have marked the Summer and Winter Solstices as times of revelry, awe, and hope — often all at once. Some cultures, like the druids of Stonehenge, erected monuments. Some peoples honored the gods of agriculture and death (such as Saturn), or fertility (Dionysus). Like the Scandinavian festival of St. Lucia, many cultures have marked this moment with the lighting of fires, acts of gift-giving, and other rituals that convey gratitude and thanks.
Because of this, we want to offer you some ideas on how to engage with this moment yourself. Here are nine rituals to help you honor the seasonal culmination.
- Be in nature. Visit your favorite body of water, park, farm, or nature spot. Spend time immersed in the rhythm of the season. Contemplate the seasonal wisdom we are shifting into and what it can teach you.
- Acknowledge all that is culminating in your own life. Honor whatever endeavor has reached a crucial threshold at this time. Consider all you’ve achieved and the challenges still to come. Celebrate your works-in-progress and gather morale for the final stretch.
- Release the idea that you need to get it right and embrace the reality of being in an unending process. Refuse to take unrealistic expectations into the new year with you. Hold a letting go ceremony, where you write down every idea of perfection that you want to bid farewell to, then tear up the list. Recycle the shreds or bury them outside.
- Set intentions for the new year. Whether you’re wanting to learn a new skill, commit more fully to your dreams, level up in your relationships, or reach uncharted depths in your current one — cast your spells. In order to realize your vision, it helps to identify what you desire in the first place. If your goals feel daunting, break them down into doable steps, then write them in your calendar or our 2023 Astro Planner.
- Invite warmth into your home, especially if you live in the Northern Hemisphere. Light candles on your altar. Brighten your space with lamps, baubles, stars, or golden garlands. Get cozy. By doing so, you cheer on the rebirth that’s progressing in your life and all around you.
- Adorn your home and/or altar with seasonal foliage, such as cedar boughs, dried oranges, mistletoe, ripe fruit, pine cones, flowers, honey comb, or anything seasonal to the region you live in. Convert your space into a sanctuary that sensually celebrates the time of year. In this way, you connect to the spirit and beauty of this sacred moment.
- Celebrate with friends, chosen family, and kindred spirits. Throw an office party, a secret elf exchange, or an intimate dinner with your inner circle. Spend time with the people that keep your faith alight.
- Meditate, or commit to a practice that helps you go deeper within. If you need some ideas, we have an abundance of guided meditations in the CHANI app.
- Learn about the major astrological moments impacting your life next year, and plan accordingly. If you need guidance, our 2023 Guidebooks and Year Ahead readings break down every major astrological moment and coach you on how to make the most of it.
For more rituals and insights, check the CHANI app from noon PT on Sunday, December 18th.
Looking for more intel? Read your daily horoscope:
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