Solstice is a time we always look forward to. The shortest day and the longest night of the year means the days get longer and brighter from here.
Midwinter is celebrated to honour life and light, the rising sun and the moon. In the northern hemisphere, it takes place in December and is often associated with Christmas traditions; for us in Australia, Solstice is in June. Solstice traditions go back to Indigenous, Ancient Roman and Pagan feasts that have long been held throughout history. Many cultures around the world have their own beautiful rituals to honour the sun’s rebirth.
Indigenous people continue to mark the solstice with storytelling and ceremony. It is a special time for those who honour and acknowledge the patterns of nature as the sun played a major part in the ebb and flow of the cycles of the natural world. Indigenous peoples, being the first astronomers, have the accumulated knowledge of thousands of years of observation of the seasons, stars, plants and animals. All this knowledge is shared through myth and story from traditional custodians — stories that we can listen, respect and learn from.
The Pagan feast known as Yule is one of the oldest winter traditions in the world. At mid-winter, ancient Norsemen light bonfires as they gather and share stories around it. The Druids (Celtic priests) see oak as sacred and its winter fruit, mistletoe, is seen as a symbol of life in the darkness of winter. The tradition of burning the Yule logs in a ritual performed to help re-ignite the sun comes from the Druids. Traditionally the fire is kept burning all night as a symbol of light on the darkest night of the year.
How do we honour the Solstice?
We like to celebrate by honouring our connection to the natural world, waking up early to watch the sunrise and letting its light bathe us as a reminder that warmer days are coming. As the sun goes down, we welcome the darkness by burning incense and let its warm scent fill the space. However you choose to celebrate, Solstice is a wonderful time for reflection, letting go and reigniting intentions as we welcome the return of the sun.
This year, Winter Solstice is on Thursday, 22 June, 12:57AM AEST. On this day, the sun is set to rise about 7am and set around 5pm.
Here are our favourite scents for Solstice rituals.