Winter Solstice ~ Alban Arthan Solo Ritual
by Maria Ede-Weaving
For this ritual you will need a sun candle, a cauldron or bowl, several smaller candles or t-lights, a dark green candle, a light green candle and three paper stars. Make the paper stars yourself, decorating them, making them look beautiful but leave one side of the stars blank – you will be writing on the blank side.
Ritual Statement: In this season of the long night and the leafless tree, when our breath clouds like fog and the cold seeps into our bones; when all nature appears hidden and sleeping deep within the soil, we celebrate the festival of Yule. This is the magical time of the sun’s rebirth, heralding hope, light, and life for a new year to come.
We open our hearts to joy, optimism and goodwill – the brightest lights in the darkest night – warming our souls next to the sustaining heat of those we love; sharing our gifts, our laughter and out time, knowing the season of darkness shall slowly fade, that the Goddess shall birth new life from death; warmth from cold.
Calling the Goddess: I call upon the Goddess as Magical Star Mother, Goddess of the Milky Way, who has birthed our galaxy; who has set in motion the circling planets around her burning heart the sun; who carries the earth in her womb and the moon upon her brow, and whose starry cloak swirls around her in her spiral dance. Ancient One, silent depths of space, patient as eternity, unfathomable mystery, through your ever-turning seasons, your cycles of sun and moon, you bring us growing wisdom. With each turning of your silver wheel, you show us new connections, deepening our understanding. Great Spider Mother, glistening web of all creation, your guiding thread brings us deep into the spiral. Grasp our hands in the blackness, through your maze of dark nights and new dawns. Let us witness the interconnection, the beauty and diversity of your web.
Great Spinner, teach us how to take the threads of our being and weave the seeming chaos of our lives into vibrant patterns, just as you have spun and woven all life into being. Let these be strong garments that keep us warm and protected; that bring us joy. Teach us also of the wisdom of unravelling, unpicking the stale and faded cloth that keeps us tightly and painfully bound. Lady of Lights may your starlight be a silver-gold cord, hopeful and true. Our faithful guide, our sacred strength and vision, from the soil of the earth and the dust of the stars you have shaped us. You have exchanged your Samhain cloak of dark feathers for a cloak of shining stars; you have stripped back all that shrouded us, until the glow of our souls in the darkness is all that can be seen; you hold us in the silence of your infinite womb of stars, poised to bring us new life. Please bless me with your presence. You are loved, honoured and welcome here.
Calling the God: I call upon the God as Lord of Holly, Father of Winter, whose great white beard and hair is the silvery frost and snow that covers the land; the fog of our billowing breath and the pale white light of waning sun. Your cloak is the darkest green and you wear the circlet of holly upon your head, for you know the wisdom of evergreens. Your gown is the deepest blood red for you are the guardian of life, even in the harsh and death-like cold. In your hand is the fertile mistletoe: the white egg and seed that when joined brings new life.
Wise Green Lord, fill me with your Solstice wisdom. You are the Green Knight who challenges us to quest for renewal, to go beyond our fear of death and endings and seek the tender grail of our new beginnings. You are the great gift giver who shares out your bounty with your children: the gift of peace and rest in the stillness of winter; the gift of anticipation and hope; the gift of ever-renewing life; the gift of the rebirth of the sun, and the magical wonder that such gifts inspire. Fill me with your goodwill and – like the warmest of cloaks – wrap the richness of your laughter and joy around me. Please bless me with your presence. You are loved, honoured and welcome here.
The Lady of Lights Meditation and the Rebirth of the Sun Child:
Extinguish all the candles on the altar so that you are in darkness. Winter has come; the darkness has fallen. Feel it surround you and engulf you. Curl up in a foetal position on the floor and close your eyes. Feel your loneliness. Feel the fear of death and endings. Acknowledge all the feelings that arise at this time, but let them slip into the darkness. You are still and silent in the dark earth of the Goddess.
After some time, in your mind’s eye, look above you. In the blackness you begin to see tiny dots of light appear. Star after star starts to shine until the sky above you is dazzling. You suddenly see a beautiful shooting star streak across the sky. You know that this is your star of hope in the darkness, that its trail is a silver thread of guiding wisdom. Make a wish upon your special star.
Remain aware of the glorious starlit sky but bring your attention back to earth, back to the depths of winter. With the vision of the stars still burning with you, light the sun candle in the cauldron/bowl. Watch its glow grow in the darkness and say,
Great Star Mother, your radiant Sun Child, our Lord of Oak is reborn. May your golden and beautiful child fill us with strength, love and inspiration. On this the longest night, in these dark and troubled times, may be peace and understanding be reborn within each of earth’s children. The promise of joyous new life is ours.
From the sun candle, light a circle of candles around the cauldron and relight the candles upon the altar. They are the stars coming out, one by one in the darkness. Say,
I light these candles in your honour Great Goddess: each one of your stars a sun; each sun a glowing seed of hope. You have created life from death: warmth from cold and birthed a star of optimism in our hearts.
Wishing Stars: Take your three paper stars and write a wish on each: one wish for yourself; one for your loved ones and one for the planet. Later, hang these on your Yule tree.
Holly and Oak: At this peak of darkness we herald in a new direction. Light the dark green Holly candle. Wise Father Holly of the sacred night, we give thanks for the guidance you have given on our journey towards winter, towards the centre of our inner selves. We honour the wisdom of your darkness. On this the longest night, we give thanks and praise for your renewal, for your transformation into the Bright Lord of Oak.
Light the light green Oak candle from the flame of the dark green Holly candle. Snuff out the Holly candle and say,
We welcome you Bright Lord of Oak. Fill us with your growing strength and energy on our journey towards summer, towards renewal and light. We rejoice in your warmth and brightness. At the height of winter the seed of summer is planted. At the height of summer, winter plants its own seed. And so the wheel turns around the hub of the Goddess, that new life may continue to flourish.
Give Thanks: Shining Star Mother, Radiant Sun Child, Wise Holly and Bright Oak, I thank you for your presence and your blessings, for your gifts of change and movement. Through you, may I continue to grow in wisdom. Bide well in my heart. Blessed Be.