Winter Solstice 2021—history, traditions, and a ritual to help you move forward

Winter solstice 2021 is a huge transition from darkness to light that will allow you to close some chapters and open others

Winter Symphony - stock photo.
(Image credit: SVphotography/Getty Images)

Winter Solstice 2021 can't come soon enough, as the days have got just about as short as we can handle! The annual event sadly doesn't signal the end of winter but it does herald days getting longer and bringing us closer to spring.

Summer solstice 2021 feels like only yesterday. Undeniably a bittersweet event, it celebrates the longest day of the year. Conversely, Winter Solstice celebrates the shortest day of the year and after that—the only way is up baby!

This is the astronomical first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and the shortest day of the year. In terms of the spiritual element of Winter Solstice, it's the transition from darkness into light.

Historically, this time of greatest darkness has pushed people together, and the return to the light is something to be celebrated. Have you ever noticed how many religious festivals and holidays take place around the Winter Solstice? Scholars believe that these events are based on ancient pagan rituals including the Roman Saturnalia and many more.

Ancient cultures marked and continue to celebrate Solstice events at historical monuments like Newgrange in Ireland and Stonehenge in the UK.  Many Native American still communities hold religious ceremonies or community events to mark the event, as do countless other communities in the Northern Hemisphere.


(Image credit: REX/Shutterstock)

Winter Solstice ritual

  • Write a list of things to let go of.
  • Write a list of what you'd like to focus on moving forward.
  • Smudge and cleanse your home.
  • Give your plants a little love.
  • Burn the let go list.
  • Have a cleansing salt bath—or a shower with a salt scrub can work too!
  • Meditate on the moving forward list.
  • Practice gratitude for all the life lessons the universe has sent you.

Ceremonies and rituals are as old as time and for many, observing the likes of full moon rituals is an opportunity to reset and harness our true potential.

For this ritual, we're going to harness earth, air, water, and fire. If you're familiar with your astrology birth chart, you'll be aware of the fact that the zodiac signs fall into these categories.

Preparation is key if you want to get the most of this event. First, you need to write two lists. The first, of things you'd like to let go of and second of what you'd like to focus on as we move towards the light.

After this, think about the earth element in your home. Have you been ignoring your houseplants these past few months? Give them a little love! Maybe you need to check out the top plants to boost your mood this winter, and if you don't have them it's time to invest!

Then, you must cleanse your living space—with the air and fire elements. Using your favorite smudging stick (rosemary, sage or lavender are great) or incense, go around your home paying special attention to the corners, nooks, and crannies. Make sure you are fire-safe and have a plate to collect any ashes from the smudge stick.

While smudging, think about all of the things you'd like to shake off and move on from in your life. The things that are weighing you down, that you need to let go of. Appreciate that everything is a part of your personal journey but some things no longer serve your path.

Blue Moon August 2021

(Image credit: Sarah Palmer/Getty Images)

When you're finished, it's time to burn that list of things you'd like to let go of! Again, ensure that you're fire safe (perhaps do it in the kitchen sink) and then open a window and let all of that energy out. Maybe even say something to symbolize this letting go. Shout, "out, out, I'm letting you go." Who cares what the neighbors think?

When you're done, have a nice cleansing salt bath, perhaps surrounded by any crystals or talisman that you feel bring positive energy and focus on all of those things you're inviting moving forward. As this solstice is ahead of Jupiter in Pisces 2021, it's a highly energized time to make things happen.

If you don't have a bath or don't enjoy a soak, you can have a shower with a nice salt scrub instead. A part of letting go is, of course, gratitude for your path. Let's all move towards the light with gratitude and positivity.

Remember that everything positive in your life was something you once hoped and wished for. Keep that list safe, perhaps in the back of your favorite book or anywhere you can refer to it from time to time. It's worth keeping an eye on Astrological events in 2022, which might be supercharged times to manifest your hopes and dreams.

When you drain the bath watch the water swirl away, cleansing you of all you'd like to let go of and closing a chapter—so a new one can begin!

Aoife Hanna
Junior News Editor

Aoife is an Irish journalist and writer with a background in creative writing, comedy, and TV production.

Formerly woman&home's junior news editor and a contributing writer at Bustle, her words can be found in the Metro, Huffpost, Delicious, Imperica and EVOKE.

Her poetry features in the Queer Life, Queer Love anthology.

Outside of work you might bump into her at a garden center, charity shop, yoga studio, lifting heavy weights, or (most likely) supping/eating some sort of delicious drink/meal.