Saturday, July 13, 2024
HomeOpinionCommentWinter Solstice and rituals in the neighbourhood

Winter Solstice and rituals in the neighbourhood

Every year in our neighbourhood we try to host a Winter Solstice gathering. I do it mostly because I love winter.

I read Katherine May’s book Wintering a while ago and loved her connection to all things cold, wintery and the pathway this creates to enchantment.

This gathering every year reminds me of how we need rituals in our lives to mark changes, seasons and major transitions.

I think of many First Nations people who have always known the need for ritual and markers to form and transform self and community.

I wonder sometimes in our contemporary society if we ever realised how impoverished we might become when we jettisoned rituals which are like guides that help us to grow and discover the meaning of life in community.

I think, for example, of women who go through menopause. This is a major shift in a woman’s life. Many women feel as though their bodies change, they think differently and see the world differently. It’s also true that the world sees women differently post the age of 50.

Instead of dreading this time, could it become a time to be celebrated through rituals that a community might engage in?

Back to our Winter Solstice gathering. Winter can be a time for reflection, going deeper and thinking about the meaning of life as we withdraw from frenetic activity and instead take time to look inward. We often drink mulled wine at our gathering, eat oranges, hot soup and share a little more deeply.

We ask questions like: How did you warm your house in winter as you were growing up? What do you love/not love about winter? Tell us a time/story in your life when you were in a “winter season” (physically or symbolically). What can winter reveal to us about ourselves and nature? What are you looking forward to in summer?

It’s usually a lot of fun! What kinds of rituals would you like your community or neighbourhood to engage in that might hold spaces for creating meaning, sharing stories and cultivating inner transformation?


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