In the Southern world we can with respect connect with the Australian Aboriginal creator woman, Waramurungundi whom some tell as First Woman, gave birth to the first people; carrying her digging stick and a bag of food plants, medicinal herbs and flowers. Having planted them, she went on to dig the water holes and taught the people language and skills they would need to survive, each set of kin their own. Then in some versions of the story, leaving her children to enjoy the fruits of her work, she entered a sacred stone so remaining present in her creation.
As the sun is reborn at Midwinter, we are reminded her creations are constantly renewed, though humankind has been careless and sometimes cruel in not preserving and indeed destroying what was so precious. For it is not too late and every Winter Solstice is a reminder we can however hard life is in the present world renew our hopes and dreams for the future and with courage, patience and determination can make that world grow fruitful and at peace.
This is the time of the rebirth of light and hope, for domestic happiness and security, family togetherness, anything to do with the home, property and financial security; for long term money plans, for patience and for accepting what cannot be changed; for older people, for carers who may get little support and appreciation from society, for welcoming home travellers or estranged people and for restoring enthusiasm and health in those who are worn down by illness or lack of hope.
Globally this is a time for rituals of renewed faith to provide homes and shelter for people, birds and animals, for more efficient and humane welfare services and regeneration in lands ravaged by famine, war and opression-.
Celebrate the midwinter with local evergreen boughs from trees or bushes, silver and gold ribbons, anything glittery, tiny- wrapped presents to be opened on the Solstice (an excuse for Christmas fun in the middle of the year .
Deck the day with the flowers, herbs, fruits spices and shrubs blooming now in your own region not imported or their growth forced, white and scarlet candles for the return of the light and purple for what must be left behind.
In many different lands on Midwinter night, all lights are extinguished at dusk and the Crone Goddess, sometimes the Three Sisters of Mothers of Fate. The midwives who will birth the new sun child/maiden invites those present to walk into the darkness with her, an act of pure surrender and faith that light will return.
- On the shortest day light as the day fades, either alone or with a group of friends or family, light from a small central gold candle a circle of white candles. one from the other.
- Then say, I/we will walk into the darkness in total trust, knowing that the light will return.
- Extinguish the candles one by one round the circle in reverse order of lighting till only the central candle is alight
- Wait in the growing darkness, trusting all will be well and the sun will return.
- When you are ready, and the midwives call, the Sun child or Maiden is reborn ,relight each candle one from the other beginning from the central gold one ,naming for each candle relit what you\the person lighting it seek/s as enlightenment and the light you\they will offer the world in return.
- Alternatively light a purple candle on Solstice eve or the night of the Solstice day to represent the past that is gone or matters that now must be accepted. Put salt in the flame. From the flame light a white or gold candle for the future and then extinguish the purple candle. Let the white or gold candle burn, allowing the cosmos to send what you most need.
- Make or buy dried herb sachets or local bath products for friends and family to say, I appreciate you.
- As darkness falls create a small fire outdoors or in a tiny metal pot and burn dried rosemary or sage in a big white candle embedded in soil from Mother Earth.
- As you toss on each fragrant handful or pinches of herbs into the fire or candle, name someone who cannot be with you and those causes dear to your heart that will benefit from the renewed power of the sun. The light will return.
Happy Winter Solstice.