Winter Solstice – A Time for Reflection and Intention!

Updated: December 21, 2020

So the shortest day came, and the year died,

And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world

Came people singing, dancing,

To drive the dark away.

They lighted candles in the winter trees;

They hung their homes with evergreen;

They burned beseeching fires all night long

To keep the year alive,

And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake

They shouted, reveling. 

Through all the frosty ages you can hear them

Echoing behind us—Listen!!

All the long echoes sing the same delight,

This shortest day,

As promise wakens in the sleeping land:

They carol, feast, give thanks,

And dearly love their friends,

And hope for peace.

And so do we, here, now,

This year and every year.

Welcome Yule!

”The Shortest Day” by Susan Cooper


In the Northern Hemisphere, Winter Solstice will occur at 5:02am ET on Monday, December 21, 2020. As the sun appears to lose its fight against darkness, the world shifts and we begin a  new solar cycle at Winter Solstice. Not only is this the first day of winter, it is also the day of the year with the longest, darkest night and fewest daylight hours. 

It’s no coincidence that for thousands of years, humankind around the world has celebrated this seasonal shift, often with fire and light to show that the darkness is merely a backdrop against which the light can shine.

Winter Solstice Celebrations Around the World

Scandinavian and Germanic pagans celebrated with massive bonfires and may have burned Yule logs as a symbolic way to push back the dark and welcome the coming spring as did my Slavic ancestors who celebrated in a similar way. 

Modern Druids celebrate Alban Arthan, which marks the passing away of the Old Sun and coming of the new. 

Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus with houses and trees decorated with garlands of lights. 

Jews commemorate Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, by lighting candles in a menorah for eight nights. 

My Great Grandmother’s people in Western Mongolia marked the first day of Nine-Nine counting 81 days of winter on the Solstice, and still do. 

The African-American celebration of Kwanzaa involves lighting seven candles to represent the seven principles of African culture and community. 

So many traditions exist around the world celebrating this important date!

And because the Winter Solstice also occurs near the end of our calendar year, it is often tied into reflection of the year past, and setting of intentions for the year ahead. 

Honoring the Solstice 

While the Solstice is a sacred time of going within, practicing stillness, and embracing rest, it’s clear that we also crave light, connection, community, and celebration!

Whatever your soul is calling for at this time of year, let me encourage you to embrace this unique and advantageous opportunity to review the previous 12 months and begin setting intentions for the new year.

I know this has been a year we’d like to forget as quickly as possible, but hold on there a hot second before you toss your 2020 calendar into the recycling bin! 

Even though it has been full of struggle, grief, loneliness, and loss for many of us, the Winter Solstice reminds us that there are still lessons to be learned from the dark. There is treasure there with great value for us all. 

Preparing for the New Year

Physical preparation often involves clearing away the old so you have room for the new. Think about it this way: If you wanted to redecorate your bedroom, you would have to get rid of all the junk first! 

You have to take it out and look at it and decide, “Hmmm… maybe I should get rid of this concert t-shirt I’m keeping from 1984 that my ex gave to me,” or “I think it’s time to let go of the dried flowers from my first wedding bouquet.” You can’t just stick it in the back of the closet or under the bed. You have to let go of it so you can replace it with something that fits you NOW. 

The same is true for our emotions. 

We need to take a look at what happened in 2020 so we can groan over our missteps, laugh over the silly stuff we did, and appreciate the lessons we learned. 

We often want to skip this step because it can be painful. But if we don’t examine the not so great stuff, it’s there, under our beds and in the back of our closets, just waiting to trip us when we get up for a midnight snack!

Winter Solstice Journaling

One of the best ways to process this STUFF is by journaling. Set aside some private time in the day or so preceding the Winter Solstice. Make this special by choosing a quiet spot, playing some soothing music, and lighting a candle or burning incense. 

Start by reviewing the year by answering questions like:

  • What did I learn this past year?
  • What new things did I discover about myself?
  • What was hard for me? 
  • What did I lose this year?
  • What did I gain?
  • What were my moments of joy?
  • What were my moments of grief?
  • What do I want to leave behind in 2020?
  • What or who do I need to forgive from this year?

You may need more than one session to work through these questions. Don’t rush — give yourself space and time. You may think of more things to add at a later date… that’s fine! There is no “right” or “wrong.” 

Once you’ve reviewed the past year, you’re ready to think about what you want to create in the year to come! (You may want to set a separate session to work on your intentions for the year ahead.)

Set Intentions, Not Resolutions

Most New Year’s Resolutions are abandoned by February. That’s why I’m a big believer in setting intentions, not resolutions! 

As a powerful co-creator of your human experience, you have the ability to work with Spirit and the Universe to manifest your desires. But it needs to start with clarity of what you WANT, rather than avoidance of what you DON’T want. 

Here are some questions to write about in your journal as you dream for 2021:

  • What am I currently feeling inspired to do, create, or focus on in 2021?
  • What are some personal truths I feel called to express right now?
  • Are there any fears or hurdles blocking me from following my intuition/guidance to create something new or change paths?
  • What did I want to be as a child? Is that part of my dreams for who I want to be now? Why or why not? 
  • What is one way I know I’m being called to step out of my comfort zone in the coming year? 

The Fullness of Life

Recognizing and honoring the Winter Solstice is about recognizing and honoring the darkness — in Nature and in our lives. 

Our world is a beautiful, balanced blend of day and night, winter and summer, celebration and mourning. When we take time to appreciate and embrace the full spectrum of our existence, we become more integrated, aligned beings. 

Enjoy this time, dearest friends. The sun will rise again!


P.S. Many of the journaling questions in this post come from my “Journal of the 7 Energies.” Not only does this lovely, full-color journal include a description of the seven energy centers and associated affirmations and journaling questions, it also is the perfect place for your end-of-year journaling and 2021 dreams! You can get your copy here.

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Showing 6 comments
  • Anonymous

    Thank you Colette & Mavens ,Woo Crew ,I might have missed the event but this blog also helps.Gratitude always Blessed Be <3 Janece

    • Tanya Jones

      omg , Thank you for all the info but I am soo overwhrlmed one minute at a time this year has done me i and I have so much other stuff going on I ust feel Ill never get caught up I did take one dresser yesterday and clean out 6 drawers now i have two more dressers to go and and a walk in closet that only the beginning lol I look at it than say no too much do it another day !

  • Samantha

    I did some journaling in the Oracle of the 7 ENERGIES Journal, using some of the questions here. After only a few minutes, I identified that an intention for the coming year, I need to focus on & strengthen my Energy 5 ‘have I said that right?…..’my energy 5’?

  • Renee Sugar

    Thank you Colette and Marc for introducing Jennifer Raciopi on December 21st just in time before the Solstice. Her presentation was so full of interesting content, and a preview of the potential of the year ahead. The shift that is coming is focused on a brighter and broader vision that will highlight compassionate currency, collaboration, commitment, and community. The way these will be possible will ask for innovation and ingenuity. The solution that serves the whole is what we are aiming to bring forth. I found the webinar to offer a hopeful preview of what is being birthed. I feel the past year has been an opportunity to release what no longer supports/serves the health of the whole/collective. Painful as it has been, the death of the old view/model has been necessary to make room for the new world order. It is an exciting time for a rebirth.
    Wishing you and Marc a wonder-filled holiday season!! It will be different from any other year, nonetheless there are many blessings to give thanks for. I appreciate participating and sharing on this blog. Thank you for what you share and for offering a fresh perspective, insight, and wisdom. Wishing you many blessings in 2021. Sending love.

  • Kathryn

    I learned in 2020 to be with whatever is. It was being with the joy, pain & rehab of my hip replacement. That also got me in the habit of working out in the water & that is a place that makes my heart happy & open. I learned to be with shingles pain & be with it with compassion knowing this too shall pass. It is better to be compassionate with yourself than fight & resist whatever is happening in the moment. Let it pass & do what you can to feel the light in you. Just be with others & hold space for their stories. Pray for others & send them beams of healing light just like you do for yourself. This is finding big love in your heart. Thank you for this reflection ~ I may not have seen it if it wasn’t for your beautiful blog today.

  • Suzie

    Lovely blog Colette ❤I love my Journal ( which iv just started) and now iv got a Dream journal too. Thankyou for the teaching and time you spend with us so grateful ❤
    Happy Holidays to You and Marc and to the fabulous Mavens ❤🎄❤🎅❤☃️❤

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