By: Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist
The advent of the Winter Solstice is a deeply profound period for me on many fronts. Steeped in the rich symbolism of rebirth and reawakening, it has become important to me to recognize this point in time by creating a restorative ritual that allows me to go deeply inward as a means of continually moving forward.
This year’s Winter Solstice occurs on December 21st marking the shortest day and the longest night of the annual cycle of dawn to darkness. And, for some, this longer descent into darkness can trigger a plunge in spirits.
For many years, when I worked in Chicago, I took the train from the suburbs into the city to work. During the icy, cold grip of winter, I departed in the dark and returned home after dark. A California girl by birth and nature, my spirit mourned the loss of light to the night.But, then, I had an awakening and I came to see the Winter Solstice as light at the end of the tunnel. For this longest day of night marked the milestone when we would again march toward the light. I rejoiced that the dawn of a new day meant we had turned again toward the much-needed sun for my soul. Rather than fear the dark, I had faith that every day would be a bit better than the last.
Ancient civilizations recognized this turning point toward the gradual return of the light as a time of reawakening and rebirth heralding a time of new beginnings. Because the coming deep winter months also required preparation for a period of survival on less sustenance, the Winter Solstice was also known as the hibernal solstice, and celebrated as the last joyous feast day until spring.
For me, the Winter Solstice follows my birthday in early December and, what I refer to as, my re-birthday in early February, acknowledging not the trauma of the accident, but the impetus through which I was reborn to my authentic self. This period, provides the perfect time for introspection – a searching inward toward the innate wisdom of my own core essence in preparation for my spirit to open more fully to receive the coming light.
I create mindfulness rituals for myself especially focused on restoring, renewing and reawakening my spirit. This involves quieting mind, body and spirit, creating affirmations and meditation. With the arrival of the Winter Solstice, I also take time to express gratitude for where I’ve been, where I am, and the Divine connection that nourishes my spirit and has supported my journey so far. I also set intentions, in my mind’s eye, of where I see myself next and how I wish to be.
Creating You Own Restorative Ritual
If the idea of creating time for a restorative inward reflection this Winter Solstice resonates with you, you will find below an array of options below to help inspire your own introspection ritual. The idea is to pick a practice, or practices, along with an aromatic approach that works for you personally, or to create you very own, so that you may honor the movement of time and light in support your own sense of reawakening and renewal.
I hope you find these helpful and wish you joy on your journey. As we say at the end of yoga “namaste.” There are many beautiful interpretations. But, here, I will leave you with one of my favorites
“The light in me honors the light in you.”
1) Practices for Quieting the Mind
We’ve discussed these mindfulness practices throughout the past year. For review, some blogs you may find helpful, include:
- Deep Breathing – Take a Breath and Cool your Jets
- Seven Simple Steps to Meditation – M is for Meditation
- Mindfulness Practices — An Attitude of Gratitude
- Lifting Your Spirits — The Sunshine State
2) Aromatherapy to Support the Spirit.
This is the blend I created especially to support a divine awakening within my own spirit. I share it with you here as an offering if it resonates with your own sense of reflection, restoration and renewal.
Given the purpose, I chose to blend intuitively letting my senses and nose lead. Once, I sensed the synergy connect with my spirit, I checked the implications with my sources on subtle aromatherapy. I am always amazed and affirmed how when I listen to my inner knowing, the messages I need will come through.
Winter Solstice in a Frosty Forest
(This blend is KidSafe)
1 drop chamomile roman
2 drops coriander
1 drop balsam fir
1 drop bergamot
Support for the Spirit:
Grounds and promotes a sense of security. Clearing and cleansing, while helping to calm and relax the conscious mind. Invites positive energy and optimism while encouraging confidence and motivation. Encourages intuition and insight and helps to manifest.
Supports the healing process on all levels, especially wounds of the heart. Helps to clear emotional blocks and supports the transformation of challenging emotions to promote balance.
Strengthens connection to a higher consciousness. Allows us to better receive and communicate spiritual truth. Encourages Divine love and compassion to move through our being. Connects us to the collective wisdom of the world around us.
In addition to the blend’s support for the spirit, it also is soothing to the mind and body. This helpful to keep in mind if you want to experience the multi-purpose effects on all levels of your being.
For the Mind
Uplifts, while calming and clarifying. Relaxes and soothes, inviting a sense of peace. Restorative for mental and emotional fatigue.
For the Body
Relaxes nervous tension held in the body. Helps to release and soothe overworked and tired eases muscles. Restorative and balancing.
3) Aromatic Applications to Support your Ritual.
- Diffuser – add 5 -8 drops
- Inhaler – add 15 drops
- Bath Soak – add 5 drops to natural body wash and mix. Add ½ cup Epsom salts. Add to warm bath. Soak and relax for 20 minutes.
- Massage Oil—add 18 drops to 1 oz (2% dilution) of jojoba or other carrier.
- Body Lotion – add 9 drops to 1 oz unscented body lotion (1 %)
- Roller Bottle – add 6 drops to 10 ml carrier (2%). Apply to pulse points.
- Room/Linen Mist – add 9 drops to 1 oz (1%) pure grain alcohol, such as Everclear.
 “Winter Solstice.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2016.
Keim, Joni, and Ruah Bull. Aromatherapy & Subtle Energy Techniques: Compassionate Healing with Essential Oils. N.p.: CreateSpace, 2015. Print.
Shutes, Jade. “The Dynamics of Blending: A Guide to Blending and Reference Manual for Essential Oils and Base Materials.” N.p.: East-West School for Herbal and Aromatic Studies. N.d. Print.
9 thoughts on “Winter Solstice for the Spirit”
Ellen, this post is as if you were looking right into my soul and feeling the same feelings I am. I too, am grieving the person I was and what I identified myself as. When that was traumatically and suddenly taken away it made me feel as if I had no worth to anyone or myself. Much professional and ongoing help has made me understand that there is more I can do and that maybe this was a way to lead me to my true passion of herbs and oils and creating things to help others. Not all help comes in the way of medical professionals but some of the best help comes from mother nature and getting in tune with that side of life. I always have been interested in natural remedies and options but I have now taken the time to take classes to become certified aromatherapist and to delve into natural ways to help myself as much as others. Please continue to write about these issues.
Debbie, thanks so very much for the affirmation and for sharing your journey. I am so glad to know you are finding your way and finding yourself and your passions. I will, indeed, keep writing about these issues for it is a passion of mine. I, too, had my self-worth wrapped up into what I could do and how well I did it. I think you might also like the upcoming blog in February as I share that part of the journey as well. Blessings to you. I hope you are enjoying your new knowledge as much as I am enjoying mine!
The darkness and and my struggles are what I remember most after my accident two years ago. I am grieving for the person I was. It is already my birthday where I was born, tomorrow where I live now. As I read your article Ellen, it felt as though you wrote this for me, to help me let go and find peace. I will start a restorative ritual using oils I have for now and try your recipe when the new oils arrive. Thank you for sharing the light you found!
Emerald, I too understand the remembered trauma to mind, body and spirit from a life-altering accident. After a lot of work (and still in progress), I have found peace (mostly) with where I am today. The more I let go of who I was (or whom I thought I was), the more I made room for me to begin anew. For me, this took the help of professional guides, but the self-care is mission critical. I am glad the post resonated with you and I hope you enjoy the blend. Don’t be afraid to try others if this doesn’t suit. Just keep moving forward to the coming dawn and the light of a new day, even if it is only a fraction at a time. Wishing you profound peace on your journey. The light in my honors the light in you.
Thank you Ellen. Please continue to write about these topics. If you can write about grief (losing someone) in the future, I would greatly appreciate it. “The self-care mission” is critical” is true for anyone going through a life-altering event.
Thanks for this lovely article. We tend to forget about this important time of year as we get caught up in holiday craziness.
Thank you so much. I am glad you liked it. It’s an opportunity to put ourselves on our list of holiday treats!
Thank you for sharing this. My father died on the morning that winter solstice began, when I was a child. Winter solstice has always been a very traumatic day for me, even when I don’t realize the day consciously. Nightmares, heavy energy, lots of emotion, etc. I look forward to trying something new and make it an easier time.
Hi Stephanie, I am so sorry to learn of such a difficult loss and the difficult path you experience this time of year. I am so glad this post resonated with you. Thank you for reaching out and sharing. I am hopeful you will find something here to create for yourself that can help bring you some measure of comfort and peace to your heart. Self-care is so very important at times like this to and I hope you will honor your spirit by doing so. Know you are in my thoughts. The light in me honors the light in you.