The light is about to return, but not before it becomes the darkest it's been all year. This is one of my family's favorite times of celebration, because we gather around the fire with connectedness and intention together to honor each other, and to release the old and greet what's new.
Here are some ways you might consider honoring the darkness and welcoming back the light:
Write the old aspects which are ready to be released on slips of paper and burn in your fire or bury in the Earth (seeded paper works beautifully for this, and brings flowers in Spring-learn how to make it right here).
Release regrets and resentments into the darkness and the fire for transformation and forgiveness.
Wear white or gold in honor of the Snow Queen: for renewal, peace, and any new promises you're making.
Sit in the quiet darkness and recall the times in your life when time spent in the dark and cave-like womb has given birth to lightness and ease.
Light candles while making a promise to yourself, your family, your community and to the world for the coming year.
Read or share your favorite poetry or writings which have been the most transformational or uplifting for you. Post a copy to carry you through the year.
Build an outdoor fire (where permitted) and gather around for storytelling, warm drinks, and marshmallow toasting.
Singing Here Comes the Sun and You Are My Sunshine (my kids love this!)
Decorate with tiny stars or wait until Solstice to place the star on the top of your Christmas tree.
Bring greenery indoors, such as evergreen, holly, bay, laurel, rosemary or your favorite herbs to put around your table and your candles.
Plant a tree or nurture a potted tree that you will plant after the thaw. Hang tiny wishes from the branches.
Feast with your family and put a spirit plate outside under a tree with an tiny bit of each item from your table as an offering and an honoring for new beginnings.
Make a sun cake, or corn cakes, which are a beautiful spirit plate offering, and yummy, too.
I make my corn cakes relatively simply, and this recipe is capital B basic. Add ricotta, tomatoes, herbs, onions, cheese, squash, black beans or pumpkin, and make them your own.
1 1/2 c cornmeal
1/2 c cooked corn kernels (I've also used canned and raw and I like both, but raw rules)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 c milk (or milk substitute, including water)
5 tbs sunflower oil (or meat drippings as the old ones did)
Combine dry ingredients, then add milk and 3 tbs of oil. Coat a cast iron pan with the remaining oil, turn flame up to medium, and spoon drops of batter onto it. Fry up like little pancakes.
Serve savory, with cilantro and sour cream or with butter and honey for a sweetie.
Remember to honor yourself, each other, and the miracle of life!