It was just a few days ago when Ari, my 15 year old son, eagerly hopped in the car after school.
He is my spirited Solstice tree elf. We always pick out a tree together, and proceed to bring it home to have a overwhelming time getting it to stand straight in the tree stand.
As we looked through all the different kinds of trees, I found myself asking a fellow customer which kind she thought "smelled" the best. She ironically looked at me like I was a little crazy.
"Which one SMELLS the best?" she asked.
I quickly realized not everyone is going for the best smelling tree.
After some crazy sawing and a few too many pine needles on the floor, we managed pretty well this year.
My favorite part of the solstice is sitting in the dark with my very fragrant tree, it's white lights twinkling in my living room creating that oh so sweet glow.
I love the Winter Solstice. It always feels so mystical to me. The darkest night of the year, the most inward introspective time, the returning of the light, and a sense of holiday shimmer in the air.
This year, take the journey with me in these dark nights, and let's find some magic to enjoy in our lives together and some ritual to ignite our hearts.
Dark Night Delicacy #2 is here for you.
Solstice Rituals and Relvelry
- Learn WHY rituals are so potent in our lives
- Check out some of my favorite Solstice rituals
- Enjoy some new wintery recipes over the holidays.
The Dark Night Delicacies are my holiday treat for you this year. A candlelit path into the darkest nights of the year, a taste of the Eat.Pray.Yoga Online Course and Community that begins this January, and a wintery wise wanderlust that will keep you connecting inward to your winter warrioress.
Winter Solstice Rituals and Revelry
Ritual is one way the soul often craves connection, presence and sweetness. We have been doing ritual in so many realms throughout time to fulfill this part of our souls desire.
Cultures far and wide have included rituals for centuries and now much research is showing that the human ENJOYMENT and CONNECTION is heightened through ritual.
Some rituals are small - like lighting a candle before a meal.
Some rituals are super involved like a Japanese Tea ceremony, or a pagan May day Beltane celebration.
We are going to start with just a few of my favorites for the darkest night of the year. Feel free to customize these ideas into rituals that work for you and your family.
- Solstice lantern lighting: Embrace the dark by leaving lights off + lighting lanterns or candles at dusk. Decorate mason jars and place a small candle inside OR try the shimmery candles that clip onto your holiday tree and safely light them. As you sit by candle light, set your intentions for the returning of the light. You can find the clip on candles HERE
- Create a fire releasing ceremony: Write down what you wish to release. One by one, as you write each one down, burn them in the fire. You can use a fire place, wood stove, or outdoor bonfire. I have done variations of this over the years with my women's programs and retreats.
- Commune in nature: Take a long walk in the woods, and consider bringing a headlamp if you wish to explore the dusk or dark. Leave an offering of seeds (such as sunflowers), flowers or herbs out for the birds and other wild creatures.
- With the returning of the light it is often said to be a powerful time to set new intentions, goals, or put visions into motion. Some consider this time to be the true New Year. Write a list of all or your burning desires, and visions for the upcoming year and the returning of the light. Meditate on the clearest path to see them come to fruition.
Wintery Wise Recipes
Butternut and Buffalo Paleo Stew
- 1 lb buffalo cubes for stewing
- 1 butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded and diced;
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 carrots, diced
- 6 oz. mushrooms, sliced
- 6 oz. spinach, chopped
- 1 cup chicken/beef/mushroom stock
- 14 oz. diced tomatoes
- 1 tbsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1 tsp. dried oregano or 2 drops oregano essential
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Warm up a skillet over a medium-high heat. Brown the buffalo cubes in the skillet for about 1 minute per side. Transfer the meat to a crock pot. Add all the remaining ingredients, except for the spinach and the mushrooms, to the slow cooker. Give everything a good stir, set the slow cooker to low and cook for 6 hours. Add in the mushrooms 30 minutes before the stew is done. Add the spinach just before serving.
Yoga Pose of the Week
Light your hips on fire with this yummy hip opener this week. No matter how flexible your hips are, you can find some sensation in your body and warm your entire hip socket and pelvis up with a little Solstice warming fire.
A few things to remember about Fire log (or double pigeon):
- Sitting up on a blanket can help. Propping a block under your top knee will give you some extra support.
- Flexing your feet will help to protect your knee joint.
- As you inhale let your torso rise and expand your chest. As you exhale let the knees become a bit heavier and draw more sensation into your hips.
- Bow forward if your hip flexibility allows. Remember to breath and track the warmth and sensation in your body.