Ritual has been a part of civilization since the beginning of our primitive existence. What brings it relevance and meaning in our modern world experience is the depth of intention we bring to the activity. This week, as we approach the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, we have the opportunity to engage in such a ritual recognizing the astronomical phenomenon of the shortest day and the longest night. So powerfully embedded is the Winter Solstice in past civilizations that monuments such as Stonehenge in England, Chichen Itza in Mexico and The Temple of Karnak in Egypt were erected to bring sacred depth to their respective cultures beliefs around its occurrence.
These monuments reflect humankind’s longing to connect with something powerful in order to be gifted with guidance, in order to be received favorably.
Today, ritual can be less about seeking favor from something external and more about connecting to that guidance within our own selves. Regardless of your own spiritual or religious views, observing the Winter Solstice can rekindle awe at the complex workings of our solar system and its undeniable influence and effect on our lives.
Here are three rituals to make this year’s Winter Solstice more intention filled and personally healing.
1) Welcome The Dark – The treasure inside the cave can only be uncovered by entering into the portal of darkness.
As the lengthening of night expands to its fullest expression, imagine entering your personal cave space for reflection. Look back on this past year and journal on the things you are most proud of. This is not yet the time for resolution making but for acknowledging the good, the conscious, the kindness, the completion and/or the acts of compassion you engaged in. Through reflection on one’s successes and heart led personal practices, we energetically release into the gestating soil of intention a greater permissive love for ourselves. When recalling any new acts of courage or boldness, we energetically release into the gestating soil of intention a grander permission to take our boldness and courage further. What was once believed to be our ceiling of capability can now become our floor. The richness of reflection in this extended darkness can fertilize the personal soil of your soul’s possibilities.
Go within the quiet darkness and journal on your successes.
2) Practice Active Listening – The answers to all the questions already reside within us.
Next, in this capsule of expanded darkness just prior to our journey’s new revolution into light, get quiet and visualize entering into a divine temple. Note the materials that the walls are made of. Is it stone, wood, crystal? How is it lit? What are the furnishings? Feel the energy that resides within the walls. This is the temple of your soul. It is a place that you can return to as often as you wish. For now, you are here to receive answers to lingering questions that reside in your heart. Begin with one seminal request, “What would you have me know about ___________?” Then listen. Listen with the intent of one who is committed to living their purpose. Listen with humble willingness and not with an agenda for practicality or comfort. Be still and listen and the answers to your questions will be offered from this holiest of temples.
3) Take Preparatory Action – To grow we must outgrow.
After you have honored the darkness with reflection and listening, take the information you have received and begin to take preparatory actions that are aligned with what you feel guided to begin. The time for returning back into light begins. If the information received centered on travel, relationships, career, financial or health related concerns, begin now to modify your behavior with one congruent action toward your new aim – one that provides a willing gesture of intent in your new cycle of entering back into light. Discard and declutter items that energetically keep you imprisoned to some former past labeling. Recycle clothes, books, furnishings, mementos that do not reflect an expanded you. Do this quickly, without overthinking, otherwise sentimentality may drag you back to old, stale comforts. Reevaluate your time and relationships. Ask yourself, “Is what or who I am saying yes to in harmony with where I desire to be?”
To grow we must outgrow. Begin now to welcome your greater good by creating sufficient space for its appearance. Strengthen your expectancy of its arrival through nurturing its gestation just as one nurtures a child in the womb. It will be birthed in perfect timing.
This solstice, give yourself permission to reconnect to the power of ritual and to deepen your sense of awe and wonder in the mystical nature of our cosmos. Consider that how we do anything is a reflection on how we do everything. Let us begin to explore our personal reflections and soulful activism with renewed wonder. Contemplate that some of our greatest life influencers we have yet to meet and there are peak experiences that have yet to happen. Let us prepare our essential selves for such good through the ritual of acknowledgment, listening and action.
© 2018 David Ault
David Ault is a thought leader, author and global literacy advocate. To learn more about his keynotes, seminars or coaching contact him at davidault.com