On Winter Solstice and bringing back the Light

This is a few days late but I wanted to reshare this post I wrote last year:

Yule or Winter Solstice marks a turning point in the Wheel of the Year. It’s the moment of dark turning towards light. The days start to get longer. I could write about comparisons between Winter Solstice and Christmas. I could also discuss which came first. Who stole whose traditions? But I’m not going to do that. The internet is full of that already.

Winter Solstice is a promise from nature – that Spring will come, that it won’t be so cold. Yule also gives a beacon in dark times of our soul, when we may feel sad, depressed, or alone. It’s an appropriate time for us to reach out to others and remind them that although this may the the longest night of the year, the light is coming back.

It is with this idea that we started the Spirit Babies ceremony at Winter Solstice a few years ago. We thought that the celebration of light would help people who have been touched by pregnancy loss to find peace and hope once more. As part of the ceremony, we have a cauldron (well, a big metal bowl) and we invite each person to place a candle in it. It is a visually poetic way of showing that we are together bringing back the light into our lives.

Let’s look at this more generally. Who do you know who could use more light in their lives? Who do you know who lives alone? Who do you know who is depressed? Who do you know who could use some guidance?

Some people may need help finding their inner light at the darkest time of the year. Make sure your friends and loved ones have a place to go during the holidays. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Visit elderly or sick people who would otherwise be by themselves. Think of other ways you can be a beacon for others.

One of my favorite authors, Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, writes about and through her depression and anxiety. She has a post with some suggestions on what to do when you are depressed. In it, she writes:

“If you’re sad or lonely or feeling like you’re one of the misfit toys, know that you are part of us. And remember that those misfit toys were always far more interesting than the normal ones.

Tell someone that you love them, or that they’re important. And tell yourself. Because it’s true.”

Lawson also invites others to add their own tips on dealing with depression. Sometimes knowing that you are not alone can be a candle in the darkness.

There are many ways to celebrate the Winter Solstice. Dancing and singing the sun back is one way. Reaching out and guiding someone towards that light is another way. However you choose to bring back the light, may you have a Blessed Yule.

This piece was originally published for Between the Worlds Church in 2014.