I haven't blogged on a personal level for almost three and a half years. One could say that would be because my ability to find language to articulate my emotions has been gone for that time. So for that wilderness period, I strictly photographed. But recently one of my close friends suggested that I write a blog about this. For the first time in about three years I felt like I actually had the language to put this out into the world.
During my wildreness season, I began honoring the winter solstice as a way to for me create some agency around the holiday season that fully embraces the dark and light side of life. It celebrates our natural instinct to hibernate and go inward just as the natural world around is doing. But solstice is also about celebrating the light that always comes at dawn and is within us at all points in time, even when all we can feel is pain. The light is still there in us, even when we don't *feel* it.
The American way of honoring the holiday season can often feel like forced happiness or forced positive feelings in a society that runs from pain that only honors that single emotion this time of year. However, with solstice, its a season where we honor whatever is truly present with us in the given moment. We celebrate all the emotions, rhythms of life: birth, death, creation, destruction...all of it. This is what winter solstice is here to remind us of. It's here to remind us about all parts of the human experience. All parts are worthy of celebration with other people, with your chosen community. We honor and celebrate all our parts of ourselves, our families and relationships. The hard, the lonely, the beautiful, the connected and the frustrating.
Here is how my family honors solstice (in a list and photos)
2. We decorated our house with Winter Berry (which can also be bought Rolling Ridge Nursery and Flowers and Weeds (if you live in STL) or at your local garden store.
3. We hung a Yule Wreath (also a Christmas wreath). The greenery is there to remind us of new life that always comes in the natural rhythm of life.
4. I do yoga with candle light and incense at night and accept whatever emotions come up because all emotions are welcome, the good, the painful and I don't know what I am feeling.
5. I exclusively listen to Fleet Foxes and Sigur Ros.
6. Between December 12 and 21st, I journal about the things I am consciously keeping in my life and baggage I am consciously processing in order to let go of.
7. On December 21st (and weekend following), I will make a meal for my family and chosen friends that is full of grounding, nutritious seasonal food. A few examples include: chicken and dumplings, bacon and egg in ramen, Shashuka and more. You can see the list I go from here
9. My kids and I read books and watch YoutTube videos about Solstice. You can find a list of Childrens books here.
10. We do lots and lots of winter hiking.
11. Instead of shredding my paper from work I burn it in our grill. It is a highly satisfying feeling, btw.
Keep scrolling to see a few of our decorations and festivities: